This is a long uphill haul. There is no water on the trail so bring at least 2-3 liters if you are going to run to the top. The trail is a wide fire road used mainly by mountain bikers. If you want some solitude while putting in some hill work this is a great place to go. When you reach the top you can see views of the Pacific Coast, Orange County and out to the peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Need to Know
There is a water fountain at the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary restrooms. The restrooms are closed and the nearest port-a potty is next to the fire house you drive past on the way in. No access to water on the trail. Bring lots of water in the summer. Apply insect repellent before you start. There are lots of flies toward the top.
When you arrive there is free parking next to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. There are signs that direct you to the Harding Trail
trailhead. From the gate it starts going uphill, at about .25/mile you'll see a sign for the Cleveland National Forest. This sign marks the start of mile 1. From here on out it is a nice climb to the top. The trail itself is packed dirt with lots of rocks. Depending on the time of day you start some of the trail may be in the shade and as the sun comes up and over the more exposed the trail gets. Not many runners go past a couple of miles on the trail because of the climbing.
Keep on working until about 7-8 miles in. You'll reach a wide intersection that is 4 corners. From here you can peel off to another trail and explore other options, turn around and bomb the downhill or keep pushing up to Modjeska/Santiago Peak
. If you opt to keep pushing to Santiago Peak
you'll net around 27-28 miles when you get back to Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary ( I went all the way and it was definitely worth it).
Take some time to check out the views and gulp down a gel. The way down is super fast and fun. It isn't super technical but there are some rocky sections that can be annoying. Once you get in a groove the miles fly by and before you know it you're back at the trailhead. Hope this helps.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of flies.
Shared By: Jona L