Trails to Explore

Hiking

The best season for hiking is during the cooler fall, winter, and spring months. Many trails travel through the open chapparal and get very hot in the summer. Summer hiking should be done in early morning hours on designated trails that offer shade.

The most important thing to remember to bring is water. You should not drink from springs, rivers, or lakes without treating the water first. Human and animal waste can contaminate water in the wild and make you sick.

Poison oak is found along most trails. Stay on the trail! Ticks can be a problem in the spring and early summer. Be sure to check your clothing and hair.

Guides may be purchased at your local bookstore. Information on specific trails in Cleveland National Forest can be obtained at local ranger stations. The Cleveland National Forest Map ($6) shows most of the trails and back roads.

A few simple precautions can ensure a safe and pleasurable trip:

  • Plan your trip. Write a full account of who is going, where you are traveling, when you will be back, and where you plan to stay each night. Give it to someone who knows you will be gone
  • Check local conditions, weather conditions and fire danger lev­ els. Check with the Ranger District for the area you plan to visit
  • Dress appropriately. Sudden weather changes are common in the backcountry. Be prepared!
  • Pace yourself. Travel at a reasonable speed, rest often, and drink lots of liquids
  • If you get lost, stay calm and don't panic. Stop and try to figure out where you are. Use your head and not your legs. Three of any­ thing—such as shouts, whistle blasts, reflected light from a mir­ ror—are a sign of distress. Carry a rescue whistle and small mirror for emergency use. Note: Cell phones do not always work.
Palomar Riding and Hiking Opportunities
Trail Name Length Difficulty Users
Barker Spur Trail 3.4 miles Moderate User Image for Hiker User Image for Equestrian
Cedar Creek Falls 6.6 miles Moderate to Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Cutca 6.7 miles (3.7 Wilderness) Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Dripping Springs 6.8 miles (Wilderness) Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Fry Creek 1.7 miles Easy User Image for Hiker
Inaja 0.5 miles Nat’l Rec.Trail Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Interpretive Trail
Oak Grove 1.9 miles Strenuous User Image for Hiker
Observatory 4.4 miles Nat’l Rec.Trail Easy User Image for Hiker
Palomar to Magee 2.8 miles (Wilderness) Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Three Sisters Falls 5.5 Miles Strenuous User Image for Hiker
Wild Horse (Wilderness) 10.1 miles Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
KEY:
Interpretive Trail User Image for Interpretive Trail Dirt Bike User Image for Dirt Bikes Hiker User Image for Hiker
Mountain Bikes User Image for Mountain Bikes OHV User Image for OHV Equestrian User Image for Equestrian
OHV_ATV User Image for OHV-ATV.png  
 
Trabuco (Orange and Riverside County)
Trail Name Length Difficulty Users
Bear Canyon Loop 3.5 Miles (Wilderness) Easy to Mod. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Blue Water Ridge 3.2 Miles (Wilderness) Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Chiquito 9.2 Miles Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
El Cariso l 1.5 miles Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Interpretive Trail
Clark (Landlock trail) 6.2 Miles Strenuous User Image for EquestrianUser Image for Hiker
Falcon Trail (6W10) 1.4 Miles Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Fisherman’s Camp 1.6 Miles (Wilderness) Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Holy Jim 5.0 Miles Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Indian Portrero (Landlocked Trail) 5.2 Miles Moderate User Image for EquestrianUser Image for Hiker
Joplin 8.0 Miles Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Los Pinos 9.0 Miles Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Lucas 11.1 Miles (6.0 Wilderness) Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Morgan 5.0 Miles(4.5 Wilderness) Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Oak Flat 1.6 Miles (Wilderness) Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Saddleback Mountain (AKA Santiago Peak) 15.2 Miles Diff. to Extreme User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
San Juan 11.3 Miles Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
San Juan Loop 2.1 Miles Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
San Mateo Canyon 8.3 Miles (Wildernes) Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Tenaja 11.8 Miles (Wilderness) Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Tenaja Falls 5.4 Miles (Wilderness) Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Trabuco Canyon 4.3 Miles Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Verdugo 7.0 Miles (Wilderness) Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Viejo Tie 1.2 Miles Easy to Mod. User Image for HikerUser Image for Mountain Bikes
West Horsethief 6.0 Miles Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Descanso (East San Diego Area)
Trail Name Length Difficulty Users
Agua Dulce 10.1 miles Mod to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Big Laguna 6.7 Miles Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Bobcat 1.0 Miles Easy User Image for Dirt BikesUser Image for OHV-ATV.png
Bronco Flat .8 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt Bikes
Bronco Peak 2.7 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt BikesUser Image for OHV-ATV.pngUser Image for OHV
Corral 1.2 Miles Easy User Image for Dirt BikesUser Image for OHV-ATV.png
Desert View Interp. 1.2 Miles Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Interpretive Trail
Espinoza 6.4 Miles(2.1 Wilderness) Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Greenhorn 1.1 Miles Easy to Stren. User Image for Dirt BikesUser Image for OHV-ATV.png
Gunslinger 2.5 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt BikesUser Image for OHV-ATV.pngUser Image for OHV
Indian Creek 4.0 Miles Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Kernan 5.0 Miles Easy User Image for Dirt Bikes
Kwaaymmi Int. Trail .5 Miles Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Interpretive Trail
Lightning Ridge 1.3 Miles Easy User Image for Hiker
Noble Canyon 10.0 Miles Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Pacific Crest Trail (Mexico Border to Lake Morena) 20 miles Strenuous User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Pacific Crest Trail (Lake Morena to Bridge) 4 Miles Easy to Mod. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Pacific Crest Trail (Kitchen Creek Falls) 1.5 miles Easy User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Pacific Crest Trail (Fred Canyon to Kitchen Creek) 2.5 miles Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Pacific Crest Trail (Storm Canyon to Kwaaymii Point) 5.6 miles Moderate User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Pine Mountain 3.2 Miles Easy to Mod. User Image for HikerUser Image for EquestrianUser Image for Mountain Bikes
Secret Canyon 13.8 Miles (13 Wilderness) Mod. to Stren. User Image for HikerUser Image for Equestrian
Sidewinder 9 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt BikesUser Image for OHV-ATV.pngUser Image for OHV
Sodbuster .9 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt Bikes
Spur Meadow 3.0 Miles Easy User Image for Dirt Bikes
Sunset 4.6 Miles Easy User Image for Hiker
Tombstone 0.6 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt Bikes
Wooded Hill 1.5 Miles Easy User Image for Hiker
Wrangler 3.9 Miles Easy User Image for OHVUser Image for Dirt Bikes
Wrangler Tie .2 Miles Strenuous User Image for Dirt Bikes