Bear Canyon Loop: Park across the street from the Ortega Oaks Candy Store off of Ortega Hwy (Coming from Orange County take the Ortega Highway going East). The trailhead is located right behind the candy store, indicated with a sign for the Bear Canyon Trailhead. You want to take the bear canyon loop to the 4 corners area (about 3.5 miles in where the Verdugo Trail, the Tenja Trail, Bear Ridge Trail and Bear Canyon Trail meet). At that point there is a marker for the trail to Sitton Peak. Once you hit the 4 corners area, you have a little over a mile and a half to go, it is mostly uphill from there. The last climb up sitton peak is a fun one, a nice little scramble of less than a quarter mile. A map of the area can be found below in the Google map. You will need a Forest Adventure Pass to park at the trailhead. One can be purchased at the Ortega Oaks Candy Store across Ortega Highway.
Description of Hike: The total Distance for our hike to Sitton Peak was 10.3 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 2,200 ft. The hike was a little longer than usual since we completed the full Bear Canyon Loop. The full loop is composed of the Bear Ridge Trail and the Bear Canyon Trail. The hike is shorter if you do not complete the full Bear Canyon Loop and use the Bear Canyon Trail both ways. The best thing about this hike is that the trails are well marked and mileage is posted on the trail markers. The trail was in great shape and normally you will see other hikers out on the trail because the hike to Sitton Peak is popular hiking trail in Orange County. Sitton peak is just over 3,200 feet in elevation and the hike is about 10 miles round trip without doing the full loop. Remember to sign in at the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness register at the trailhead.
During our hike we got a chance to interact with different hikers from all walks of life. We got to meet and have a great series of conversations with a boy scout troop from Irvine California. It was truly a rewarding experience to pass out Grape-Nits Fit cereal, because everyone was presently surprised to get free samples of Grape-Nuts Fit cereal.
San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. While on this hike we saw a 4 foot gopher snake, several horned lizards, as well as multiples hawks and turkey vultures.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft. (Moderate), Distance: 10.3 Miles Roundtrip with full Bear Canyon loop (Moderate), 9.8 Miles Roundtrip without loop, only going through the valley (Moderate).
Time to Complete Hike: 4.5 - 6 hours.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON SITTON PEAK
June 29, 2013 (This Post)
View Sitton Peak in a larger map