Sunday, October 28, 2012

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. Recently, I had the chance to hike to Bedford Peak again with some friends from Bremer and Whyte, unfortunately Ashley was unable to join. This hike was exceptionally enjoyable because of the neat cloud formations that were with us for the whole hike. For more pictures of our hike make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

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 designated 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. Stay of the Main Divide Road and it is not your first peak, but the second one when you go down a little and then back up. 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 there was a heavy marine layer hovering over Southern California. It was actually raining in the foothills and near the coast due to the heavy marine layer. However at the Maple Springs trailhead which is the start of the hike to bedford peak it was sunny, with looming clouds all around. Since it was late fall there was no water in the stream by the trailhead, however the surrounding mountains and hills seemed exceptionally green. Once you cross the stream area you will see a turn off to the left and head up the Silverado Motorway to the summit of Bedford Peak. This section of the trail is a steady up-hill climb the whole way so make sure to take your time, the good news is coming down it is a breeze.

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. We found that someone had installed a bench at the summit of Bedford Peak to sit on and enjoy the sweeping views. Sadly, while on Bedford Peak our the views we obscured due to the clouds, however the clouds made for some amazing pictures and views. 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 our last hike to Bedford Peak in 2010 as during that year we had an above average rainfall total.

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

Time to Complete Hike: 3 - 4.5 hours.


October 28, 2012 (This Post)

View Bedford Peak Trail Map in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love the clouds falling over the mountains. I frequently am in the Anza valley, which is just a few miles beyond Temecula. I often see the fog down toward the Cleveland national forest.


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