Main Divide Road

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Main Divide Rd
MDDirt2.jpg
Photo: Two New Jeep JK's Heading Up Main Divide Rd.
Trail Information
Other Names: 3S04, Main Divide, Indian Truck Trail
Part of: Cleveland National Forest
Trail Length: 40 Miles
Trail Time: 2.5 Hours (Depending On Starting Position)
Terrain: Dirt/Small Rocks
Off-Road Use:
Difficulty: Easy
Geography
County: Orange / Riverside Counties
Nearest Cities: Corona / Silverado Canyon / Lake Elsinore
Map Links:
Satellite Map:
Special Map:
GPS Start:
GPS End:
Google Earth:
Climate:
Elevation: 1,000 - 5,300 Feet



Main Divide Road, also known as Forest Road 3S04,is an off-road trail that traverses the heights of the Santa Ana Mountains within the Cleveland National Forest.

Starting at the Ortega Highway, the road climbs steadily, passing Blue Jay USFS Campground. This is the only campground along the trail. If you need to camp, this is it. As you move further up towards the first peaks namely Trabuco Peak, the only vegetation you find are the low shrubs of manzanita and sugarbush. This is a fairly simple trail, though narrow with some loose, uneven surfaces. Your stock 4WD should do a good job here. For the more adventurous, you can use the numerous alternate trails crisscrossing the main one.

As the trail starts to climb, look down into the Temescal Valley towards the east. Lake Elsinore comes into view 2,000 feet below. Keep moving along and on a clear day you can see Mission Viejo, the Joaquin Hills and even the Santa Catalina Island. To the east is Lake Mathews.

When you reach Santiago Peak, the incline reduces and the trail normalizes as this route is used to access the radio towers located to the north.

While you drive along the trail, you might want to pull out and take in the exhilarating views. You can do this easily when you drive along the high ridge east of the Gulf of Santa Catalina. If you want to fully enjoy this trail make sure you do it on a clear, crisp winter day. The cool air and good sunlight will make it a great experience. Moreover, the sweeping views of coastal Southern California are not to be missed.

Call Cleveland National Forest’s Trabuco District office for information about possible closures.

Contents

Directions

Main Divide Road winds along the top of the Santa Ana Mountains
The main entrance to Main Divide Road is off of Ortega Highway, a few miles in on the Riverside/Lake Elsinore side of the mountain range. From Los Angeles, head south to San Juan Capistrano and then east on 74. Take this road about 22 miles until you reach the El Cariso Fire Station. Make a left turn on to 3S04 (Main Divide Road) and head up about 4 miles until you reach a fork. Take the dirt road on the right which is 3S04 and where the trail begins.

You can also access Main Divide from the following trails (when open):


If you drive on the many side roads you will get the area closed down.

Maps and GPS Coordinates

View from Santiago Peak toward the West. California coastal islands can be seen in the distance.

Main Divide Road Coordinates: 33.653192° -117.411739° Coordinates: 33.653192° -117.411739°

Conditions and Closures

It is always wise to check with the Cleveland National Forest to make sure that your trail is open.

Cleveland National Forest Contact Information

During fire season, the gate between the north end of Main Divide and Skyline Drive is locked. You can get a key from the County of Riverside, but you must visit the cashiers office. There is a $100 deposit for 1 year of use and you must fill out a short request form. The cashiers office is located at 4080 Lemon St., 2nd Floor, Riverside, CA. The phone number is 951-955-1814

Alternate Names

Puddlz having some fun on Main Divide Rd.
On the way up to the peak.
  • North Main Divide Road
  • South Main Divide Road
  • Main Divide Truck Trail


External Links

Cleveland National Forest - Current Conditions and Closures

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