In 2014, Silverado canyon experienced a fire that blackened 1600 acres of the Cleveland National Forest. This prompted a closure of Maple Road in Silverado Canyon, which takes you to the Main Divide and Harding Truck Trail. Those of us that like to climb up to Santiago Peak or the Silverado Motorway via Maple Road had to wait close to 3 years before it re-opened. The ride to either location is no joke and requires serious legs to get there. We highly recommend that you be fully hydrated, stretch well, and get a good night’s rest before tackling either one. There is over 4100 feet of climbing to reach Santiago Peak, so heed our advice. Hikers, mountain bikers, and motor vehicles also share this road, so use plenty of caution. If you are not aware, motor vehicles are allowed on the Main Divide Road, and Maple Rd in Silverado Canyon is one of the few places you can access it on a vehicle. Be prepared to eat a lot of dust if vehicles are making their way up and down. Obviously, there is more vehicle activity on the weekends, so plan your ride accordingly.
Getting to the Holy Jim Trailhead is an adventure itself, as you have 5 miles of dirt road to get through before arriving to the Holy Jim parking section. The first 3 miles are generally smooth, but the last 2 is full of rocks, ruts, and bumps. A truck, Jeep or 4×4 vehicle is handy here. However, we arrived there in my Civic so it can be done! (just really slow). The first 1.4 miles of this ride is relatively shady. There are several creek crossings to get through, but by the time you reach the 1.4 mile trail marker, you will begin climbing to the Main Divide rd. This is all sun exposure. Once you arrive to Main Divide, you have approximately 7 miles of more tough climbing to go through. The Trabuco tral is on your right at the 12.5 mile section, and there is a metal fence to clue you in once you get there. The descent is full of rock gardens but is not terribly technical. The last section smooths out and eventually ends at Trabuco road. Enjoy this last section as you make your way back to your car.