Silverado Motorway, CNF

a tough 6.8-mile hike

Silverado Motorway, Cleveland National Forest  

August 4, 2013

The Silverado Motorway hike is a tough one.  You gain 2,000’ in just 3-miles. This out & back hike is only 6.8-miles, but it’s a challenge. And don’t do this hike during the summer. We only did it, because it’s been an unseasonably cool summer. I think the temperature on this hike never reached 80°.

Not only is this trail a great workout, it has great views too. Once you hit Bedford Peak, you’ll be able to see Mt. Baldy looking east, turn west and then you can see Catalina Island. And it’s a dog friendly trail too! The trail is a bit rocky, and the rocks are sharp. Make sure your dog’s pads are tough before taking your pup on this hike, if there is any doubt, bring booties. My dog Tiffany hikes four miles every morning, so she doesn’t have a problem regarding her pads. It is a tough hike and on the way back down I usually will have to carry her for a mile or two. That’s one of the benefits of your hiking dog, being a small bred. Also bring plenty of water for you and your pup, and some treats for your dog and energy bars for yourself.

This is the 4th time Tiff and I have hiked this trail, but the first time we’ve ever brought someone with us. I asked Marcia is she wanted to join us and she said yes. For some reason the 2,000’ in elevation gain doesn’t get to me anymore, so I was telling Marcia that this is a nice uphill hike, but it doesn’t feel like an uphill. Well after reading my previous post of the first time I hiked here, it did seem like an uphill. And it seemed like an uphill to Marcia too. At just a 1⁄2-mile in, you can see the road down below and you can really tell that you’ve been climbing. I asked Marcia if it felt like a hill and she said that we were in the sky and pointed down below and said, yes this feels like a hill. You have to check out the video below, it’s fun.

About 2.5-miles in, we can across about 10 or 12 Cairns (cairns are small piles of rock, set along a trail) they kind of reminded me of Stonehenge for some strange reason. Someone had to spend hours putting this together; some of the Cairns were arches. It was kinda cool, and seeing them brought a much-needed smile to Marcia’s face.

About another 1⁄2-mile in, at mile 3, that smile was gone from her face and Marcia informed me that she wasn’t having anymore, again, this is a tough hike. I was happy she continued on and we were at Bedford Peak about 20 minutes later. We each had an energy bar, some water and enjoyed the views, then we headed back down. You think you would make really good time heading back down, but we were still only doing 20-minute miles, because it’s so steep and rocky, you really can’t speed it up. Our trekking poles really helped, both going up and coming down.

Marcia’s spirit improved and she was back to normal within the first few hundred yards after we started heading back down, and that made me happy. Marcia and I’ve done a lot of tough hikes together and I knew she could do this one.

We made it down to the car, in 4.15 hours. We had a few sandwiches and some ice-cold ice tea waiting for us. We rehydrated then headed back home. It was a really fun hike, and yes I’ll be doing this hike again, I think Marcia will be as well.

It’s really easy to get to, from Interstate 5: Take the Jamboree Road exit. Go north for 5 1/2 miles to Chapman/Santiago Canyon. Turn right on Santiago Canyon. Go another 5 1/2 miles to the Silverado turnoff. Go left on Silverado, following the road for 5 1/2 miles to the Maple Springs Parking Area.

You'll need your National Forest Adventure Pass to park here, you can pick one up at the rangers station or at your favorite outdoors store.

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