Silverado Motorway

Cleveland National Forest, California

Elevation Gain2,227ft
Trailhead Elevation1,862ft
Elevation Min/Max1862/3733ft
Elevation Start/End1862/1862ft

Silverado Motorway

Silverado Motorway is a hiking and biking trail in Orange County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 3.1 miles long and begins at 1,862 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,227 feet. Near the trailhead there is a survey point.

Silverado Motorway Professional Reviews and Guides

"This hike on the “motorway” (a footpath) takes you from
upper Silverado Canyon to a ridgetop view of the Pacific
Ocean. Though the incline is never great, it is a steady
climb up the canyon wall. The views into Silverado Canyon
toward Old Saddleback and westward become grander the
higher you climb."

"Silverado Canyon was known by the early Hispanic settlers as Canada de la Madera. The tress in the valley and on the mountain above were cut to form the structural elements of Mission San Juan Capistrano and other early California buildings."

"When experienced hikers refer to a trek as “a conditioning hike” you know you’re in for a workout. The path to Bedford Peak most definitely fits into this category. From the west (most populated) side of the Santa Ana mountains, Silverado Trail is the shortest and quickest way to Main Divide, the ridgecrest of the range. Of course, short and quick add up to steep as well, which is why this trail offers an aerobic workout. Reward for the ascent to 3,800-foot high Bedford Peak is a great clear-day panorama of the Santa Ana, San Gabriel and San Bernardino ranges, along with the OC suburbanopolis and the Pacific Ocean."

"The goal of this hike, looping up and over the Main Divide, is to reach the summit of Modjeska Peak—the lower, north summit of Old Saddleback. If you omit the out-and-back leg to the peak itself, however, you shorten the trip by 2.5 miles. Either way, this is an all-day trek on foot.

During the clear, crisp weather characteristic of certain periods from November through March (and assuming you won’t be sharing the roads with any vehicles), this hike can be among the most rewarding and peaceful in Southern California."

"This no-nonsense climb to one of the principal summits of the Main Divide is physically demanding enough to serve as an excellent conditioning hike, and scenically rewarding as well. From the Main Divide’s west-side trailheads there’s no faster way to reach the crest by foot."

"This hike up the Silverado Trail begins at the end of Silverado Canyon Road. The trail traverses the north wall of Silverado Canyon from the tree-shaded canyon bottom to the exposed sedimentary rock ridge, climbing the first 2.3 miles of an old road to a 3,426-foot peak atop the ridge.

From the overlook are sweeping views into Ladd Canyon, Silverado Canyon, Pleasants Peak, and 3,800-foot Bedford Peak. For even better views, the trail continues to Bedford Peak where the panoramic views span to the ocean."

"This strenuous hike begins from the end of Silverado Canyon
road. The route follows the Silverado Trail up a cliff-edge path to
an overlook at 3,426 feet about midway to the peak. The trail continues climbing another 1.2 miles to rounded Bedford Peak at the Main Divide Road, following the
ridgeline between Silverado Canyon and Ladd Canyon."

"Crank up the length of Maple Springs Road. After 7-plus miles, turn left on Main Divide Road. Follow the rolling ridge road another 6 miles to the top of Silverado Motorway. The way down is fast and rocky—all singletrack. The motorway bottoms out at Maple Springs Road. Retrace Maple Springs Road a short distance back to the trailhead."

Silverado Motorway Reviews

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I love this hike. The only drawback is that when the forest gate is open, you have to be mindful of many 4x4's and dirtbikes.. They aren't always looking for hikers. Today, I saw a bobcat, tarantula, fox, and a rattler.
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A nice hike but a bit steeper in parts than I expected. Also, take care not to miss the trail head after leaving the parking area; it's about 100 yds pass the creek on the left, but because of heavy foliage its very easy to miss coming from this direction. You practically have to walk backwards to see it, and a wash / truck path about 100 yds further on can be easily mistaken for it. If you find yourself on that, as I'm afraid we did, you are in for a very steep half mile climb before you realize your mistake. Luckily a couple that had just made the same error saved us some time by turning us around. Other than that, the trail vista's are stunning and (not surprising for this time of year) we encountered very few other visitors during our trip.
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Silverado Motorway Photos

Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Aliso / Wood Canyons Regional Park 714-831-2174
Local Contacts
USGS Santiago Peak, Corona South
Local Maps