Sitton Peak Trail

On Sitton Peak

At 3,273 feet above sea level, Sitton Peak has commanding 360 degree views of the Cleveland National Forest. On clear days, you can see the ocean and  even Catalina Island. The elevation gain and distance makes this a good intermediate level hike.

Trail Details
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 2,150 ft
Dogs: OK
When to go: Fall through Spring
The first section of the trail is single track, but much of the trail follows double track fire roads, all well maintained and marked. Even so,  bring a map. There are a couple of junctions and it’s helpful to know which way to turn.

As you get closer to Sitton Peak, keep an eye out for the trail marker (it will be on your right). The “trail” to the top is not maintained and often overgrown. If you’re not paying attention, you could pass it by. The last quarter mile requires a little scrambling and bushwacking to reach the summit. No special equipment required, but you might want long pants to protect your legs from scratches.

The summit makes a great place to break for a snack or lunch and enjoy the views. When it’s clear, you can see the Pacific Ocean. On the return trip, take the ridge trail option. It adds a little extra mileage, but gives you some different scenery to enjoy and takes you back to the same junction with the Morgan Trail.

There is no water along the trail, so bring plenty for the round trip. This area gets pretty hot in the summer months. It’s still do-able, but you’ll enjoy the fall through spring season best. If possible, hike this on a clear day so you can really appreciate the views.

There is ample parking in a lot across Ortega Highway from the Candy Store. You’ll need a National Forest Adventure Pass, which can also be purchased at the Candy Store. If you do more than six hikes in National Forest a year, it’s worth buying the annual pass.

Photo Gallery

Click any image for a larger version, and to browse through all of the photos.

Additional Resources


  1. says

    Great website! I liked your Sitton Peak review. We hiked it last weekend and it was a real fun hike. I posted some pixs on our site.

  2. says

    Thanks, Frank! I just checked out your site. Great pics. Sounds like you hiked it on a really clear day if you could see San Clemente Island!

    I’m thinking that with all the rain we’ve been having, this would be a good time to hike Sitton Peak again.

  3. Pamela says

    I just came upon your site as I’m searching for trails in the Cleveland National Forest area. We live in Sycamore Creek just off the 15 south of Corona (on the other side of the 15 from Lee Lake – Indian Truck Trail exit). Is it possible to hike to Santiago Peak from this area? Have you done this hike? Any info would be helpful.
    Your site is helpful; particularly the maps and visuals of the area. The contour maps and elevations have helped me identify the peaks I see from my neighborhood. After relocating from the relative flat land of the Upper Midwest, it’s fun to explore the immediate surroundings.
    Happy hiking!

  4. says

    Hi Pamela! Thanks for stopping by the site!

    I haven’t hiked up Santiago from the east, but it technically is possible. Both Bedford Motorway and Indian Truck Trail roads become fire roads that climb all the way to the Main Divide road, which then leads to Santiago and other peaks in the range. As for trails, I’m pretty sure they are there, but can’t vouch for how well maintained they are. I would suggest calling the ranger at the Forest Service and asking if they have any info.

    If you do find out about a trail from “your” side of the mountain, let me know! I’ll add it to my hiking wish list.

  5. Vikram Reddy says

    A newbie to hiking. Want to take my niece, nephew and son on a hike up to to Sitton Peak in mid July. Any advice would be appreciated? Will it be too hot? How long will it take and what is the earliest possible start.


  6. says

    Vikram, it will likely be hot and dry in July. If you go, take plenty of water and start early. There is no limit to how early, but I would plan for 6am or so.

  7. John Malloy says

    Did this hike once in January and again 2 weeks ago. Cool weather is the way to go as this trail is exposed to the sun about 1/2 the time and the last scramble to the top can be a bit much in hot weather. Bring at least 3 liters of water (none available on the trail). Don’t miss the well pump in the back parking lot, very refreshing after a long hike.

  8. Mike says

    Very informative site. Keep up the good work. I’m pretty new to hiking but I’ve recently caught the bug. Where do I find maps the same as the one you linked above “Sitton Peak trail topo with elevation profile”? I’d like to have a similar map for all of my planned routes.

  9. Tracy says

    My Darling and I attempted this in July (he’d done it before, that was my first attempt). I made it 2 miles before I was dying of hunger and heat. We started after first service at church in Eastvale, so about 10a and I hadn’t carbed up at all. Talk about ridiculous!

    We did this yesterday (November). It was chilly, but the coats came off at about mile 1. With pancake deliciousness to carb up, and adequate water, we did this in 4 hours (as you said), and spent almost an hour at the top, enjoying a snack and the scenery. It was vastly beautiful, and much more pleasant than in July with the heat.

    Beside the heat, the major difference was the color – there was a lot more of it during the summer. Still quite lovely! Even with how overcast it was yesterday (it sprinkled on us here and there), we were still able to see the ocean.

    Great review!

  10. says

    Thanks for the feedback, Tracy. Glad you made it up there an enjoyed the view. It does get hot in the summer, which is why I personally consider this more of a fall-through-spring kind of hike. For a great contrast with the fall, try it again in the spring when things are really green!

  11. Sherri says

    Hi Jeff, I have a hike to Sitton Peak planned for November, but I am a bit concerned about the final scramble to the top. My concern is coming back down that portion as I have never scrambled and I don’t know what to expect. How do you navigate the way down? I guess I am looking for a bit of technical advice since I don’t know anyone to ask. I am confident the rest of the hike wont pose a problem. I have been hiking regularly for 7 months and have been on a few 9 mile hikes, including all the more strenuous hills I.e. Dreaded, Mathis, BFI, etc. and can keep a good pace. Ay advice would be greatly appreciated.

  12. says

    @Sherri, the scramble up the last bit to Sitton Peak is not that bad. There is nothing technical about it. It’s just steep and you have to pick your way through the scrub. Take your time and you’ll be fine. A trekking pole might come in handy here, although with the scrub it might also be a pain. The main point is that it’s not just “hiking” to the top. You have to slow down and just use a little extra caution. No bouldering or climbing required.

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