2021-Jan: OC 1st Peaks-Mojeska & Santiago-SaddleBack Mnts/Level 3/Strenuous

Loading Hikes
  • This hike has passed.

2021-Jan: OC 1st Peaks-Mojeska & Santiago-SaddleBack Mnts/Level 3/Strenuous

HIKINGOC ANNUAL PEAK HIKE TO START A NEW YEAR. We will start 2021 hiking the highest peaks of Orange County. Modjeska Peak is the northern mountain of Orange County’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_County,_California) Saddleback (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddleback_(Orange_County,_California)) formation. It is the second highest peak of the Santa Ana Mountains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana_Mountains), and is in the Cleveland National Forest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_National_Forest) side by side with the highest famous “Santiago Peak”.

Photos from the past years:
2018 photos: https://www.meetup.com/HikingOC/photos/28458113/467448643/
2016 photos: https://www.meetup.com/HikingOC/photos/26659159/457264587/
2015 photos: (http://www.meetup.com/HikingOC/photos/25839673/433289181/)

This hike is dependent on fellow hikers with high clearance vehicle (HCV) offering to drive to the trailhead. We will do a shuttle hike “start at a trailhead that will need about a mile drive on the dirt road on the Trabuco Creek Rd before getting to the Holy Jim trailhead and end at the Holy Jim trailhead”. HCV drivers will drop some cars at the Holy Jim trailhead for shuttling.

Please indicate if you have an HCV and offer to carpool. Thank you.

PLEASE SIGN UP in the “WAITLIST” IF YOU ARE READY FOR THIS HIKE. Please do not pick this one as the 1st hike to try out with our group. The hike fits conditioning hikers who have hiked with the group local trails and mountains throughout the years or answer 2 questions to join.

Difficulty: Moderate-Fast Pace/Level 3 (Strenuous/Advanced for pace, distance and elevation). Please see the RATING TABLE (http://files.meetup.com/1554500/RATING%20TABLE.pdf) for more info about difficulty levels.

Pace: ~2.5 – 3 mph up/downhill
Distance: 18+ miles (approx.)
Elevation: 5200+ft (approx.)
Duration: 6-10 hours hiking time (with driving time as an all day event)
Requires: HCV and Adventure Pass (carpool recommended)
Meet at dirt parking lot by Trabuco Creek Rd & Trabuco Canyon Rd, Trabuco, CA: 7 AM
START HIKING: 7:30 – 7:35 AM

TRAILS MAP: Mojeska via Joplin Truck Trail and Holy Jim Trail (https://cdn.hikingguy.com/wp-content/uploads/modjeska-peak-hike-map.pdf)

SPECIAL NOTES: See driving directions below, VERY LIMITED PARKING SPACES at the trailhead, almost 5 miles drive on the bumpy dirt road,

Adventure Pass is required to park your car at the trailhead (http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/vendors.php). You can purchase the pass online or at any sport store near you.

What to bring: wear hiking shoes, hat, sunscreen, bring water, snacks and pack a light lunch. There is warning about poison oak on the trails. The most important is 10 hiking Essentials (http://www.meetup.com/HikingOC/events/messages/boards/thread/9535234)

Route: After a short drive through the bumpy dirt road on the HCV, the riders will hike to the trailhead and taking time while the drivers drop off the cars for shuttle. We’ll hike up Trabuco Creek Road and follow Joplin Truck Trail through Old Camp and continue on Joplin to Modjeska Peak. After a lunch break and 360 degree view on Mojeska (a peak less travel), we will head to the highest and famous Santiago Peak. From here, we will start down hill to one of the most scenic trails in the Trabuco Canyon area, the Holy Jim trail, back to the Holy Jim trailhead. The HCV drivers will take us all back to the Trabuco Parking Lot.

About this hike: Santiago is the high point of Orange County in Southern California, the highest peaks of Orange County is at 5687 ft. It lies along the crest of the Santa Ana Mountains, a coastal chain located southeast of the greater Los Angeles area. It is often referred to as Saddleback which refers to the skyline profile formed between it and nearby Modjeska Peak.

Modjeska is the shorter and pointier of the two peaks that comprise “Old Saddleback”, the feature that is visible from all of Orange County and from as far away as the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest. The 5,496 foot summit, like many things in Orange County, is named after the Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska [masked]). . The terrain is mostly chaparral, typical of the southern California mountain landscape, with stands of oaks and sycamores found in the deeper canyons with seasonal water flow .

The dirt road climbs up the side of Modjeska, giving views of the northern Santa Ana summits such as Bald Peak and Bedford Peak. While the lower portion of the trail is exposed, higher up you enter the cover of oaks and pines. Take a left and then a quick right, past a gate, and then almost immediately pick up an obscure single-track trail climbing off to the left. A short but steep stretch (gaining 800 feet in less than a mile) takes you to another dirt road. Take a left, and walk the last quarter mile, switch backing twice, to the Modjeska summit.

Although Modjeska is shorter than Santiago, the view is arguably better (due to Santiago’s many antenna installations). On a clear day, the visibility includes the ocean, Mt. Baldy, San Jacinto, San Gorgonio and more for sweeping 360 views. By walking around the various installations in about a quarter mile radius, one can see views in all directions covering five counties and a large portion of the southern California area – from Catalina and San Clemente Islands out in the Pacific Ocean, south to Mt. Palomar, east to San Jacinto Peak and the desert environ, north to the San Bernardino Mountains and San Gorgonio, and of course the ever-popular hundreds upon hundreds of square miles of urban sprawl all around. Use this map to find more about this trail

Driving Directions and Meetup Locations: From the 5 Freeway in Lake Forest, head northeast on El Toro Rd toward Portola Hills(7.3 mi), turn right at CR-S19/Live Oak Canyon Rd (Cook’s Corner), continue on Live Oak Canyon Rd (3.3 mi), take small bridge over Trabuco Creek, immediately turn left at Trabuco Creek Rd (dirt road) and park. We’ll carpool to the trailhead or you can go an hour earlier to hike the dirt road. National Forest Adventure Pass required for those driving and parking at the trailhead.

Carpool Locations:

1. 7 AM at Parking on Live Oak Rd/Trabuco Canyon Rd and Trabuco Creek Rd. (beginning of the bumpy road)

2. 6:45 AM at Whiting Ranch trailhead near Starbucks: Portola & Glenn Ranch Rd Foothill Starbucks 27412 Portola Pkwy Lake Forest, CA 92630

REMINDER: ***By joining the meetup, you agree to Meetup Terms of Service releases the Organizer and Assistant Organizers from any liability related to incidents that occur at Meetup gatherings***
Hiking is a rewarding and pleasant activity in nature, but there are certain dangers you should be aware of. Those include, but are not limited to, trip and fall injuries, bee stings, poison oak exposure, ticks, snake bites, mountain lions or wildlife. By signing up for this event, you agree to hold harmless the hike organizer, assistant organizers and other participants for any injuries sustained during this hike***

January 02 2021


Date: January 2
Time: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm
Hike Categories:
Website: Visit Event Website


Holy Jim – Trabuco Canyon Parking Lot

Trabuco Creek Rd & Trabuco Canyon Rd
Trabuco, CA 92679 US

+ Google Map


HikingOC (Meet to Hike in Orange County & Travel the World)
Website: Visit Organizer Website


Leave a comment

You can manage the subscriptions of this post.