Tijeras Creek Trail - Rancho Santa Margarita

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Ride Description

Arroyo Trabuco trail is one of our favorite South Orange County destinations, which follows Trabuco Creek along the way. This trail runs about 7 miles and there are several creek crossings to pedal through, especially during the rainy season. It is not a difficult trail to ride, with light elevation gains, which makes it family/kid friendly. There is one section that gets rocky and sandy, but it’s short lived and not that difficult to pedal through. It is a beautiful trail with sections of single track where you feel like you are enclosed in a jungle or forest. Our preference is to pick up the trail at O’Neill Regional Park, and loop around via Tijeras Creek Trail at around the 6-mile mark. This loop is perfect if you want to give yourself a break from tough climbing, with some “roller coaster” type riding along Tijeras Creek. It is a great workout without the strenuous, sustained climbing we love, but there are a couple of short steep climbs to clear (mere yards). The last 2 miles of this loop has you riding the streets back to your car.



Distance: 12.35 mi
Time: 1:13:36
Avg Speed: 10.1 mph
Elevation Gain: 784 ft
Calories: 736 C
Avg Temperature: 81.9 °F

Driving Directions

The easiest way to get there is through the 241 toll road. Head South and take exit 19 for Santa Margarita Parkway. Turn right. Make a left on Las Flores. Continue for approximately .08 miles and make a left on Via Petalos. At the end of the street, make a right on El Camino Montana. Park on the street in about ¼ mile. You will notice a gate entrance to your left (the park itself), which is where you will enter. No parking fee since you are parking outside the park. The address is provided so you can use your GPS to get there from wherever you are coming from.

Ride directions

(hover over steps for images – some steps may not have images)

Enter the park and head left. You can either stay on the paved road or catch the dirt trail just a few feet away.

.89- There is a short but sweet single track that you can take to the bottom. It is on your right side where you will notice a campground area with a stone structure. The trail lies directly behind the stones. If you miss it, done worry. Keep riding straight and make a right on the paved section.

1.17- At the bottom (either via single track or paved road), you will notice a single track that cuts straight through a picnic area. Stay on this and continue straight. Cross a small creek and continue straight through another picnic area. You will soon see the trailhead on your left.

1.28- Enter Arroyo Trabuco. It’s a nice, easy ride for the most part. You will encounter a small section that is rocky and sandy, but keep pedaling through and you will be just fine. This is a great trail to charge through and pick up speed.

3.56- Pass the gate. You will notice homes on your left. In about a mile you will notice a historical marker, which is the San Francisco Solano Adobe house. It is not much to look at these days, as it is enclosed in order to preserve it. It’s still a small piece of history though that should be appreciated.

5.48- The trail narrows into a single track, and this one of my favorite sections of the ride. It’s all shade, with beautiful scenery reminiscent of a jungle or forest. In about ½ mile, you will see Tijeras Creek trail marker on your left.

6.19- Enter Tijeras Creek trail. You will encounter a sandy section and small creek right after.

6.50- Here is one of the short steep climbs to get through. Nothing crazy. There is a lot of fun to be had once you clear it. Stay on Tijeras until it takes you to Antonio Parkway.

When you reach the end of Tijeras, it will put you on the intersection of Antonio and Bienvenido st. Stay on Bienvenido and head straight.

10.6- Left on Alma Aldea- this becomes Las Flores. Ride for 1.6 miles.

12.2- left on Via Petalos

12.4- right on Camino Montana

12.6- The end.

Garmin Info



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