Let’s say you’ve got a 4-wheel drive vehicle and you’d like to go four-wheeling onto a dirt road or trail in Orange County, California. For example, a Jeep Wrangler. (Granted, there are other kinds of off-roading too, like ATV-ing and dirt-biking.)
It shouldn’t be so hard to find information for where to go four-wheeling in the OC, right? Here’s what I’ve found for everything you’d need to know about where and how to go off roading.
About Off-Roading in the OC
Before you go, know the off-road basics, trail etiquette and heed them. Some of them are so-called “common sense” but they’re not so common, so please read and learn.
Now, here’s 2 things to check. First, check the status of the road at Cleveland National Forest Trails and Road Closures. Secondly, purchase a recreation pass before going, if you plan to stop your vehicle:
Southern California National Forests do not charge an entrance fee to travel the trails, but a Forest Adventure Pass is required to park your vehicle. If you plan to stop for lunch or a hike, you will need the pass.
Best Off-Road Trails in Orange County
Basically there’s three:
- Main Divide Road, aka 3S04, Santiago Peak, Saddleback Mountain – “This local overland getaway is a great goto for people that live in Orange County and Riverside area. The trails are not known for a challenge but for the amazing views of all of Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside County.”
- Trabuco Canyon Road, aka Holy Jim Trail – “.. among the most popular off-road trails in all of Southern California. With thousands of visitors a day, this is a great place to get out, have some fun, do a little socializing, and partake in people watching all at the same time.”
- Maple Springs Road (Silverado Canyon, CA) – “Maple Springs Road is the backdoor to Saddleback Mountain from Mid Orange County. One of Orange County’s few trails, this is a popular overland route for people to take when wanting to get out of the house and stay local. Others say the reason they enjoy this road is that it leads to the best view of Orange County.”
(cf. Best Places For Off-Roading Near OC – KCAL CBS; Five Favorite Four-Wheel Drive Roads and Trails in Orange County/Los Angeles, CA Area – trailsoffroad.com; A Beginner’s Guide to Where to Go Offroading Near Los Angeles – trailsoffroad.com; Santa Ana Mountain Off-Road Trail Guide – drivingline.com; and, read this for an extensive commentary- Off-Road Trail Rides in Orange County, Calif.)
Get the best detailed info about these trails and more at alltrails.com, for off-road driving trails in—
Trails Offroad Community is another useful database of info for offroading.