North Main Divide Road

Total Miles
12.0

Elevation

1,718.59 ft

Duration

--

Technical Rating

3

Easy

Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Trail Overview

Tucked amidst the hustle and bustle of Southern California's heavily-populated coast is a slice of heaven called the Cleveland National Forest. This mountainous region is undeveloped save for a few great trails connecting world-class views to cozy campgrounds. The North Main Divide Road enters the forest from the southeast near Lake Elsinore and climbs to one of the region's highlights, Santiago Peak Lookout. The road itself is fairly easy but steep and rutted in places with plenty of exposure on the cliff sides. Brush can get thick, leading to pin-striping, and travelers should be aware that trees come down across the trail often in burn areas, so be prepared to clear them. At our time of travel, one section was blocked by a massive tree and required a bypass. The bypass is steep and off-camber, but most stock 4x4s should be able to handle it if approached with caution. Cell service is decent at the top of the mountain but spotty throughout the rest of the trail. Watch for oncoming traffic on the narrow shelf road and drive with respect and care for others.

Photos of North Main Divide Road

North Main Divide Road
North Main Divide Road
North Main Divide Road

Difficulty

At our time of travel, there was one section that was blocked by a massive tree and required a bypass. The bypass is steep and off-camber, but most stock 4x4s should be able to handle it if approached with caution. The road is generally narrow and caution must be used to find places to pass.

History

Santiago Peak lies in Orange County, in the Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest at an elevation of 5,690 feet. The original 70-foot lookout tower was built in 1914, and was removed by the CCC in 1935. A 35-foot tower with a 10-foot cab was built in 1951. The remaining structure is currently surrounded by communications facilities.

Technical Rating

3

Status Reports

Mike P.
Jun 16, 2024
4x4
Open
Normal
Passed two Jeeps and two dirtbikes, very quiet.
Ben Greg
Jun 10, 2024
4x4
Open
Rough/Deteriorated
J T
May 25, 2024
2023 Rivian R1T
Open
Normal
Chris Wiggins
May 19, 2024
2006 KTM 950
Open
Dusty
For a big ADV bike the trail was pretty easy. Some rocky sections but that is about it.

Access Description

Start in the city of Lake Elsinore and follow Highway 74 towards either Long Canyon Road or North Main Divide Road.

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