A gnarly downhill that drops you near Lake Elsinore, this trail barely has a single rock on the entire route, but it's extremely difficult because it's steep, rutted, and somehow very loose.
From Main Divide Rd - Lower Holy Jim to Trabuco
, the singletrack drops 2,500 feet in 4.0 miles. By comparison, this is the same elevation that the San Juan Trail loses in three times that length.
There was only minor overgrowth of manzanita and scrub bushes and the route was clear almost the whole way down. Also, the trail surface is similar to the eroding coarse-grained sandstone like on the lower section of the San Juan Trail. On a trail this steep, that means ruts and plenty of them. Some of the ruts are essentially chasms that will swallow you.
The trail follows the narrow spine between two canyons (Horsethief Canyon to the north and Rice Canyon to the south). This doesn’t allow for many switchbacks (only two at the very bottom) but it does make for a sketchy descent that is scary to even walk in some spots due to the loose, scree-type trail surface. The first mile is the steepest as it loses 1,000 feet. Views from this trail high above Lake Elsinore are extraordinary!
The most direct way to get to the top of this trail is to follow the Main Divide Rd - Lower Holy Jim to Trabuco
about 2.0 miles north from the intersection of the Trabuco Canyon Trail
. Look for wide, unmarked, start of the East Horesthief Trail where the Main Divide Rd - Lower Holy Jim to Trabuco
makes a sharp left. If you reach the West Horsethief Trail #6W11
, you've gone too far.