Morgan Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California

Distance0.9mi
Elevation Gain412ft
Trailhead Elevation2,685ft
Top2,957ft
Elevation Min/Max2685/2957ft
Elevation Start/End2685/2685ft

Morgan Trail

Morgan Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Riverside County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest and San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. It is 0.9 miles long and begins at 2,685 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 412 feet.

Morgan Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Morgan Trail crosses the northern edge of San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, one of coastal Southern California’s newest
national-forest wilderness areas and possibly its last. You can camp overnight along portions of the trail within the wilderness
boundary, but don’t forget the required wilderness camping permit."

"Morgan Trail is one of the best easily reachable escapes in the Santa Ana Mountains. It does not require long distance driving or traveling on a bumpy dirt road. It is off the central beaten path, and most of the people who drive south on South Divide (Killeen) Road are making their way to the Wildomar off-highway vehicle (OHV) area, not to this trailhead. It is used so infrequently, in fact, that only a few names make it into the trailhead register on a monthly basis. While not a secret, this area is more of a clandestine retreat away from the highly traveled San Juan Loop Trail, but only because it is not sitting directly on Highway 74. Just going a little bit out of the way does a lot for solitude in the forest."

"The Morgan Trail, originally a Juaneno Indian route, crosses the north end of the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, one of four wilderness areas in the Cleveland National Forest. The trail connects the South Main Divide Road with the Bear Canyon Trail by the Ortega Country Cottage Store. The path descends through stream-fed Morrell Canyon in a lush oak, sycamore, and willow woodland with large granite boulders and grassy meadows.

Beyond the canyon, the trail follows a low rolling ridge, providing vistas across the wilderness to the surrounding peaks. On the road to the trailhead are hang-gliding launches and bird’s-eye views of Lake Elsinore to the north. This trail can be hiked as a 5.1-mile one-way shuttle. The shuttle hike loses 900 feet in elevation (rather than gaining it on the return), ending at the Ortega Country Cottage Store on Ortega Highway."

"The Morgan Trail offers a great deal of variety for a short wilderness hike. The trail takes you from open chaparral to the shade of oaks, sycamores, and willows along Morrell Canyon Creek, then back up to views toward Sitton Peak in the west. Along the banks of Morrell Canyon Creek, large boulders and grassy areas shaded by ancient oak trees provide ideal spots for wildlife watching, sitting, daydreaming, or picnicking.

Like the Bear Canyon Trail (Hike 21), the Morgan Trail takes you into the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness Area in the southern part of the Santa Ana Mountains. In fact, with a car shuttle between the Morgan and Bear Canyon trailheads, you could make a point-to-point hike of 5.1 miles."

Morgan Trail Reviews

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8/21/2010
The start of the hike is in a oak grove that follows a creek when it is during the rainy seasons, it was dry for me and my wife. As the trail progresses you end up on the side of a hill going down. During this period you will be greeted with beautiful Vistas and at some points you can see clear to the Ocean. My only complaint is it is open to horses so you have to put up with the stench, flies, and the occasional quick step around the dung. As for wild life we saw hawks, various other birds, horned toads, various lizards, and rabbits. I would rate this hike medium when it comes to effort, it starts off downhill, so you will have to come up hill on the way back but the elevation gain isn't to steep, and there is the occasional downhill areas to give your legs a break.
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Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Sitton Peak
Local Maps