Trabuco Creek Road

Cleveland National Forest, California

Elevation Gain2,799ft
Trailhead Elevation1,008ft
Elevation Min/Max1008/2732ft
Elevation Start/End1008/1008ft

Trabuco Creek Road

Trabuco Creek Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Orange County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 7.2 miles long and begins at 1,008 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 14.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,799 feet. Near the trailhead there is a sand. The Alder Spring and the Holy Jim Fire Department fire station can be seen along the trail. There are also a meadow and woods along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Holy Jim Canyon Road, West Horsethief Trail, Cadillac Trail and Trabuco Canyon Trail.

Trabuco Creek Road Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"Trabuco Canyon extends from the Main Divide between Los Piños Peak and Trabuco Peak down the the foothills and flatlands in O’Neill Regional Park. The canyon is a tree-lovers delight with grand old oaks, alders, maple, and even some big-cone Douglas fir. Enjoy a moderate traipse through Trabuco Canyon or opt for a more challenging loop up to Main Divide Road to Horsethief Trail, then a descent back to Trabuco Canyon Trail."
"The 40-mile-long Main Divide Road traverses the crest of the Santa Ana Mountains, from Sierra Peak in the north to the Ortega Highway in the south. From the dirt road are gorgeous vistas of the Santa Ana range, Lake Elsinore, Temecula Valley, and Orange County. This remote loop hike climbs up to the North Main Divide Road between Trabuco Peak and Los Pinos Peak. The hike steadily switchbacks out of the canyon up to the road via the West Horsethief Trail, an early trade route used by the Gabrieleno Indians that connects the inland valleys to the coast. The trail was also used by horse thieves during the Spanish period. After enjoying the far-reaching views from the divide road, the hike returns back into the canyon on the Trabuco Canyon Trail. Trabuco Creek Road—the road to the trailhead—is rough but passable for most vehicles."
101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad and David Money Harris
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"Wide-open views atop the Main Divide (Santa Ana Mountains) and passages through pockets of dense chaparral and timber make this one of the more varied and interesting hikes in this book. Depending on the level of maintenance the trails receive, passages may be overgrown by brush and poison oak. Wear long pants, or at least have them handy in your pack."
"This hike follows the first 1.8 miles of the Trabuco Canyon Trail to the junction with the West Horsethief Trail. The primitive path parallels the north side of Trabuco Creek along the sunny, south canyon slope. Trabuco Creek Road—the road to the trailhead—is rough but passable for most vehicles."
Best Easy Day Hikes: Orange County (Falcon Guides)
Randy Vogel
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"Unlike Holy Jim Canyon, there is no waterfall on the Trabuco Trail to attract the crowds. But the area is more open and affords better views into the surrounding mountain terrain. The spring wildflower displays along Trabuco Creek are some of the finest in the entire Santa Ana range. Most of the trail is exposed to direct sun, so pick a cooler day for this hike. Although the drive up the dirt Trabuco Creek Road to the trailhead can be bumpy—and is not advisable during a heavy runoff—the hiking in Holy Jim Canyon and the less-traveled Trabuco Canyon exhibits a remoteness and primitive character seldom found on such a short hike."

Trabuco Creek Road Trip Reports

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This trail is an easy trek, suitable for all ages and the entire family. Very scenic, quiet and serene. There is also a grave site, dated from the 1800's here. If you are nearby, it's an easy quick escape from the urban sprawl that surrounds the area.
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This is a great trail any time of the year, and for bikers and equestrians. Bikers just need to remember they can''t ride on the northern side of the Creek, west of the waterfall. The eastern end of the Canyon is part of the San Diego Sea to Sea Trail. Don''t forget the rest of the Canyon east of Black Mountain Rd (there''s an underpass under BM Rd) to the I-15 - lots of work''s been done on the Trail there, and it''s just beautiful with shady trees and the Creek winding through.
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Wonderful place. lots of water holes dogs can swim in. lots of different paths to take. Can be very busy on weekends in the summer time.

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Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Santa Ana Mountains
Local Contacts
USGS 7.5-minute Santiago Peak and Alberhill
Local Maps

Trail Log