Elsinore Peak is a small peak located in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California. Though this is a small peak elevation wise, it has commanding prominence over the city of Lake Elsinore and of much of the Southern portion of Riverside County. Its communication tower laden summit (yes, I know, its sad) can be seen for miles around. Elsinore Peak is an easy access peak- you can drive within half a mile of it's summit.
If you are looking for a challenging peak, this isn't your peak. But, if you are looking for fabulous views, you have come to the right place. Elsinore Peak has a HUGE range of sight. From its summit, you can see Mt. Baldy (along with the San Gabriel Mountains, San Gorgonio (along with the San Berardino Mountains, San Jacinto (along with the San Jacinto Mountains), Santiago Peak (along with most of the Santa Ana Mountains), Toro Peak, Hot Springs Mountain, the Palomar Mountains, Cuyamaca Peak, the Laguna Mountains, the entire Inland Empire, the Pacific Ocean, San Clemente Island and Catalina Island. As you can tell, you can piratically see all of Southern California from this small peak.
Don't be scared away by the communication towers atop the summit. Sure they are ugly, but, a short easy hike rewards the hiker with amazing views that can almost be matching with the higher elevation peaks of Southern California.
As said before, getting to this peak is really easy. The hike from the parking area is just over .50miles (one way) with around around 250ft of elevation gain. You can follow one of two access roads used to attain the summit communication towers. They both start right around the parking area and are around the same distance. About half way up, there will be a gate that limits the last portion to hikers and mountain bikers only. You can view the summit along the whole approach.
Once atop the summit, you will notice many different trails that criss cross all around. You can choose to follow those any distance or simply take the main road down. Also, be on the lookout for mountain bikers and off road vehicles. Both of these activities are very big in this area, so on any ordinary weekend, one should be able to come across either of the two.
The area undergoes closures for maintenance periodically. If so, the furthest you will be able drive will be to a gate that is just outside the little community. Click HERE. When looking at the link, scroll down and look for "South Main Divide Road (6S07)" to check for the current conditions.
Also, an Adventure Pass
is necessary in order to park in the areas surrounding this peak.
CampingCamping can be done anywhere in the Cleveland National Forest. However, if you are going to camp, be sure to stay out of the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness Area due to the fact that it requires a permit for overnight camping.
If your looking for established camping, you can look at Blue Jay Campground or El Cariso Campground. These campsites fill up fast in the summer and spring, so try to be earlier due to the fact that its first come first serve there
From Lake Elsinore-
If your heading North of the 15 Freeway, take a left onto Central Avenue (and a right if your heading South). Take a right on Collier Avenue. Then take a left on Riverside Drive and follow this for a long time (around 4 miles). It turns into Grand Avenue when the road curves around the West shore of Lake Elsinore. Then, take a right onto the Ortega Hwy (Hwy 74) and follow this for around 5 miles until you reach South Main Divide Road (6S07). Take a left and follow this for around 6 miles. You will reach a saddle with a pullout for park on the left side. Park here (make sure you have an adventure pass).
You can also come up the SE Face from the La Cresta area via the same road [South Main Divide Road (6S07)]. Another possible way is to come from the San Juan Capistrano area via the Ortega Hwy.
Cleveland National Forest- Trabuco Ranger District
Keith Fletcher, District Ranger
1147 East Sixth Street
Corona, CA 92879
Cleveland National Forest Website
For information regarding the communication towers atop the peak, click THIS LINK.
For current weather conditions, click THIS LINK.
MiscIf you have any more additional information or photos, please contact me or add it to the page. Thank You!
[img:495052:aligncenter:medium:San Clemente Island]