San Juan Loop Trail is a hiking trail in Riverside County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 1.1 miles long and begins at 1,972 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 688 feet. The San Juan Loop and Bear Canyon Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. There are also trees, scrubs, drinking water, an information map, and restrooms. Along the trail there are screes.
San Juan Loop Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"The Cleveland National Forest is largely chaparral country. This short trail offers a contrast, with interesting sandstone topography, unobstructed views of the surrounding hills, and a seasonal creek with a waterfall."
--Linda and David Mullally, Best Dog Hikes Southern California (Falcon Guides).
"If you’ve no more time to spare than an hour while cruising the Ortega Highway, at least stop and try the San Juan Loop Trail (not to be confused with the much longer San Juan Trail). Sights include a small waterfall along San Juan Creek, excellent wildflower displays in the spring, and some of the finest oak woodland in the Santa Anas."
--Jerry Schad and David Money Harris, Afoot & Afield: Orange County (Wilderness Press).
"From San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore, two-lane Ortega Highway stretches like a snake over the midriff of the Santa Ana Mountains, giving road warriors a taste of Orange County’s wild, unfamiliar side."
--Jerry Schad and David Money Harris, 101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert (Wilderness Press).
"The San Juan Loop Trail is a popular destination for many people in both Orange and Riverside Counties. The trailhead is easily the most visible in the Santa Ana Mountains. It is also one of the most frequently used. Expect at least ten other cars in the parking lot on any given weekend day. Its proximity to shops and campgrounds makes it a viable outing for all types of people. The short length and picturesque setting draw both young and old."
--Allen Riedel, Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"This trail takes you to a variety of coastal mountain habitats,
including seasonal waterfalls, dense mature-oak woodlands,
and open chaparral-covered hillsides. Although best tackled
in the cooler months, an early-morning start in summer is
bound to be pleasant and will allow you to see birds and
animals when they are most active."
--Randy Vogel, Best Easy Day Hikes: Orange County (Falcon Guides).
"The San Juan Loop is an easy, well-signed trail that strolls through a scenic stream-fed canyon south of Santiago Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains. The trail, just off the Ortega Highway, has a variety of habitats, including oak woodlands and chaparral-covered slopes. The loop leads to San Juan Falls, a seasonal waterfall in a gorge with granite-lined pools. En route, six streams merge from the surrounding canyons to form San Juan Creek, a major tributary of Arroyo Trabuco."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes Around Orange County (Day Hike Books).
"With gentle grades most of the way, the San Juan Trail is tailor-made for a leisurely saunter from the Main Divide of the Santa Anas to the lower foothills. In recent years, the trail has received a lot more use among mountain bikers. Because the trail runs largely along dry ridgelines exposed to the sun, avoid hot days unless you’re willing to carry a lot of water and sweat copiously. Clear winter days bring out the best in the scenery."
Sign in/up to upload photos.