Sitton Peak: Ocean Views on a Sunday Afternoon

A great starter hike with ocean views and a tough final quarter mile.

Sitton Peak is located in the Cleveland National Forest between San Juan Capistrano and Lake Elsinore. This 9-mile path passes through a series of junctions joining other trails. Eventually, it ends in a really steep last quarter mile to a summit with fantastic views of the ocean.

Bec and I decided to do this as a Sunday afternoon hike. Initially, we took the wrong trail from the trailhead across the street from where we parked. In a comedy of errors, I went ahead of Bec once we realized we had gone the wrong way. I had planned to visit the restroom and be back at the trailhead just as she arrived.

I missed her and she and I proceeded to search for each other for 20 minutes. I started freaking out a bit and when I finally found Bec there were some angry tears involved. Lesson learned: Stay with your woman 🙂

I missed her and she and I proceeded to search for each other for 20 minutes. I started freaking out a bit and when I finally found Bec there were some angry tears involved. Lesson learned: Stay with your woman.

Once we finally got on the right trail it was pretty warm, but easy hiking. As we climbed up and away from the highway, we could see the peak to our right in the distance. The trail crests a ridge near the peak, then loses elevation going toward the peak.

The last 1/4 mile, to Bec’s disappointment, was very steep. I mean VERY STEEP. After some agony on that last leg, the trail topped out at 3,200′ with panoramic views of the ocean. It’s a great easy hike as long as you are ready for that steep finish.

Sitton Peak Quick Facts

  • Adventure Pass required

  • Dogs allowed

  • Allow 5 hours

  • Moderate

  • Elevation 3,273′

  • 2,200′ of elevation gain

  • 9 miles out and back

Trail Map


Download GPX File

Elevation Profile

San Juan Loop Trailhead

Park at the San Juan Loop Trailhead. Walk across the street to the Bear Canyon Trailhead, just to the right of the candy store.

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