The Quick and Dirty:
Location: Los Pinos Peak from Blue Jay campground, Cleveland National Forest
Distance: 5 miles round trip from Main Divide Truck Trail and Long Canyon Trail
Difficulty: Easy but watch for mountain bikers on the trail
Duration: 2.5 hours out and back
Dogs Allowed? Yes
A couple of weekends ago, we decided to explore Cleveland National Forest and climb the Los Pinos Peak while taking advantage of the cooler weather. This hike is located between Orange and Riverside County and the trail is a short 45 minute drive from our house (south Orange County).
The drive to the trail head is easy until the last few miles where a high clearance vehicle is recommended. We parked our car at the Main Divide Truck Trail and Long Canyon Trail intersection and decided to hike a mile to the trail head because we were not sure about the condition of the trail. The trail turned out to be in good condition, see photo below. We could have easily drove on it with our Xterra but the extra mile hike was not too difficult.
We thought the elevation gain was not too bad for the hike and made a mental note to trail run this the next time we visit. Here is a photo of the three of us at the top of the peak with the Saddleback Mountains behind us.