Sitton Pretty

Hike to Sitton Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains

Hike Sitton Peak Santa Ana mountains

Sitton Peak is a 3,273-foot summit in the Santa Ana Mountains. All in, a 10-mile (round-trip) hike gets you to a panoramic summit filled with hills galloping toward the Pacific. Start up Bear Canyon Trail from Ortega Highway, just across from San Juan Loop Trail. Views broaden over boulder-strewn ridges and the wide canyon as you hike south at a moderate incline before the final, somewhat punishing 0.33-mile push to the peak.

Sitton Peak Santa Ana Mountains

Grab a seat on one of the boulder outcroppings above the chaparral. As one of the highest summits on the south side of Ortega Highway, Sitton offers towering views of Riverside and Orange counties with an expanding vista across countless green peaks. On clear winter days Catalina Island is visible to the west.

Take I-5 to exit 82 in San Juan Capistrano and drive east on Ortega Hwy. (CA-74) for 19.4 miles to the trailhead parking area on the left for San Juan Loop Trail across from Ortega Oaks Candy Store (34040 Ortega Hwy., Lake Elsinore). Cross to the south side of the highway and begin up Bear Canyon Trail. After 1 mile, turn right to stay on Bear Canyon Trail. After another mile, you can stay right on Bear Canyon Trail or turn left up Bear Ridge Trail, a more scenic but slightly longer alternate route (1.5 miles vs. 1.2 miles) to the next junction called Four Corners (where five trails actually meet). Turn right and hike 1.6 miles to a turnoff for Sitton Peak, which comes in a saddle after a half-mile descent. Turn right up the single track to the summit. All junctions are well-marked. Adventure pass required and can be purchased at the candy store. Bottom photo by @thetacoslayers Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

  2. Can't Top This

    San Francisco’s Presidio was already a fantastic place to hang out for the afternoon, a beautiful site within the largest urban national park in the United States (the Golden Gate National Recreation Area). And the new Presidio Tunnel Tops is like a cherry on top. Tunnel Tops is just as it sounds: a park on top of tunnels! Presidio Parkway tunnels to be precise.

  3. You Know Kehoe?

    Hiking with your dog in a national park? Almost unheard of! But Point Reyes National Seashore has an easy and short hiking trail to a stunning beach that’s dog-friendly on its north side. Kehoe Beach is a beautiful place to hang out even if you don’t have a dog.

  4. Little Hike in the Big Woods

    Redwoods, river crossings, waterfalls, and wildflowers—the South Bay’s Portola Redwoods State Park packs a lot of nature’s best features. Enjoy them hiking this 2.5-mile loop.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Flavors of Fillmore

    Fill up on Fillmore! This picturesque city in the Santa Clara River Valley is an ideal day trip for finding good nature and delicious locally grown food. Explore it all via a 5-mile out-and-back walk or bike ride.

  2. Sponsored

    Sea It All This Spring!

    Go deeper on your next adventure! Monterey Bay Aquarium allows you to go Into the Deep. Be mesmerized by the flashy, iridescent, and adorable creatures in the ever-evolving, fully bilingual exhibit

  3. Peak a-’bu

    Summiting Sandstone Peak is a premier 6-mile (round-trip) classic adventure delivering a dramatic, ever-changing landscape and some of Southern California’s most cinematic views.

  4. Do it Yourself Walking Tour of Solvang

    Solvang has long been described as a “little slice of Denmark in Southern California." Experience the historic village on a 3-mile walk that explores the architecture, food, wine, and green space.