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See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.


Santiago Peak


Location: On the Riverside-Orange County line, about 12 miles south of Corona, 61 miles from Los Angeles


Auto ClubLos Angeles and Vicinity, Orange County
Forest ServiceCleveland National Forest
USGS TopoSantiago Peak 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
 Viewable PDF file - Approximately 4.8 megs
 GPX file or Google Earth KML file to download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)
 Routes as shown on CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)

Nearby Peaks: Modjeska Peak

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 18 miles round trip on trail and road
Gain: 4000'
Time: 10-11 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, strenuous
Navigation: Easy
Leader Rating: "O", normal conditions
Driving: High clearance 4WD

Original: Warren E. von Pertz, March 1969


  • From I-5, exit on El Toro Road and go north on El Toro Road. Just after Cook's Corner Restaurant the road forks with Santiago Canyon Road and Live Oak Canyon Road.
  • At the fork, go right on Live Oak Canyon Road (S19).
  • Follow Live Oak Canyon Road until it makes a 120° left turn near the entrance of the O'Neill Regional Park. At this point the road becomes Trabuco Canyon Road.
  • Drive 4.4 miles (just past Rose Canyon Road) to where you cross a large wash. After crossing the wash, take an immediate left turn on a dirt road. This is Trabuco Creek Road.
  • Drive east 4.6 miles to a wide parking area with a road forking off uphill to the left (north). Park here.


  • From the parking area (BM 1746), hike north up the left-road fork, which passes a number of houses and ends at a gate in 0.5 mile.
  • Continue on the Holy Jim Trail to where the trail meets a road at Bear Springs (BM 3965). Turn right to the spring and hike up the trail that begins behind the spring to where it meets the road close to the summit.
  • Turn right on the road then switchback left and follow the road to the summit.


High clearance vehicle strongly recommended.

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: None
Gain: None
Time: None
Rating: Drive-up
Driving: High clearance

Original: Dorothy Danziger and Byron Prinzmetal, May 2000


  • On I-15 south of Corona, exit at Weirick Road, which is about 6 miles south of the I-15 and SR 91 interchange.
  • Turn right at the end of the off-ramp and drive about 50' to Knabe Road where you turn left.
  • You are now on a frontage road running south paralleling I-15. Proceed on this frontage road for about 1/2 mile. Look on your right for a brick and iron fence enclosing many trucks (Corona Clay Company). Just north of the fence, there is a cluster of signs and a dirt road. One of the signs says "Bedford Motorway-Private Road" and another says Maely Ranch.
  • Turn right and reset your odometer here.
  • At 2.1 miles, you pass a gate and a sign saying 4S03 (Bedford Road).
  • At 6.1 miles, go left on Main Divide Road (3S04).
  • At 9.7 miles, junction with Maple Springs Road (5S04). Keep left staying on Main Divide Road.
  • At 11.3 miles, you pass the turnoff for Modjeska Peak.
  • At 14.3 miles, you reach the parking area for Santiago Peak. See Route 1.


  • Hike past the gate for 0.1 mile to the summit, which is on the left of the site of a torn-down lookout tower.

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: None
Gain: None
Time: None
Rating: Drive-up

Original: Warren E. von Pertz, March 1969


  • From the intersection of SR 55 (Costa Mesa Freeway) and Katella Avenue in the City of Orange, go east on Katella and then southeast on Santiago Canyon Road (S18) to Silverado Canyon Road. Turn left.
  • Drive east 5.7 miles to the end of pavement at a Forest Service gate. If the gate is open, pass through the gate, note your odometer, and go as follows:
  • At 6.5 miles, fork. Go right.
  • At 7.4 miles, fork. Go left.
  • At 7.5 miles, fork. Go right.
  • At 9.1 miles, fork on the left. This is the turnoff for Modjeska Peak. Keep straight.
  • At 12.0 miles, locked gate outside a radio installation. Park here.


  • Hike past the gate for 0.1 mile to the summit, which is on the left of the site of a torn-down lookout tower.


The name of the apostle and patron of the Spains, Santiago (Saint James) was frequently used in Spanish times for place names. Santiago and Modjeska combined, is known locally as "Saddleback". This peak was labeled Santiago Peak when the Geological Survey mapped the Corona Quadrangle in 1894. They also changed the name "Cussing Jim" to "Holy Jim". Santiago Peak is the highest point in Orange County. It is the high point of the Santa Ana mountain range.


Silverado Canyon Road and Bedford Road are seasonal, with fire, weather or other closings. Further, Silverado is closed at special times of the year to protect an endangered frog. Check with the Trabuco District Ranger Station, Cleveland National Forest at (951) 736-1811.

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