Summary: Dreaded Hill rises to the south of Four Corners where you can find water and information about the area. This is the gentler of the two approaches. The Dreaded Hill Trail begins an eighth of a mile west of Four Corners and rises 300 feet in about the same distance. On good days, you may see as far out into the Pacific as Catalina Island. The Santa Ana mountains rise to the northeast: you may lay claim to an excellent view of these as well as of Portola Hills and the Little Grand Canyon. Look for the redrock face to the northwest.
Regardless of which approach they take, hikers should walk the Dreaded Hill loop in a counter-clockwise direction. The Serrano Cow Trail connects the Dreaded Hill Trail with the Whiting and Line Shack trails in the south. A fine grove of sycamores and coast live oaks shades your passage here. Watch for mule deer. Leave small children at home: mountain lions have been sighted in these parts.
Trailhead: Concourse Park Trailhead: From Interstate 5, take the El Toro Road exit in Lake Forest. Head North/Northeast up El Toro Road towards the mountains. At the last stoplight before El Toro Road splits at Cook's Corner, turn left on Ridgeline. Turn left at the top of the hill, which is Saddleback Ranch Road. Proceed one block to Concourse Park.
Glenn Ranch Trailhead: As above for freeway exit information. Turn left on Glenn Ranch Road. Proceed past Saddleback Ranch Road. Look for dirt road leading to parking area on the right. $2.00 parking fee required. (Add 1 2/3 miles to loop distance from this trailhead.) (Lat:33.688 Lon:-117.629)
Trail Guides for Dreaded Hill Loop, Whiting Wilderness:
Afoot & Afield in Orange County
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Easy Day Hikes Orange County
by Randy Vogel (Falcon Publishing Company)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, (949) 589-4729
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joel Sax, who has posted 51 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by DS on 3/30/2009
Started this hike from Concourse Park. Free parking. Nice and sunny, hardly any shade. Bring a hat/visor, sunblock and plenty of water. Grab a trail map, if you don't know your way around, its really easy to get lost. Be aware of bikers, they come in fast especially on the way down from Dreaded Hill. Great workout, decent view.
Reviewed by DJS on 8/30/2008
Did the walk a couple weeks ago, going again today. Everything has reopened since the fires. Grab a map on the way in, as trails have shifted a little. There was sign up warning of mountain lion sighting the day before. No cover for most of the hike, and a mix of MTB that announce their arrival so you step off trail, and those that rudely bully you out of the way.
Reviewed by LT on 6/29/2005
I start this hike in reverse. I start at Glenn Ranch Rd. Park on Oakley's street called Definition to avoid paying the $2 to park on the trailhead and just cross the street. Gentle hike through some oaks. Keep an eye out for speeding mountain bikers. In about 20 minutes you reach the bottom of Dreaded Hill. The hike to the top you'll be sucking for 20 minutes of aerobic torture. If I really want a workout I head back down the bottom and hike up again. Keep an eye out for lot of rattlesnakes. Almost stepped on one out of carelessness. Coiled up and was ready to strike. Throughtout the hike keep an eye out for tarantulas, families of deer and a determined skunk walking up Dreaded Hill. Nice workout, watching out for rattlers a downer th
Reviewed by Bruno on 3/17/2005
I went the beginning of March. Parts are indeed closed due to erosion. If you decide to go anyway, definitely don't bike. I was planning on the 'cactus-sleepy hollow' trail but ended up doing the whiting trail to four corners and than the dreaded hill trail down. I didn't see anybody else on my way. Definitely bring a map because there are lots of small trails. There is also a lot of wildlife for being that close to houses! I saw lots of rabbits, some lizzards, snake tracks and a dead Tarantula?! Knowing that there might be mountain lions out there and passing the spot where somebody got killed in 2004 by one, sometimes gives a scary feel. On the other hand, you get a nice wilderness feel! Great!
Reviewed by JB on 1/15/2005
We ran into a couple rangers yesterday at the end of our hike. They told us the trails in this area are now closed due to significant rain damage (much of the road is gone). The trail is not identified clearly, but according to the rangers, you must go north where the trail forks for the Edison road (not on topos). If you follow the Edison road, it's a one mile dead-end.
Reviewed by adrian on 9/26/2004
the dreaded hill has a very steep incline. cna approach this trail backwards if you really want to train and get your power bursts in order. it's a short loop also, which can be good if your not feeling strong as usual. if your coming down the dreaded hill, it lays you down into the fun river like run on the way out of whiting ranch. when up to 4 corners, thereis'a multitude of paths you can take to make this trail a quick or all day adventure.
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