Elsinore Peak is a small peak located in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California. Though this is a small peak elevation wise, it has commanding prominence over the city of Lake Elsinore and of much of the Southern portion of Riverside County. Its communication tower laden summit (yes, I know, its sad) can be seen for miles around. Elsinore Peak is an easy access peak- you can drive within half a mile of it's summit.
This peak has provides decent opportunities for the mountain biker. The peak sits sandwiched between private land, the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness Area, and the Wildomar OHV Trails. Due to this fact, on most weekends or holidays, you will encounter plenty of OHV vehicles in this area. Also, this can be a bad thing due the fact that many motorcyclist rut out the trails for mountain bikers.
The Elsinore Peak Trail is a primitive trail in the sense of its maintenance, its fairly overgrown with LOTS of off-shoot trails going ever which direction. Standing out of the all the little trails is one fairly wide trail, which traverses Elsinore Peak and down South Main Divide Road (6S07). Its a decent ride, but it is fairly steep and technical after you traverse the peak.
From the parking area, you will easily notice Elsinore Peak with the communication towers atop its summit. There are two roads that lead up to the top. Both are about the same distance and are technically easy. From the parking area up, you gain around 300ft of elevation. Once you reach the upper gate, you go around (its perfectly legal) and then go past the communication towers and then reach the summit
Once atop the peak, you can see a trail that follows a ridge and goes down. You can follow this trail till it spits you back out onto South Main Divide Road or simply turn around at the top and come back down on the two roads mentioned above. The part of the trail after the peak is pretty technical with lots of elevation loss (over 500ft) over a short distance, making it really really steep in places. Its also fairly overgrown and rocky in places. Lastly, its a little hard to follow, but it does provide the some good terrain for the mountain biker. After this trail ends at South Main Divide Road, you can either ride back up the trail or take the road back up. The road is alot easier.
When to Bike
You can bike year round here, however, it can get well over 100 degrees in the summer months. So it is best to ride Fall, Spring, and Winter. Winter can be chilly with an occasional snowfall, but its nothing that will stop the avid mountain biker.
The area undergoes closures for maintenance periodically. If so, the furthest you will be able drive will be to a gate that is just outside the little community. Click HERE. When looking at the link, scroll down and look for "South Main Divide Road (6S07)" to check for the current conditions.
Also, an Adventure Pass is necessary in order to park in the areas surrounding this peak.
From Lake Elsinore-
If your heading North on the 15 Freeway, take a left onto Central Avenue (and a right if your heading South). Take a right on Collier Avenue. Then take a left on Riverside Drive and follow this for a long time (around 4 miles). It turns into Grand Avenue when the road curves around the West shore of Lake Elsinore. Then, take a right onto the Ortega Hwy (Hwy 74) and follow this for around 5 miles until you reach South Main Divide Road (6S07). Take a left and follow this for around 6 miles. You will reach a saddle with a pullout for park on the left side. Park here (make sure you have an adventure pass).
You can also come up the SE Face from the La Cresta area via the same road [South Main Divide Road (6S07)]. Another possible way is to come from the San Juan Capistrano area via the Ortega Hwy.
Cleveland National Forest- Trabuco Ranger District
Keith Fletcher, District Ranger
1147 East Sixth Street
Corona, CA 92879
Cleveland National Forest Website
For information regarding the communication towers atop the peak, click THIS LINK.
For current weather conditions, click THIS LINK.