I am an avid hiker and am always researching new places to venture out in Orange County. Most of the great hikes around here are throughout Los Angeles or San Diego County which force me to take an entire day off. I frequently visit the Cleveland National Forest around the Silverado and Trabuco areas so I ventured off my normal path and ended up in Lake Elsinore to hike Los Pinos Peak which is a 4,500 peak that overlooks nearly all three counties here in Southern California.
Getting to the official trailhead is a little tricky and I know that people get lost trying to find it. Luckily, Los Pinos is not heavily trafficked and you park where the pavement ends just before the left turn which leads you into Blue Jay Campground.
To get to the peak, you hike up a wide fire road which leads you to a three way junction with blue pipe barriers. I chose to go straight up to the peak but if elevation gain is not your thing, continue to the right which also takes you to the summit but is less steep and a bit longer of a hike.
Once you’re at the summit, there is geological markers and a wood peak marker just off to the left of the trail. There is also a geocaching style box with notebooks to record your summit.