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Los Pinos Peak (Main Divide Road)

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Los Pinos Peak (Main Divide Road)

Page Type: Trail

Location: California, United States, North America

Trail Type: Mountain

Technical Difficulty: Hard

Aerobic Difficulty: Very difficult

Layout: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 1000 ft / 305 m

Length: 4.0 Mi / 6.4 Km

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Cedar

Created/Edited: Mar 25, 2008 / Mar 25, 2008

Object ID: 266022

Hits: 3320 

Page Score: 73.06%  - 3 Votes 

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Overview

Los Pinos Peak is located in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California. The peak, at 4,510 feet above sea level, is the fourth highest peak in the range that has a respectable prominence.

The peak may be approached from one of three directions:
-from the north over Santiago Peak
-from the southwest on the Los Pinos Trail
-from the southeast on the Main Divide Road

The post often biked as well as being the shortest way is the last option taking the southern approach up Main Divide Road. This is an out-and-back fire road totaling at somewhat around 4 miles.

Trail Description

 
Los Pinos Peak
The Los Pinos Trail
The fire road is rather steep and may be slightly sandy after long periods without rain. The road begins at a usually locked gate and winds up from an elevation of 3000' to a saddle elevated somewhere around 4000' according to the topo. Before the road descends into the upper reaches of Trabuco Canyon and into a forest, bear left at the Y onto the Trabuco Canyon Trail and left again a few feet later onto the Los Pinos Trail.

The Los Pinos Trail is a 2 feet wide singletrack beginning down at the Los Pinos Ranch on the Ortega Highway (CA-74). The trail first climbs up to a 4500' hill where the true peak is first visible. It then descends a dangerous and steep ridgeline to a saddle between the peaks before climbing up to the true summit only 10 feet higher (according to GPS).

Getting There

Take the Ortega Highway (CA-74) either west or east to just below the pass to the Main Divide Road junction. Head north on this narrow road up into the Santa Ana Mountains. After leaving the residential homes behind, the road comes to a gate and becomes unpaved. Fire danger depending, the gate may be locked or it may be open.

Unless you plan to skip the Main Divide Road section, park at the gate. If the gate is locked, look for a gap on either side of the gate meant for foot traffic. Walk the bike through the gap and begin grinding up the mountain!

When to Bike

Winter is typically the best time to ride up here. Temperatures are cool and the air is clear. However, avoid riding immediently after a storm as the track will be muddy and difficult to get through.

At all costs, avoid biking during summer. Heat may approach extreme levels up to 110 degrees and threats of afternoon thunderstorms are common. Shade is very sparse, another reason to avoid this season.

Images

Los Pinos Peak