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Trabuco Ranger District

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness- Spring is a wonderful time to visit this lightly used Southern California wilderness that is covered with chaparral and coastal sage.

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General Information

Description - Trabuco Ranger District is named for Trabuco Canyon on the west side of the Santa Ana Mountains. Trabuco, meaning "blunderbuss" in colonial Spanish, was a weapon apparently lost in the canyon by a Spanish soldier during the Portola expedition of 1769.

Trabuco Ranger District lies in the northern section of Cleveland National Forest encompassing the Santa Ana Mountains in Riverside and Orange Counties. The elevation varies from 1,140 feet to 5,687 feet with very steep topography in most places. More than 90% of the district is covered with chaparral.

Administrative offices and visitor information are in Corona at the Trabuco Ranger Station. A Visitor Information Center is located next to the El Cariso Fire Station.

Attractions - The main visitor access route is the Ortega Highway (State Route 74), which connects Lake Elsinore (on I-15) to San Juan Capistrano on the coast. This scenic route climbs steeply above Lake Elsinore (watch for hang-gliders) and then follows San Juan Canyon through the Forest. Along this route are campground and picnic areas in woodlands of coast live oak and sycamores. The Main Divide Road is a dirt road that runs north and south along the mountain crest; always check for road conditions or closures before planning to use this road.

Most of the activity in this area is hiking, biking, and horseback riding. All trails are open to mountain bikes except for nature trails and wilderness trails. A popular and challenging mountain bike trail is the 11-mile San Juan Trail. The upper trailhead is at Blue Jay Campground. Equestrians like the San Mateo Canyon Trail, which starts at the Tenaja Falls Trailhead; or the Tenaja Trail, which starts at the Tenaja Trailhead.

Recreation - Most visitors enjoy hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. A large OHV area with adjoining campground draws non-highway vehicular use. Tent, RV and group camping, along with several picnic areas comprise the recreation options found on Trabuco Ranger District.

Forest visitors on the San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests of Southern California are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle when parked in the Forest. The cost is $5 per day or $30 per year and can be purchased in any Forest Service office or over 350 businesses throughout Southern California.

Climate - A warm, dry Mediterranean climate prevails over the Cleveland National Forest - hot in the summer, mild in the winter. Most of the precipitation comes as rain during the winter months.

Location - The Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest is located just south of Corona and along the west side of Interstate 15.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Trabuco Ranger District, 1147 East Sixth Street , Corona, CA, 91719, Phone: 909-736-1811, Fax: 909-736-3002
, mailtrd/r5_cleveland@fs.fed.us

Additional Information:
Cleveland National Forest - The Cleveland National Forest lies in Southern California stretching from the San Diego area, northward to the Orange and Riverside County urban areas. Visitors can find solitude and escape from the busy life of the nearby cities.


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