Best Easy Day Hikes: Orange County
by Randy Vogel (Falcon Guides)
© 2009 Randy Vogel/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I should have read the comments first, as I was very confused by the lack of a gate after the turn off of (and onto?) Main Divide. Never saw a gate after turning off the paved road, and ended up at the saddle, which by the way was totally unmarked. Look for a big open area with several metal off-road fences surrounding it if you want to go to the saddle. Frankly, parking down below and hiking up would have made for a much longer, much more difficult hike, but wouldn't be all that pleasant, as it is totally exposed and basically just up a road you could just as easily drive. The last 1.1 miles (each way) from the saddle was a great hike, though considerably shorter than we intended. Trail was narrow, with lots of loose rocks, and had several (relatively short) steep sections, so be sure you have proper footwear.
If you have sure-footed kids, it is a good one for them, as it isn't really too long or too hard and has a great view from the peak--or at least it should be. We couldn't see anything on the OC side because of low clouds.
Look for snakes! At the peak, while relaxing next to the surveyor's mark and the peak log, a large rattlesnake crawled right up behind my wife and went right under the rock she was sitting on! Lots of big boulders strewn around the peak, so be sure to watch yourself, your kids, and your dog closely while you are up there!
Following the trail guide we arrived at the iron gate which is now located at the intersection of Long Canyon Road and Main Divide Truck trail. Parking here adds about 1/2 mile to the overall hike. The first mile and a half is uphill on a on a rock strewn fire road. We saw beuatiful views of Lake Elsinore far below. The snow-covered peaks of San Jacinto and Mount San Gorgonio rose above the distant eastern horizon.
Los Pinos Trail starts just south of Trabuco Trail on the west side of a large gravel clearing. The trail leads upward and westward following a ridgeline that has desert plants growing on the left (south) and a pine forest growing on the right (north). At breaks in the pine trees we saw breathtaking views of Santiago Peak with the snow-caps of Big Bear directly behind it. A nice hike for a weekend morning.
Trail is good for beginners. Most of the trail is narrow so your group needs to walk on a single line. Area was very dry so that means there was no water. I think we went beyond the estimated length, about 6 miles. 75% of the trail is very rocky. So I was surprise to see quite of few Mountain Bikers pass us and need to watch for those bikers! Move to the side when you see the bikers coming. Anyway, So I would consider this easy to moderate. Not much scenery.
Sign in/up to upload photos.
Keep Me Informed
Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.
We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.