Hike #2 – Sitton peak
🚶 9.2 Miles
🕒 5 Hours
⛰️ Elevation: 3,273 ft
🎟️ Parking Pass Required
🐶 Pet Friendly
📍 San Mateo Canyon Wilderness
Breakdown of Region
Hey everyone! Thanks again for taking the time to check out my blog 📝. I really appreciate it. I’m back again this week to share you my experience while Sitton Peak. This will be my 2nd hike of the year, as well as the 2nd hike from the So-Cal Pack of Peaks Challenge. So I’m inching closer in completing the challenge before summer arrives which is definitely how I wanted to start off the year. Now let’s get straight away into discussing this hike.
Sitton Peak ⛰️ is located near Lake Elsinore, California inside the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. There are a ton of trails within the forest, which the region is called the Cleveland National Forest. There are three districts in the Cleveland National Forest. They are called Trabuco Ranger District, Palomar Ranger District, and Descanso Ranger District. Sitton Peak is located inside the Trabuco Ranger District, so this is the area in which we will focus today.
For more information on the region, click here 👉: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cleveland/home/?cid=FSEPRD477258
Sitton Peak ⛰️ is about 9.2 miles in total walking distance. Again the number includes the hike to the peak and the hike back down. So half of that distance is just the walk from the starting point to the top. To put that into terms, last week I finished Strawberry Peak. That hike was about 8 miles in total distance. So Sitton Peak runs a bit longer than Strawberry Peak. Both are very similar in that I would recommend these two as a good starting point for beginners.
Unlike Strawberry Peak, the elevation is only 🔝3,273 ft. above sea level and the chances of seeing snow are pretty slim. To be honest, I don’t think 3,000 ft. is suitable enough for snow. So I’m only guessing. But the weather on my hike was mostly cloudy, with some fog along the way. As noon approached, the sky began to clear up.
The trail conditions for the most part are pretty dry. I didn’t wear my hiking boots 🥾 during this hike, but I wish I did because the trail becomes slippery towards the end. And I found myself slipping a couple of times during the steepest part of this hike. I wore my tennis shoes for this one, but again that was a mistake. So if you happen to have a pair, you should wear them. If you don’t have hiking boots and decide to use other shoes, just be careful with your footing. It will only come into play during the last mile.
For the most part, the first couple of miles are a little bit steep. But nothing too crazy. There were no problems and I made good pace once I arrived at the middle stretch. The middle stretch (as I like to call it) is the long distance of walk before arriving to the 4 corners saddle. More on that below.
The last mile of this hike is the steepest. It’s where I had trouble with my footing, as mentioned earlier. And I caught myself slipping to my feet on the way back down. So proper footwear really come into play here.
The trail is filled with mountain views. You’ll come across all kinds of outdoor scenery 🌲, which is capped off with an amazing view of the Santa Ana mountains. On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot the ocean 🌊 near Orange County and even Catalina Island. Because of the fog, I wasn’t able to spot it. But looking at pictures on Instagram, I’m excited to come back on a clearer day in order to see it 📸.
The trailhead I started is called San Juan Loop, off the Ortega Hwy. Once you get closer to the trailhead, parking is on the right side of the road. Parking on this trailhead does require a parking pass / Adventure pass 🎟️. There is a small shop across the street called Ortega Oaks Candy & Goods store 🍬, where you can purchase a parking pass. I didn’t get the chance to walk in and see the store for myself, but they do sell parking passes. They usually run for $5. You can also find passes in various vendor locations throughout California. I have more information regarding where to buy them at the end of this post.
Address:📍34950 CA-74, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
I arrived at the trailhead sometime around 9am ⛅. I usually shoot for 7am whenever I decide on a hike. But since I live pretty close to Lake Elsinore, I’d figure a 9am arrival would be just fine since this hike only takes around 4 – 5 hours. Just depends on how fast you finish hikes. I usually go at a faster pace. But like I always mention, arriving early helps beat the traffic 🚘 in case parking gets full. Parking for me was no problem. There was plenty of parking and open spaces. So I don’t see any issues when you arrive at the trailhead.
Once you find parking and have all you gear ready to go, the starting point is just ahead past the road. Please be careful when crossing the road. You are looking for a Bear Canyon Trailhead sign. This is the starting point for Sitton Peak ⛰️. Just walk towards that direction and follow the trail.
As you continue on the trail, you will evantually come to another sign with information about the trail. Please take the time to read the information, so you are always aware of your surroundings. There is a sign that mentions rattlesnakes 🐍, but I’d be surprised if you spot one during the cooler months of the year.
As you walk along the trail, give yourself the chance to enjoy the scenery🌲 around you. You’ll notice there is a lot to see. The branches of the trees are pretty narrow along the trail. The walkway itself is just a little steep, but nothing you shouldn’t handle.
After 1 mile of walking, you will come across the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness sign 🛑, as seen below. Just continue to the right of that sign. If you feel lost, I highly recommend downloading the Alltrails phone app 📱 before you being your hike. Again, this has helped me with directions during all my hikes. And it would help you too.
More to see as you walk along the trail. Again, perfect for taking more pictures 😃 📸 .
After a little bit of more walking, you will come across a pathway with different directions to turn. Here, you are looking for the Sitton Peak ⛰️ stick that is to your right. Once you spot the stick, just follow along the path on the right direction. See pictures below for an example 👇.
The next stop on the trail is another pathway that offers different directions to take, depending on which mountain you are trying to reach. When you arrive at this area, you want to look for the “Bear Canyon Trail to 4 Corners” stick 🛑. It’s going to be on your right direction when you approach the pathway. Once you spot the sign, just follow the trail to the right.
More pictures to take 📸. Don’t forget to tag us on any pictures you’ve taken 👉 @seekingmytravels. Continue walking along the path to 4 corners.
Now you have arrived to 4 corners. Each direction taking you to another mountain along the their trails. As you approach 4 corners, your path will be in the right 👉 direction. See pictures below.
Once you spot the Sitton Peak ⛰️ stick, the trail leads you directly to the peak. Only 1.7 miles 🤞 left to go. Almost there.
From here, just follow the trail. You will come across another stick 🛑 on the ground that tells you the distance you have left before reaching Sitton Peak ⛰️. But as you continue the turns and steep trail, you are only getting closer to the finish line 🏁. Here are pictures below.
The very last direction to turn is when you reach this sign again. As you approach it, just head 👉 right. This is the steepest part of the hike ✋. So please be careful. I slipped a few times to my hands because I wasn’t wearing the proper footwear. Again, I recommend wearing hiking boots 🥾 for this particular occasion.
Here, you are finally within reach of Sitton Peak ⛰️ as you reach the top of the mountain. The views from the top are incredible! You will find a Sitton Peak sign for pictures 📸 and have front row seats to the Santa Ana Mountains. Don’t forget to tag us along the way on Instagram. We have stickers to give out 😃.
Parking Pass Information:
Information on where to purchase Adventure Passes 👇
Alltrails mobile app:
I currently use “All Trails” mobile app on my phone during all my hikes for guidance. I’m able to download the map the day before and they work offline as well. I’m able to see where my location is during the trail so I always stay on path. I will attach a link below to the guide for Sitton Peak. They do offer subscriptions that are super helpful for hikers.
Link to download iOS app: 👉 https://apps.apple.com/us/app/alltrails-hike-bike-run/id405075943
Link for Sitton Peak Guide: 👉 https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/sitton-peak-truck-trail
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