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Santiago Peak



17.1 mile 27.5 kilometer out and back
81% Runnable


Ascent: 3,998' 1,218 m
Descent: -3,997' -1,218 m
High: 5,673' 1,729 m
Low: 1,767' 539 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 46% (24°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney

An 8.5-mile one-way run up Santiago Peak.

John McKinney

Features River/Creek · Views

There may be fire restrictions in effect.

Some of the roads/areas on Santiago Peak may be closed to the public. If so, obey any signage and respect the property.


This 17.1-mile round-trip starts at Trabuco Creek Road, heads up Holy Jim Trail and North Main Divide Road before diverting off to explore Santiago Peak.


From the trailhead on Trabuco Creek Road, head north on Holy Jim Trail, a path that follows the creek through a densely shaded canyon. At 1.4 miles when the trail junctions, take a left to stay on Holy Jim Trail and head up the canyon wall via a couple sets of switchbacks. Around 3.5 miles, the trail becomes a little less brushy and there are more taller trees shading the path.

At 5.2 miles, Holy Jim Trail ends at North Main Divide Road. Take a left to head south and west on North Main Divide Road for about 2.9 miles. A the junction, turn left to explore the summit of Santiago Peak. There are numerous roads branching off since the summit is covered in cell and radio towers. Spend some time eating lunch, and then explore the roads at the summit of Santiago Peak in order to get the best views of the Palomars, the San Bernardinos, the San Gabriels and the Santa Monica mountain ranges. When you've had your fill (of both views and food), head back the way you came.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

Flora & Fauna

Ferns and vines in the canyon below, and higher up oaks, sycamores, and some Douglas fir dominate the path.

History & Background

These mountains were once called the Sierra de Santiago because of Santiago Peak which dominated the ridge.

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Jan 2, 2018
Katie Rumsey
Quick detour to waterfall on return trip 15.7mi

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Trail Ratings

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  3.8 from 4 votes
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in California


66 Views Last Month
1,672 Since Aug 7, 2017



Panoramic view
Aug 4, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA
When you can take your eyes off the trail, Lower HJ has fantastic views that will have you forgetting you're not far from civilization.
Aug 7, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA
Santiago Peak view
Aug 7, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA
Looking out from Santiago Peak.
Aug 7, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA
Yellow flowers
Aug 7, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA
A nice view
Aug 7, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA


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