Trabuco Creek Road
The fork to the left leads you to the hiking/biking trailhead for Holy Jim Trail, which provides access via switchback to the Main Divide Road along the crest of "Old Saddleback Mountain". The road on the right that takes you through Horsethief Canyon, meandering along another tributary of the creek and passing a relic of an old abandoned car, as well as a shallow adit, possibly from the old gold and silver mining days.
The condition of Trabuco Creek Road changes with the season, depending on the weather. Crews do maintain the condition of the grade, but typically only as needed, such as after heavy rains and washed out conditions. After a road crew goes through, expect road conditions smooth enough for lower clearance, two wheel driven vehicles to pass with ease. However, most of the year it is not as passable, and clearance is more necessary if not required. The best thing to do is call the Rangers' Station for road conditions.
The first two miles or so of dirt road is a slightly grade and usually washboarded section leading towards the Radio Control Airport, called Trabuco Flyers. After that section, the road typically has a ton of potholes. Some are deep, and some not so deep, depending on the rain and the amount of work the road crews have put into maintenance. An SUV with moderate clearance is recommended at least to drive this trail. Chances are, you will see evidence of cars bottoming out on the trail. However, at optimum conditions, even cars such as PT Cruisers and Amigos have gotten through the gauntlet for a picnic along the water's edge. There are several creek crossings, and depending on the amount of rain, possible sections where you have to drive through mud holes. This trail is not very challenging for the more experienced off-roader, but as stated previously, cars (and trucks) bottom out here regularly. There are some very short, illegal side trails. This trail is part of the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County, California.
The trail would be pretty fun during or even after it rains. Other than that its basically a trail that gets you out of the house for awhile. Experienced off road need not bother with this trail. Be advised, however, as the whole area is a wash basin, and in the event of torrential downpour, it has historically flooded to the point of destroying the bridge and causing search-and-rescue scenarios for would-be mud-runners.
This trail is sometimes called Trabuco Canyon Trail or Cooks Corner Trail, a nod to a historic biker bar near the junction leading to the road.
Maps and GPS Coordinates
Trabuco Creek Road Coordinates: 33.660434° -117.584698°
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