- Home - Hiking Trails - Orange County Hiking Hike the Bedford Peak Trail (Orange County)
The Bedford Peak hike in Orange County is a tough one with big payoffs. The trail to Bedford Peak climbs about 2000 feet in 3 miles, and your reward is great views of Mt Baldy, Saddleback Mountain, and Catalina.
7.2 miles (11.6 km)
Yes, in parking lot.
Bedford Peak Hike Trail Maps
Google Maps trailhead:
31330 Silverado Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA, 92676, USA Hike Location The Bedford Peak hike is 30 minutes from Irvine, 80 minutes from downtown LA, and 2 hours from San Diego. 3D Hike Map The hike starts at the Maple Springs Visitor Center and quickly winds its way up a series of switchbacks. After the initial climb, you ascend along the ridge for the final stretch to the peak. Hike Elevation Profile The bulk of the climbing happens right from the start. It's tough but manageable, just take your time. The last section levels off, allowing you to catch your breath and enjoy the views. Interactive Hike Map Bedford Peak Hike Map Downloads View a Printable PDF Hike Map Download the Hike GPX File Bedford Peak Hike Directions Hike Briefing Bedford Peak, at 3800 feet, offers great prominence, so you get great views of Mt Baldy, Santiago Peak, Modjeska Peak, and Catalina. It feels like a big climb, without the superhuman effort. The main Bedford Peak trail has two names (for the same trail). Some maps list it as the Maple Springs Trail, others list it as the Silverado Trail. The summit of Bedford Peak is on the border of Orange County and Riverside County. There’s no shade on the trail to Bedford Peak, so bring plenty of water. The summit can get breezy too, so if you do the hike when it’s cool out, extra layers will feel nice. Much of the area on the lower slopes was burned in a forest fire. You’ll notice some burned trees and soil as you do the hike. The trail is shared with mountain bikers, keep your eyes and ears open. Usually I only see a few people on the trail – it’s a nice one when you want to avoid the crowds. You need a parking pass for the Cleveland National Forest. I use the affordable National Parks pass, which gets me in every national park, national monument, and national forest. You can also use an (Southern California only) Adventure Pass, or buy a $5 day permit from the ranger’s office or the deli on the road to the trailhead. Turn By Turn Directions The trailhead address brings you to the Maple Springs Visitor Center area, the end of the paved road. On the right you’ll see the visitor center. The porta-potty is the only bathroom on the hike. There’s a hiking board here that I check out before heading up the road to the trailhead. There’s also a parking lot here, but there’s another one closer. Use this parking lot for a quick bathroom stop or to check out the hiking board. If you do park here, it’s a short 10 minute walk to the trailhead. Don’t forget to display your parking pass. Sometimes the gate to the actual trailhead is closed, in which case you have to park here. Drive past the gate and head up the dirt road. It’s acceptable for all types of cars. Drive for about 2 minutes up the dirt road. You’ll probably see some 4×4 vehicles. This is popular route for off-road enthusiasts in Cleveland National Forest. Park at the first parking area on the left. The Bedford Peak trail is in the corner of the lot and easy to spot. The trail is dirt and easy to follow. Keep your eye open for mountain bikers. You can see one up the trail here. Also note the small arrow sign marking the start of the trail. After a few minutes, climb over the metal gate. It’s here to keep motocross bikes off the trail. Okay, so you start climbing. And climbing. Just get into a groove and take your time. As you climb, take breaks and admire the view. Here you can see the Maple Springs Visitor Center down below. The climb is intense. I like to use this (shorter) climb to train for the bigger peaks. Bedford Peak is a great hike to do on a weeknight when you have a few hours of sunlight left. The trail to Bedford Peak is easy to follow. No junctions or turns for the first part. Just follow it up the switchbacks. As the switchbacks climb, you’ll start to get views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on some stretches. On the last stretch of the climb, you cross to the other side of the ridge. Keep your eyes open to the left for views of Mt Baldy as you crest the ridge. Flat trail! When you make it to the ridge, the trail evens out and gives you a breather. You’ll pass through a big open area. I’ve heard that it’s for landing helicopters, but who knows if it’s true. Stay to the left to continue on the trail. As you approach Main Divide Road, you’ll get incredible views of the surrounding mountains. You reach Main Divide Road, the artery that snakes it’s way through Cleveland National Forest. Hike to the right after you get to the road. You might notice the cool trail marker. The trail you just came up on is referred to as the Silverado Trail here, but on some maps is also known as the Maple Springs Trail. At the junction, you’re heading to the right through the white gate. Main Divide Road is much wider. Keep your eyes open for 4×4, mountain bikers, and motocross bikes. They generally don’t go fast, but be aware. As Main Divide Road twists and turns, you’ll get nice views of Lake Matthews, which is actually a man-made reservoir. Opened in the 1940s, and filled with water from the Colorado River, it supplies much of the water to Southern California. At around 3.3 miles, you’ll see a small turnoff from Main Divide Road, through a broken fence. Take this trail to the peak. After an initial steep pitch, you’re on the peak. Enjoy the great views, you earned it. The icing on the cake of this hike is the cool bench where you can chill out and enjoy the views. I usually bring a snack up here for my well-deserved break. That’s the hike. From here, head back the way you came and call it a day. The views on the way down are great, enjoy it! Bedford Peak Hike Video Please subscribe to my YouTube channel here! Support This Site
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Saddleback Mountain Hike (Santiago Peak)
Hiking Saddleback Mountain takes you to the highest point in Orange County, Santiago Peak. It’s also the highest point in the Santa Ana mountains. This hike takes the scenic Holy Jim Trail, which is also the shortest route to the summit.
Sitton Peak Hike
The Sitton Peak hike offers great 360 views of the Santa Ana Mountains, San Diego County, Orange County, and Catalina on a clear day. The hike to Sitton Peak is much easier than the hike to Saddleback Mountain, with views that are comparable. The trail has some flat sections to catch your breath, making it a great hike for beginners.
Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs
Caspers Wilderness Park is home to the San Juan Hot Springs hike, which is long but very doable. The hike can be done as an out-and-back trip, or you can do a longer 14 mile loop that circles Caspers Wilderness Park and offers incredible views.
My Best Hiking Gear List
I hike a lot, and I go through a lot of gear. Here’s my best hiking gear list. This list features all the hiking gear that is worth your time, skipping the junk that you don’t need. I take a high-tech and low-tech approach, giving you the convenience of hiking with technology while offering low-tech backups in case the fancy gear fails. Everything you see in this hiking gear list is what I use on every hike that I do. I update this page regularly when I test and use new hiking gear.
Orange County Hiking
There is an Orange County hiking trail for everyone, from tough mountain hikes, to hidden waterfalls, to pristine coastal hikes with ocean views. Cleveland National Forest in the east is a vast treasure trove of primitive hikes away from the malls and developments in Orange County. Because the area is somewhat affluent, the Orange County Parks Department is one of the best in the USA. And if you just need an easy hike to reconnect with nature, a beach hike is easy enough and requires little preparation.
Read More A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
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