We wanted to squeeze in one more hike before flying out the next day so we headed north of Temecula to the Cleveland National Forest along the Ortega Highway. The drive into the forest was pretty spectacular with the winding roads and views of Lake Elsinore.
The parking for the San Juan Loop Trail is on the right if heading west, across from the Ortega Oaks Candy Store. When parking here, it reminds you that you need a California Adventure pass which is available at the Candy Store. A day pass was $5.
We hiked the 2.2 mile loop counter clockwise. Located in the Santa Ana Mountains, the trail provides stunning views of the rolling, rocky mountains.
The rocky trail descends into the gorge of San Juan Creek. Granite stones tower all around the trail.
The terrain changes about halfway through the hike into an old oak forest and then begins to parallel the Ortega Highway. I really enjoyed this hike and it is dog friendly!
The next day we caught an afternoon fight back to St. Louis. I loved flying over the ocean, but what a difference it was when we landed in St. Louis.
I wanted the sunny weather back! All in all, this was an amazing trip! I had so much fun traveling with Nicole and can’t thank her parents enough for letting me stay at their house! Memories to last a lifetime!