Summary: The Morgan Trail offers the hiker a pleasant journey through oak woodlands and areas packed with vast, sweeping canyon vistas. Boulders, meadows, streams (in years during which ample rains have fallen), and an abundance of spring wildflowers embrace the edges of the trail and beckon the hiker to travel further and further (mostly downhill) on to the trail's junction with the Bear Canyon Trail about four miles southwest of the Morgan trailhead. From here, one can turn and retrace his or her steps back to the trailhead, or continue for approximately one additional mile west (bear right at the trail sign) to the Bear Canyon trailhead, where the friendly and famous Candy Store offers plenty of sustenance for the mostly uphill journey back to the car. Another option is to turn left at the sign and travel an additional five miles around the Bear Canyon Loop, return to the junction, turn right, and retrace your steps back to the Morgan trailhead.
Trailhead: From San Juan Capistrano, along Interstate 5, exit at Ortega Highway (Highway 74), and travel northeast. Continue beyond the El Cariso Campground (approximately 25 miles east of San Juan Capistrano) until reaching the South Main Divide Road-turn right (south), and continue about 2.8 miles to the signed Morgan trailhead. A Forest Service Adventure Pass is required to park at the trailhead, and can be obtained from a number of stores along Highway 74, ranger stations, or even from a sporting goods store near your home prior to your hike. (Lat:33.63575 Lon:-117.38624)
Trail Guides for Santa Ana Mountains-Morgan Trail:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Trabuco Ranger District-U.S. Forest Service-(909) 736-1811
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Patricia Barnes, who has posted 23 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Collen on 6/14/2010
What a beautiful surprise, first time hiking there last Sat. Gorgeous singletrack meandering through oak groves, thenout into open. It's getting too hot now for a long hike. The two sets of horse riders that passed us attracked biting flies that left my right shoulder with 3 bit marks that swelled and itched and drew blood on my left arm. Beware the flies if horses are about! I was very sorry I'd taken off an outer layer. Next time will be fall weather. Flies shouldn't be so bad then. Truly a gorgeous setting. I'll try making it to the falls next trip.
Reviewed by Thomas Bang on 8/16/2009
First great hike! Didn't see a running stream, but probably for the best.
Reviewed by Brian on 5/22/2009
My girlfriend and I hiked this today. The hike was very nice, not to strenuous. The flies/bugs were out when we started at the trailhead, probably because there was still a little water in the stream. Very nice hike, saw lots of wildlife.
Reviewed by rick 92879 on 4/18/2009
great hike with nice stream running through it
Reviewed by zero on 11/4/2008
Saw zero people and only one car that passed me going down as I went up. Just being able to spend hours without seeing a single human made this hike worth it! The view of lake elsinore beneath a cloudy sky during the drive was spectacular. I went in the early evening and was surprised by the lack of wildlife other than a few blue jays and quails... not even bunnies or squirrels! There were a lot of shotgun cases on the ground, despite "no hunting" signs. Still a lot of fun, I just wish my dog didn't have to hurtle downhill like a furry cannonball. He weighs more than I do, so if he's hurtling, I'm hurtling along behind him!
Reviewed by DJS on 7/4/2008
Was a little too hot for the open terrain today (95). Made it just past the Tenaja Falls turnoff, and turned back after the GF overheated. Didn't see a soul. Take plenty of water, shade is only in some parts. Will do the full route on a cooler day, or with an earlier start.
Reviewed by DW on 3/17/2008
Led a group of hikers down this tail last week. Beautiful day on a terrific trail. Starting at the trailhead on the South Main Divide Road, we did a 4 1/2 mile round trip by tuning around at the Tenaja Falls Trail intersection.
Reviewed by tb on 2/9/2008
We saw a bear! Trail was lovely, could have enjoyed a bit more shade.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Riverside County Hiking, Riverside County Trails, Riverside County Hikes