Bedford Peak (Cleveland National Forest)

The hike to the top of Bedford Peak in the Cleveland National Forest is a fun rewarding hike with great views of Southern California. Bedford Peak is located almost on the border line between Orange County and Riverside County, in the Santa Ana Mountain Range. The hike to Bedford Peak is a fun hike in Southern California as it offers sweeping views of the Santa Ana Mountains and the greater Southern California area. Bedford Peak sits at an elevation of approximately 3,800 feet.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the Trailhead to hike to Bedford Peak, if you are coming from South Orange County, exit the 5 freeway at El Toro Road. Take El Toro Road all the way until it becomes Santiago Canyon Road past Saddleback Church. Follow the road for several miles and you will eventually make a right onto Silverado Canyon Road. Follow Silverado Canyon Road for approximately 5.5 miles all the way to the Maple Springs Trailhead where the hike begins. Note: you can also take the toll road to get this location. If you are coming from North Orange County, you can exit the 5 freeway at Jamboree Road. Take Jamboree Road and make a right onto Santiago Canyon Road, followed by a left onto Silverado Canyon Road. A Google map is provided below.

Description of Hike: The hike to Bedford Peak and back will take you around 3.5 hours depending on your pace. This is an out and back hike to one of the Santa Ana Mountains notable peaks. The trail was in great shape when we went and has some impressive elevation gain from the trailhead to the peak. Be prepared for a workout from the elevation gain you will find with this hike. There is very little shade once you get off of Maple Springs Road, so make sure to have plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen on a hot day.

The peak is at an elevation of 3,800 feet. To get to Bedford Peak, from the Maple Springs Trailhead, head up Maple Springs Road for about a quarter mile and there on your left is the turn out for the Silverado Motorway. There is not a sign indicating the turn off of the Maple Springs Road onto the Silverado Motorway, but there are metal railings indicating the trail. It is approximately 3 miles of uphill hiking from this point to the Main Divide Road. Take the Silverado Motorway to the Main Divide Road. Once you get to the Main Divide Road, Bedford Peak is about a quarter to half a mile to the right. There are no signs indicating which way to go at the top, but you want to go to the right. You will also need a Forest Adventure Pass to park at the Maple Springs Trailhead.

Further Thoughts: The hike to the top of Bedford Peak is a beautiful hike in Orange County. It is also a great training hike if you are looking to hike bigger peaks in the Santa Ana Mountains or other tall peaks in Southern California. The trail virtually goes straight up the canyon walls, so you begin having breathtaking views early on in the hike. If you attempt this hike during a hot summer day, make sure to bring plenty of water as there is very little shade and you are exposed to the elements along a majority of this hike.

When we did this hike, it was very windy at the top. There were 20 - 30 mph sustained winds at the top because a low pressure system had just moved through Southern California. We made two small videos showing the power of the wind which will give you a feel for the exposure while on this hike, to see them click Here. At the beginning of the hike, you follow along the Silverado Stream that follows the Maple Springs Road. This stream had plenty of water in it when we went and you can expect to see water in the stream during the rainy season in Southern California.

Once you reach the Main Divide Road, the hike to Bedford Peak levels out a bit. This is also where you have sweeping views of all of Southern California. You can see Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio, and the entire inland empire while at the top of Bedford Peak. Bedford Peak is not a very prominent peak in the Santa Ana Mountains, and thus not highly visible from the Los Angeles Basin. Even though it is not a very prominent peak in the Santa Ana Mountain Range, the views from up top are spectacular. This hike is also know for its wildflowers during wet rainy seasons in Southern California. There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom when we did this hike as we had an above average rainfall total during the 2010 rainy season.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft. (Moderate - Strenuous), Distance: 7 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate - Strenuous).

Time to Complete Hike: 3 - 4.5 hours.


March 27, 2010 (This Post)

View Bedford Peak in a larger map


  1. is bedford peak the hill that doesnt have any antennas on it?

  2. Beford peak doesn't have any antennas on it. If you are looking at the Santa Ana Mountains from a distance it is not possible to really see beford peak as it is not very prominent like some of the other peaks. It is a ways away from Santiago and Majeska Peak.

  3. thanks for the quick response brian but lets just say you're looking at the peaks with all the antennas on then from tustin it's the peak on the left with nothing on it. i asked a guy from the rangers station and he told me that was bedford peak. ive been going there and camping for about 20 years and i always wondered what it was called. that peak at night is just awesome.

  4. My wife and I just did the Bedford Peak hike. We had a enjoyable time and the directions are spot on. A couple notes, there is a small gravel parking lot at the trail head if you would like to skip the walk up Maple Springs Rd (which is a little dangerous as it is an access road to the back country 4x4 trails). Second, with such a wet winter the wildflowers are in heavy bloom which are beautiful (see photos link) but the bugs are in even heavier bloom. So be prepared for a lot of biting flys. We used strong insect replant and the bugs were still a constant annoyance. That said we still had a fun time but had to cut the hike short on account of the bugs. We plan on heading back in the fall.

    Thanks for the guide!


  5. A friend and I did Bedford Peak yesterday. We had a little trouble locating the trail head, but once on it, we knew it was the correct trail. The trail isn't a steep climb, but a steady uphill one. When we reached the top, we weren't sure if we had landed on the peak, as it is not marked, so we walked further, then decided we had passed it and went back. The views were spectacular and there were no flies at all, nor did we see any wildlife save for a scrub jay. Going back down the trail, I realized that the trail goes up almost all the way. Great hike! Going to do it again soon with a group from my hiking club.

  6. My girlfriend and I did this hike today with our two dogs. We loved it. It kicked our butts and our dogs are super sore. Its all up hill. I think it was about 3.4 miles we went, before we turned around. Nonetheless we want to get some more people together and do the hike again. The views are amazing the entire way up!


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