February 12, 2012

Silverado Motorway, Cleveland National Forest

This trail was described as “strenuous” and it is. A 6.8 mile hike where you gain 2,000 feet in just 3 miles, yeap, I would call that, strenuous.

 To reach the trailhead from the 5 freeway, take the Jamboree Road exit. Go north for 6 miles to Chapman/Santiago Canyon. Turn right on Santiago Canyon. Go another 6 miles to the Silverado turnoff. Go left on Silverado, following the road for 6 miles to the Maple Springs Parking Area. The trailhead is to your left about 100 yards after you enter the parking area. You’ll see a small trail marker, marking the trail, but it doesn’t say that it’s the Silverado Motorway trail.

 Once you start off on the trail you’ll notice that you’re heading uphill pretty quick. Within the first mile, you’re way above the parking lot.

 The switchbacks are long, and before you know it, you’re almost at the top. One thing that keeps your mind off of the steep trail, is the mountain bikers. On this hike we saw about 15 mountain bikers. They're all very courteous, but they are traveling downhill pretty quick and you do need to step off the trail while they go by.

 When we got closer to the top, we hit a few places where the trail leveled off, which was a nice break. Once we did hit the top, we walked over to the Main Divide where we could see Corona to the east and Orange County to the west. It was a bit overcast on our hike, but I’ve been told on a clear day you can see Catalina Island from the spot where we were standing.

 When we pulled into the parking lot, down on the canyon floor, I was thinking to myself that one day I would like to hike up to one of those peaks I was looking at. I didn’t know that in just under 2 hours I would be standing on top of one of them.

 On the way up we were averaging about 30-minute miles, and I thought on the way down I could do 20-minute miles, but the trail is filled with loose rocks, and it’s pretty steep. We average 26-minute miles on the way down, because we had to be careful not to slip and fall. I have about a 1,000 miles on my current hiking shoes, and the grip is gone. I’ll be picking up a new pair of shoes soon.

 Will I do this hike again? Yeap, it was really fun. I burned over 1,500 calories in just a few hours.. And I found out from another hiker that Bedford Peak is accessible via this trail.

 Dogs are allowed here, but keep in mind that you’ll have to dodge a few mountain bikers here and there, and also the loose rocks, they’re very sharp, and if your dogs’ pads aren’t built up, they might run into some trouble. 

 Two thumbs up!