Explore the most popular dogs on leash trails near Trabuco Canyon with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

If you do this hike in the summer, start early, it gets very hot. Best to start by 6 am. Challenging hike but the view at the top is well worth it. Bring plenty of water, I drank almost 4 liters.

Nice tree cover on the earlier sections of the trail. Saw a decent amount of bikers and other hikers passing us in both directions on the trail. View at the top was very nice. Start early because it gets hot!

This was an awesome, but brutal hike!! Bring plenty of water/electrolytes, food/snacks and a bandana for the dust from trucks and motorcycles! I drank plenty of water on the way up but still ended up cramping pretty bad! We hit the trail head at 6:30am and it took us 9 hours! ✔️one off my bucket list! ✌

Don't do this in the heat. Wait until cooler weather. Nearly had a heat incident because i also ran out of water (3L). Two rattlesnake encounters. The views at the peak were meh, but I went for the workout anyway. View of the trail is nice towards the peak tho.

6/23/18. Brutal hike for me. Make sure to bring a lot of water. Drank 9 bottles round trip. Pack a bandana to cover your mouth from the dust left behind motorbikes and trucks. Enjoyed the first half. Dirt and very demanding the last half, but I am 67, lol.
Went slow and it took 9 hours, 41,000+ steps!
Hike on a cool day, no shade near the top.
Very inspired when we made it.

I liked this hike, with the exception of the sections along Main Divide Road. The motorcyclists wouldn't even slow down when passing, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. The 4 wheeled vehicle operators were a bit more considerate, however through some sections of the road I was walking faster than the vehicle immediately in front of me and had to slow down for them as they maneuvered the rough terrain.

I completed this in just under 6 hours.

off road driving
1 month ago

Accessible via Indian truck trail from corona and you need a 4wd to make it to the top by the antennas. Views are wonderful.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Must park on side of road, where there is limited dirt parking. Great views.

Its a beautiful trail but not easy to follow the signs for the peak are missing so we took a 3 mile detour and ended up taking the fire road up to the summit all in all 21 some odd miles. Ouch. Lots of vehicles on the fire roads and they will drive around you rather than giving you right away so be aware.

Nice trail, slow steady incline all the way up.
Didnt do the last “loop” once I hit the dirt road on top: there were too many motorcycles on the road and didn’t wanna be inhaling dirt for 4miles.
70% shaded. Nice wild flowers. Great for endurance training. Blessed with Sunny and 65F today but definitely can see lots of water needed on a hot day.
Will be back on a weekday to finish the top: hopefully less motorcycles.

Gate was finally open to Santiago peak but there was a mountain bike race so we had to pull over a bunch of times to let the bicycle riders go by...

My second time doing this trail. Wasn’t able to complete it the first time. But came back and finished today! Great trail with nice views challenging carry plenty of water it’s a little over 16 miles. Do it really early to avoid the heat! Loved it

- Lots of greens and shades in this trail. Well maintained;
- Be careful of bikers and motorcyclists !!! Some of them were really aggressive, who never slowed down because of race.
- Needs lots of water (at least 3.5 L) and energy bar as well
- 4WD recommended and drive slow.

Great trail

Challenging hike for me but pleasant all the same. Couple pieces of advice, most which are mentioned by others. Bring more water than you think you need. I took 3 1/2 liters and ran out with 3 miles to go. Also, when you think you are getting close to the summit you still have a long way to go. You can see the antennas and feel you are 30 min from the peak for half the hike. The road up to the parking lot is bumpy so if you don't have a four wheel drive allow some extra time. Get your adventure pass for parking prior if you can. This hike takes a long time so be aware and don't assume you can shave a couple hours off. I didn't end up getting done til 6:00 so only had another hour of light. Enjoyed the hike even though a mountain bike event was going on so had to pull over for about 50 bikers. Coming back was very pleasant with the afternoon shade and less traffic.

backpacking
3 months ago

Did this as a training hike with a fully loaded backpack. The road is a PITA cuz it takes a long time to get out there and it can be crowded, but the trail overall is quite lovely. Once you start climbing (after the waterfall trail junction) it gets quieter and the views get better and better. April 2018: there is plenty of water in the lower sections of the trail. When you get to main divide road there is no sign indicating where to go, go Right for about .4 miles and look for some piled rocks on the left side of the road pointing to the trail, it takes a sharp Left and keeps climbing. Bring a headlamp in case you end up hiking after dark like me!

Trail was confusing only because from the turn off from highway 74 (Ortega) about a quarter mile up the road, it drops to what I assume to be 1 lane. Once you’re off cement, and in the dirt the trail, it’s big enough for just 1 vehicle in 1 direction for the most part. That was the confusing part. Absolutely no way could another truck or Jeep be coming down while you were going up (or visa versa) as the room to backup or pull off is completely not feasible to the average off roader. Not on this trail in my opinion.

Luckily, when I reached the end, it seemed to dead end and T off with the left option having a closed gate and the option to go right looked soooo small and not like a truck trail, I had no choice but to turn around and go the way I came. Luckily I was the only vehicle up there cause meeting face to face would have sucked.

The trail and scenery are cool and I would do it again if I knew for sure wtf was going on or how that trail operates but until then, I won’t be going back and suggest that any amateur driver stay clear. You can roll down the side of the mountain at any given time. So I recommend only 4x4’s go up.

Bring more water then you think you’ll need. My pack ended up being pretty heavy but 7 bottles of water a Gatorade and 3 apple juice boxes proved to not be near enough almost.
The road up to the trail can be sketchy, that being said I did trek it in my MINI Cooper and it really wasn’t that bad. More just embarrassing because I almost felt like people were looking at me like, look at this bitch trying to take this road in a MINI but if you go slow, let Jeeps pass and watch for rocks & pot holes in the road you’ll be just fine.
General store at the end of the road to the trail had Adventure Passes for sale.
The hike to the summit for me wasn’t too bad physically just more mentally challenging. A lot of the hike is shady but be prepaired for some sun as well. Probably about 1/3 of it you might be in the sun for.

hiking
3 months ago

Great training hike for our Grand Canyon. Go early. Parts of trail are pretty expsoed and can get warm. A handful of annoying things about the trail...first are all the bikers on the trail. second are the motorcycles and cars the last mile. last is the last mile of the trail is on the road with lots of rocks and exposed for the first half. however at the end there amazing views of OC and the ocean on clear days.

Great trail. Tough to get to sometimes as the dirt road can be in pretty bad condition getting there. Great views with trails that have a variety of surfaces, rock, dirt, sand. Bring a lot water.

off road driving
3 months ago

Wasn’t really to happy to find that the actual trail doesn’t allow off-roading. But there is some good riding right at the entrance. A lot of rocky ruff terrain, fun though.

off road driving
3 months ago

It’s a beautiful place for diving and Jeeping . A great way to spend an afternoon hiding out

The trail is beautiful, but the trailhead for the upper Holy Jim trail can be tricky to find. Once you come up to the road (North Main Divide) you make a right on to the road and walk another 1/4 mile south. the trailhead to the upper Holy Jim will be on your left side, marked by an arrow made of rocks on the ground.

it's easy to miss!

Beautiful trail and scenery. It’s a bit rocky in some areas and some of the trail was washed out. There are parts where you walk on the fire access road.

had a great time!

hiking
4 months ago

1st mistake I parked at Meander Ln. and my 2nd mistake was I didn't wear my hiking shoes thinking this was going to be a super easy hike. This is a moderate hike suitable for dogs. I did it in the afternoon and there was nobody on the trails so my dog didn't use her leash and was so happy. The views are beautiful and you can see the ocean....this is a good workout (steep climb at times)

Love this hike! It’s definitely my go to! Suggest going in the morning as it’ll get super hot throughout the day as you hike up the mountain! The views get better and better the further you go!✨

Great work out !

It’s definitely not easy and you have to navigate to find your way on an overgrown trail. It’s not tick season (spring-summer) but the dogs ended up covered in them. Making for a much less than pleasant drive home (finished the hike as the sun was setting). We’ll have to plan our timing differently to go back. First tick encounter and there were just so many!!

on Trabuco Trail

hiking
5 months ago

The drive to the trailhead involves 5.3 miles of dirt road. As of today, if you take it slow, it’s totally doable in a standard sedan type car. But in the past, the road has had some pretty significant ruts after heavy rains, and was even closed last year for quite awhile due to mudslides and washouts, so be sure to check road conditions before heading this way.

I started the hike on a Sunday at about 11:30 a.m. the trailhead only parks about 6 cars (especially when people aren’t considerate in how they angle their vehicles to fit), so I parked a short walk back to where a few cabins are just before the trailhead. The trailhead is where the road ends, so you can’t miss it. Oh, and don’t forget your adventure pass.

Despite a packed parking situation, the trail itself was only lightly trafficked. I saw two other hiking groups briefly, and 4 mountain bikers passed me. Pretty light for a weekend. Otherwise, I was blissfully alone for 95% off my hike.

The lower creek was still dry despite the rainfall a week ago, but the upper part of the creek was flowing. Unfortunately, the trail doesn’t cross that part of the creek, so no extra water for the pup. But you can still hear it and see it from the trail.

The trail is pretty even with both shade and sun, so the temperature was pleasant throughout the entire hike. And there are some fantastic views and scenery in general. As far as incline, there’s barely any at all. I’d say this trail definitely is an easy one.

The trail “ends” at a fork with a clearly marked sign where West Horseshoe Thief splits to the left and the rest of Trabuco Trail continues on. I understand both of the continuing trails are rated as difficult due to a combination of incline and length. Have at it though if you want to lengthen the hike.

I really enjoyed this hike. The only reason I didn’t give it the fifth star is because of the dry creek and generally dry shrubbery (which is mostly due to time of year and not enough rainfall yet this season). I bet after a good rain season I’d love it completely.

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