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Trabuco trailhead

This is a wonderful 10.5 mile loop that begins at the Trabuco trailhead. To reach the trailhead you you have to travel about 5.5 miles up Trabuco Creek Rd. This parking lot is a mile or so past the Holy Jim parking lot and is a lot smaller. It only fits about 6 vehicles so arrive early.

From the trailhead you will hike through a well shaded single track trail with a couple creek crossings, an old abandoned car and a sealed up mine. You will be on this trail for 1.7 miles until you reach the junction with the west horsethief trail.


abandoned car from the mining era


Sealed up mine

Once here you can go either straight or hang a right and the continue on the Trabuco Canyon trail. They both lead you up to the Main Divide Rd. The west horsethief trail is slightly harder since it is nothing but switchbacks and is fully exposed. The Trabuco trail partially exposed for the first mile or so then changes to a well shaded trail.

We took the easier route and took the Trabuco canyon trail. This trail offers great views of Santiago peak.


Santiago Peak from Trabuco Canyon Trail

The first part of this trail it fully exposed and can be a bit difficult but gets relatively easy once in the shade. About a mile before reaching the Main Divide Rd we came across a Christmas Tree that was decorated with ornaments apparently its a tradition amongst mountain bikers to decorate a tree during the holidays. This made for a great picture spot and a quick rest break.

Christmas Tree in the CNF


Pacific Ocean in the distance

Once you reach the main divide rd you will have a great view of Lake Elsinore.

Lake Elsinore

From here take the first left you will be on this trail for 2.5. On a clear day you will have great views of the 3 biggest peaks in So.Cal


Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio, Mt. San Jacinto

After being on this trail for 2.5 miles you reach the West Horsethief Trail.

Trail is directly behind this post

This is a 2 mile trail that consists of nothing but switchbacks. It offers great views of Trabuco Canyon. From here it’s a total of 3.7 miles back to the parking lot.

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Happy trails, Alex G. * HIGH CLEARANCE VEHICLE RECOMMENDED * • 10.5 mile loop • Creek crossing • sealed mine • Adventure pass required • 2,300 ft elevation change