Trabuco Canyon Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California

Elevation Gain2,397ft
Trailhead Elevation4,182ft
Elevation Min/Max2686/4190ft
Elevation Start/End4182/4182ft

Trabuco Canyon Trail

Trabuco Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Orange County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 4,182 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,397 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. This trail connects with the following: Los Pinos Trail, West Horsethief Trail and Trabuco Creek Road.

Trabuco Canyon Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: Orange County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad and David Money Harris
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"Starting from the east terminus of Trabuco Creek Road, an old truck road turned narrow footpath meanders up to some of the most idyllic spots in the Santa Anas. Upper Trabuco Canyon is home to Orange County’s biggest alder grove; to fine specimens of live oak, bay laurel, and maple; to a tiny community of madrones; and to a wide variety of spectacular spring wildflowers. Historically, the canyon is significant for its mining activity, and as the site of the killing of California’s last wild grizzly bear in 1908."

Trabuco Canyon Trail Trip Reports

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Today the "Warriors" club was running a race through this area and I went the same direction as part of their course so as to avoid potential collisions. I started at about 9:45 AM at the junction of Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek Road where the aid station was (1667' elev.). I rode up the road 1 mile on Trabuco Creek to the trailhead. If you listened carefully you could just about imagine the banjo tune from "Deliverence" coming from some of the old shacks along the road! From the trail's start (6W04) up to Horsethief Trail are a number of water crossings and some pretty rocky areas in that one mile stretch. Definitely hike-a-bike time! Lots of trees and a lot of water coming downstream to make you feel far away from the city. A little further on you start up the switchbacks where I ended up pushing my bike uphill a good deal! The last 0.5 mile is rideable to the Main Divide Road (3S04) at 3993' elevation. It is about 2.5 miles of fast riding south on Main Divide to the Trabuco Trail junction and the spring temps were perfect today. Now imagine over 2.5 miles of fast downhill singletrack with some fantastic views and a few stretches of sharp fist-size rocks on the trail with long runs through trees and overgrowth. Very cool! I was feeling better overall and just about finished off my water. I nearly had an unwanted re-fill when my pedal caught a rock in a deep water crossing. I went on my back and got thoroughly soaked! I made it back to the start with the following: 12.24 miles total, 25.1 MPH max, 5.1 MPH avg, 4 hours total time including breaks, crashes, and pedaling. By the way, the 5 mile dirt road in to my start point is very rutted, muddy, and bumpy. Low-clearance cars proceed at risk! Also watch for ticks in the bushes catching a ride with you when you try this trail.

Trabuco Canyon Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco District (714) 736-1811
Local Contacts
USGS Alberhill, Santiago Peak; Thomas Brothers, Orange County.
Local Maps