A line of telephone poles runs up one of the major south ridges of Santiago Peak. A fairly good use trail runs below the poles all the way to Main Divide Road just below the summit. The route is therefore known as Telephone Ridge.
The route is normally started at a large turnout on Trabuco Creek Road at (33.6717554, -117.5593322).
Follow the dirt road up to the Joplin Trail then head east to a clearing where it splits. At the clearing, the Joplin trail drops down to Old Camp while a maintenance road continues right toward the Telephone Ridge. At the end of road, drop about 75' down to the base of Telephone Ridge. The brush is mostly light and there is a reasonable use trail to follow beneath the poles. About 200' below Main Divide Road, the use trail drifts right of the poles. Thick buckthorn intrudes on the use trail. Push through it to emerge onto Main Divide for an easy walk up finish. Views back into Trabuco Canyon are stunning. If you want, continue over to Modjeska for the full Saddleback experience. Return on the Joplin Trail to make a loop out of it or return on Telephone Ridge.
Long pants and long sleeved shirt.