Modjeska Peak Hike
|In This Guide|
|Distance||15 miles (24.2 km)|
|Hike Time||8 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||4,820 feet (1469m)|
|Highest Elevation||5,499 feet (1676m)|
|Fees & Permits||Parking Fee|
|Dog Friendly||Off Leash Okay|
|Park Contact||Cleveland National Forest|
The Modjeska Peak hike is challenging – long, steep, and sometimes primitive. The hike climbs to the second highest point in Orange County, Modjeska Peak. Modjeska Peak, at 5,499 feet, is the lower peak in Saddleback Mountain. The highest peak (and other peak in Saddleback Mountain) is Santiago Peak. The actual summit is undeveloped and much nicer than nearby Santiago Peak. This is a challenging hike. Don’t try this hike without a good level of fitness.
Oh, and Modjeska Peak was named after the famous Shakespearian actor, Helena Modjeska. She emigrated from Poland, won acclaim in the USA, and eventually passed in Newport Beach in 1909.
Getting to Modjeska Peak
The trailhead and parking is a little tricky, there’s not a clean Google Maps address.
Use this address in your GPS: 31647-31741 Trabuco Creek Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679.
Here’s the actual latitude and longitude link. You are going to park at the junction on Trabuco Creek Road.
There are some small parking areas along the side of the road here. It’s not a popular trailhead, and I’ve never seen it full.
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.
Gear for the Hike
This is a long, tough, backcountry hike. You should bring at least 3L of water, more if it’s hot out. This hike has shady sections but can get very hot in the summer. I would also bring insect repellant, bugs can be intense in the summer months.
If you want to camp, there’s a fire pit on the summit of Modjeska Peak, a nice clearing, and great views. It’s obvious that people have done some backcountry camping here.
Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.
My best lightweight pack for hikes between 3-10+ hours. I use mine with the 3L water bladder from Osprey.
You can text, SOS, and get weather in the backcountry where your cell phone doesn’t work. Literally a life-saver.
Modern materials mean you get the protection of a traditional hiking boot (waterproof, etc.) with feel of a sneaker.
If you’re not using poles yet, you should be. This model takes a beating, is light, and is super comfortable.
I use a light inner toe sock and then a top-quality outer sock to prevent blisters.
Probars are great: no preservatives, vegan, low-GI, compact, and tasty. Put good fuel in your body.
If you’re hiking in the backcountry it makes sense to have a decent emergency kit and some basic gear to spend the night in a pinch.Full HikingGuy Gear List
* 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 REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:
Modjeska Peak Trail Maps
- Most maps have an incorrect path for the Joplin Truck Trail, the main trail for this hike. The GPX file in this hike has the correct route.
- There are more mountain bikers than hikers on the Modjeska Peak hike. Give them a wide berth, the trail is narrow.
Modjeska Peak Hike Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Modjeska Peak Hike Directions
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.