San Juan Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California 92883

Distance13.3mi
Elevation Gain8,265ft
Trailhead Elevation817ft
Top3,401ft
Elevation Min/Max817/3401ft
Elevation Start/End817/817ft

San Juan Trail

San Juan Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Orange County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 13.3 miles long and begins at 817 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 22.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 8,265 feet. Along the trail there are parkings. The trail ends near Sugarloaf Peak. This trail connects with the following: Hotspring Canyon and Chiquito Hiking Trail.

San Juan Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The San Juan Trail truly is one of the finest stretches of singletrack in SoCal. The trail boasts every feature of an ideal two-wheeled romp, including technical rock gardens, steep bomb runs, kickers, and fast-banked turns, with the picturesque panorama of the Santa Ana Mountains in the Cleveland National Forest as an exquisite backdrop. Switchbacks form the defining characteristic of this playground: more are found on this 8.7-mile stretch than in any other locale—I lost count after ten in the first mile of ascent. Although this ride is recommended as a shuttle run, it is probably best enjoyed ridden up and then down. The throbbing pain in your legs and lungs is hard to notice when there is so much to see and so many obstacles to negotiate. If your bike was built for anything other than downhill duty and you’ve got the time, please abort the shuttling mission. Better yet, ride the whole thing and then shuttle it, because afterward you’ll surely want another slice of downhill indulgence."

"This ride is located in the Cleveland National Forest, approximately 13 miles from I-5 in San Juan Capistrano. This 19-mile lollipop is a ride to make you feel smug and superior. Starting form Hot springs Road in Cleveland National Forest, begin ascending the switchback-intense San Juan Trail, FS 6W05. It's tricky climbing some of these switchbacks. But soon the trail levels out a bit as you continue coursing toward Sugarloaf Peak. Just below the summit is a sublime place to rest. The views are outstanding, the sandstone makes a great place to stretch out, and if you get bored, you can always sit back and watch bikers climbing and descending on both sides of you. Scenery includes otherworldly rock outcroppings, outstanding views of Cleveland National Forest, and desert and alpine landscapes."

"Located in San Juan Capistrano in the Santa Ana Mountains east of Interstate 5. Highlights: San Juan Trail is regarded as one of the best singletracks in California. If you are a strong biker with good technical skills, you will love this ride. Hazards: Take your pick. Exposed roots, large rocks, steep drops next to the trail. Do not do this ride unprepared. There is no food or water, and you are far from any help. Many Southern California professional racers use this as a downhill training course. Forest Adventure Wilderness Pass."

San Juan Trail Reviews

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6/26/2011
this is a difficult trails with some steep climbs but great views and an a awesome downhill for the the long ride.
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3/14/2011
Beginners beware!! This is a great trail for the advanced rider. The first 3 miles is a brutal uphill climb with multiple switchbacks. After that, it evens out a lil, but there are spots where you are dangerously close to some steep cliffs. Ride with a friend and bring lots of water, you are miles away from civilization and there is no cell service. You will enjoy beautiful scenery and the amazing downhill ride is your prize for the brutal uphill climb!
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8/15/2009
The trail needs a little maintenance in the switch backs, but over-all it is in good shape. As far as the techinical requirements this is a good trail for anyone who has the ability to control their ride; not too strenuous and not beyond basic skills of good bike handling. Fun ride.
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1/30/2008
This is a must do trail, all single track ,the terrain is very good, good enough to be open after a big rain which was our case while all other parks were closed.Super climb, all rideable many many tight switchbacks.The climb is absouletly great and the downhill is unbeilevable.We climb 7 miles 2500' turned around and went down. It was great. There was a loop at the top of more than 9 miles but didn't have enough time to do it. Anyway 14 miles of single track was good enough. It is definetly a place to go back and do it all. Loved it ps I heard that in the summer it could be a little dry and slippery, but hey just go slower ! Richard from Ste Adèle P.Q
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8/6/2006
Trail in great shape for advanced mountain bikers. Begginers beware! The map in the Trai info got he north in the wrong place. This trai description should be secondary to the one in San Juan/Old San Juan trail which is much better - most of the trip overlapp anyhow. Milage on this trail info is wrong. The distance to Lunch/Cocktail rocks is 6.5 mile.
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3/5/2006
This trail is absolutely awesome. Technical sigle track the entire way down. Plenty of scary sections and places where you can really open it up. We rode it down and only saw one brave sole riding up. This trail can be a little tricky to navigate. I would definetly recommend a map if you have never ridden The San Juan Trail.
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2/1/2002
All trail runs on or part of San J. are sweet. Chiquita Falls, and the entire 24 mile up and back full S.J. loop are perfect examples of So Cal singletrack bliss. Chiquita's baby-heads are always a challenge, beginners can gain 5 years of experience in one day here. San Juan proper reminds me of Noble Canyon in san Diego, and is one of only three or four trails in this part of the state I'd give five stars to. Ride S.J. in the winter, on a 35 degree day for some muddy, ice-laden, often snow dusted action that will leave you exhausted and happy. Beware the switchbacks people, and please try not do drag them brakes, erosion here is a b@#%h!
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2/18/2001
With all of the recent rains I've stayed off of the trails to avoid adding to the erosion. However I drove up Ortega Highway to day hike some of the fire roads and saw the NEW SJ Trail shuttle lot. The USFS really put some "Adventure Pass" dollars to work! There is a brand new parking lot, new USFS "sweet-smelling" toilets, and a huge sign out front so that you cannot miss it when driving by. Consider that Blue Jay wants $15 for even day picnicing, the parking lot is a better deal and much more convenient. I'm planning my next ride to be a shuttle run!
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Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Parks
Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco District (714) 736-1811
Local Contacts
USGS Alberthill, Sitton Peak, and Canada Gobernadora.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018