Oriflamme Canyon Trail

Julian, California 92036

Oriflamme Canyon Trail

Oriflamme Canyon Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Beginning in Blair Valley at an elevation of around 2,300 feet and climbing to around 3,200 feet, this out-and-back hike takes you through a vegetation-rich ecotone between low and high desert. In wet years or after sufficient rainfall, the seasonal creek, Vallecito Wash, will be running. The last 1.4-mile section (perhaps your four-wheel-drive starting point; see option below) transports you into a tangle of riparian wilderness that will make you forget you’re in the desert. The rugged terrain climbs through creek-fed cottonwoods, willows, and sycamore trees, leading past several small waterfalls to the sloshing endpoint: falls that tumble approximately 15 feet from the craggy rock face into the gurgling stream below. Outstanding Features: Wide variety of desert and riparian vegetation, a flowing seasonal creek with sparkling pools, waterfalls, and the accompanying serene sounds."

More Oriflamme Canyon Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"Oriflamme Canyon’s gurgling waters are borne to the open air at a spring high on the east slope of the Laguna Mountains. For 5 miles or so, they trickle over polished granite and schist bedrock, tumble over small waterfalls, and nourish a line of oaks, sycamores, willows, and cottonwoods. At Mason Valley, down on the Anza-Borrego Desert floor, they finally sink into porous sand. As soon as the late fall or winter rains begin, the flow of water down Oriflamme Canyon is copious. At one point, the water cascades impressively over a 15foot precipice within a hidden grotto of rock and riparian vegetation. This is the destination of the short but semi-rough hike described here."

Oriflamme Canyon Trail Trip Reports

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10/1/2016
Did this drive today. Like our fellow off roaders described, this is a moderate trail. I would not want to do this trail with a 2WD, so I rate it as you better drive a 4WD if you don't want headaches. We did the entire trail in 1.5 hours, great views, and the trail keeps you on your toes. Bring plenty of water, and get ready to tackle some nice switchbacks. Some of them are steep, off camber, while turning. So, take it slow and steady. Raised 4WD would be optimal for this trail, as well as off road 33"+ tires recomended. Finding the trail head wasn't hard, you will see a xign 'Oriflamme Canyon' right before mile 27 on the S2 road.
I have a larger truck, but is claded with tough plastic on the sides, rear and front, but be ware since some parts of the trail are very narrow and tree branches will rub against your car, and scratch it. A very good drive for beginners who are looking to sharpen skills and go up into intermediate level. If you do this without any problems, you and your vehicle are probably ready to take on Rodriguez canyon trail next door.
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5/30/2010
Excellent trail! Just the right balance of easy and moderate sections to make it fun and stimulating drive, but not abusive.

Stock 4x4 truck is fine. Semi-long wheel base OK -- there are a couple switchbacks that will require reversing, but there is room to do so. There are a couple rocky places on the final climb to the summit (S-2 to 78 direction) that will be a much more pleasurable experience with 4 LO.
There are a couple turn-arounds, one of which is at the summit (beautiful views from there!). It was hot at this time of year -- 110 F at the base, 90 F toward the top and back side.
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1/30/2010
This trail can be easily done in one day if you live anywhere in the San Diego area. There are certain spots where high clearance, low range and locking differentials are a must. There is a gate at the end of the road just before you can get back on the pavement, which luckily was not locked, but I'm not sure if it is ever locked.
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3/14/2008
Excellent trail with great views along a somestimes steep mountain grade. The trail is more difficult going from S2 to Highway 78 (West to East) as the West side is steeper with significantly more rocks. However, stock 4x4's with high clearance should be fine. Put this trail on your to-do list!
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2/20/2008
Had a great time with the recent snow on the ground. Trail is very rocky right now up to the crest.
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2/19/2007
Trail is in great shape both ways.
Stock 4x4's will be fine. I did not engage my 4x4 once during the whole trip. If it rains it will get really slick so don't go it alone or make sure you have a winch.
Watch out for flash flooding!
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Oriflamme Canyon Trail Photos

Trail Information

Julian
Nearby City
10
Distance
600 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
2.5–6 hours
Duration
October-May
Season
2,300 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,900 feet
Top Elevation

Trail Log