Hike the Bedford Peak Trail (Orange County)

In This Guide
  • Video & Turn-by-Turn Directions for Bedford Peak
  • Parking for the Bedford Peak Trail
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations for the Hike
Total Distance (?)7.2 miles (11.6 km)
Hike Time3-4 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)2,050 feet (625m)
Highest Elevation3,800 feet (1158m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Trabuco Ranger District, Cleveland National Forest
Park Phone951-736-1811
Weather & ForecastLatest Conditions
Stay SafeShare this webpage link with a friend before you hike and let them know when to expect you back.

If you’re looking for a hidden gem, the Bedford Peak Trail is for you. You’ll get an excellent workout climbing about 2000 feet in 3 miles, and at the top, you have gorgeous views of the Santa Anas, Angeles National Forest, Catalina, and on a clear day, the higher peaks of SoCal. Overall it’s an underrated gem.

Parking for the Bedford Peak Trail

You’ll want to use the (often closed) Maple Springs Visitor Center as your car’s GPS destination. Use this address for the trailhead: 31330 Silverado Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA, 92676, USA.

You’ll see the visitor center on your right.
And on the left is a parking area. We will drive two minutes to the next dirt parking area, just up Silverado Canyon Road.

If the gate into Silverado Canyon is closed, park here at the paved lot and walk up.

You’ll need to have a National Parks Pass or Adventure Pass regardless of which lot you park in.
Once past the gate, the (closer) trailhead parking is about 1000 feet up the road.

Gear For the Hike

There’s no shade on the trail to Bedford Peak, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen. If you like to climb with trekking poles, they can be helpful. The summit can get breezy, so extra layers will feel nice if you do the hike when it’s cool out. Otherwise, it’s not a technical hike and can be done with workout gear if you like.

FYI ➤ Huge REI July 4th Sale On Now

Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.

Latest Prices: Amazon | REI

Altra Lone Peak 6
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Terraventure 3 or Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. I have a video on the details of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.

Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon 
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon 

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.

Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon 
Z-Poles: REI | Amazon 

Gregory Zulu 30 & Jade 28
After testing quite a few backpacks, the Gregory Zulu 30 (and Jade 28 for women) is, for most hikers, the best all-season day-pack. First off, it’s very comfortable, and the mesh “trampoline” back keeps your back dry. Its 30L capacity is enough for all the essentials and plenty of layers for winter hiking. External pockets make it easy to grab gear. It’s hard to find something wrong with the pack; if anything, it could be a bit lighter, but overall, it’s not heavy. And its price-point makes it not only affordable but generally a great value.

Women’s Latest Prices: REIAmazon 
Men’s Latest Prices: REIAmazon 

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated June 2022.

My June 2022 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Bedford Peak Hike Trail Maps

Note that 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.

View Interactive Map

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

To access this guide when out of cell phone range on the trail, simply save the webpage on your phone ( iPhoneAndroid ).

Elevation Profile

The bulk of the climbing happens right from the start. It’s challenging but manageable; just take your time. The last section levels off, allowing you to catch your breath and enjoy the views.

3D Map

The hike starts at the bottom of the canyon 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 Brief

Here’s John “Jack” Bedford and his wife, Lou. Bedford Peak was named after Jack, who settled in the Santa Anas in the 1870s. Born in Kentucky, Jack had an adventurous life, at one point working as a Pony Express rider and then a guide for wagon trains coming to California from Missouri. He died at 88 and is buried today in Santa Ana Cemetery.

Bedford Peak Trail Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

The start of the trail is on the left side of the parking lot.
Go past the metal barrier.
And then pass the next barrier as you start the climb.
Right away you’ll get great views up into Halfway Canyon, across Silverado Canyon.
The trail turns right and follows the gully. You’ll see evidence of the 2014 Silverado Fire, which burned the entire area of this hike.
Continue climbing as you see the trail unfold in front of you.
Now you’ll hike up a series of wide, sweeping switchbacks. You’ll get nice views down into Silverado Canyon as you climb.
The peak ahead is not Bedford Peak, hidden off to the left.
Continue up the wide switchbacks. At one point you’ll be able to spot the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
The trail turns right and you start hiking straight up.
You’ll start to get nice views of the higher peaks.
Then the trail levels out.
And you can see north to Ladd Canyon. The peak with the towers on the right is Pleasants Peak. Beyond these peaks in the valley is Corona, CA.
There’s still some climbing to do as you hike along the ridge, but it’s not as steep as before.
Modjeska Peak is in front of us here.
The trail widens and you reach a flat open area. Hike straight through.
The trail widens out and you have a short downhill.
You’ll start to get views of Mt Baldy and Angeles National Forest to the north.
When you get to the gate, make the hard right onto Main Divide Road.
You’ll see one of the welded-style trail signs at that junction.
There’s a short section on Main Divide, which is usually open to (infrequent) vehicle traffic.
Keep on the road where you see a small turnoff. This isn’t Bedford peak. You can take the turnoff if you’d like, it rejoins the road shortly.
Views of Lake Matthews to the east open up.
At the next turnoff, head up the steep hill past the gate.
There’s a flat section at the top.
And then the summit sign will be on your left.

Bedford Peak marks the boundary between Riverside and Orange Counties.

From here you’ll get views of Santiago Peak.
And back down into Silverado Canyon, with the ocean and Catalina in the distance.
From here you just head back down the way you came.

This guide last updated on May 1, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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