Sitton Peak is easy, fun and blissful

sitton peak, cleveland national forest, ortega mountain, trail running, hiking, easy hike, easy trail run, bear canyon trail, mt. san gorgonio, mt. san jacinto, santiago peak, morning, morning hike, morning run, blue sky,

Yesterday with a couple of hiking/trail running friends, I ventured out to Ortega mountain. Destination: Sitton Peak in Cleveland National Forest! As I am getting into trail running without any reservation as part of injury recovery process (easy on my joints) and benefits from running uphills (interval uphill run), I took my time hiking and trail running up Bear Canyon Trail to Sitton Peak.

lake elsinore, view of mt. san jacinto, morning, on my way to the trailhead for a trail running,

Last time when I hiked around Santiago Peak in Ortega mountain was a couple of days shy of 1 year ago. Then, I hiked part of San Juan Trail with a good friend of mine to Blue Jay Campground. It was my first taste of the lower elevation hikes as my hikes had been strenuous ones in and around Baldy, San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountains with elevation gains of 4,000 plus feet.

So, it was about time. It was very nice seeing my friend again. And this time another good friend of mine, also hiker and trail runner, joined us and introduced me to Sitton Peak via Bear Canyon Trail.


If you are coming from the Orange Country, it’s likely that you would be taking Ortega Freeway S-74 eastbound to get to the trailhead.

However, if you’re coming from Los Angeles and other cities, such as Corona, or even Riverside, it is very likely to take I-15 or I-215 southbound and then get on S-74 westbound via Lake Elsinore.


Sitton peak, sitton peak via Bear Canyon Trail, Cleveland National Forest, Gaia GPS,

This track was created with Gaia GPS.

  • Distance: 9.44 miles (out and back from the trailhead to the peak)
  • Moving time: 2 hours and 44 minutes
  • Ascent: 2,113 feet

bear canyon trailhead, cleveland national forest, national forest, ortega mountain, ortega freeway, friends, good company, hiking buddies, hiking friends, heading to sitton peak, morning, morning hike, morning trail run, trail running,

Its trailhead is located on the opposite side of the Ortega Highway, nearby Ortega Oaks Candy Store and Goods, aka the candy store, to hikers. We parked our vehicles in San Juan Loop Trailhead parking lot across the two-lane freeway from the candy store.

altra lone peak 2.5, altra, altra trail running shoes, trail running shoes, very comfortable, big toe box,

I put on my new Altra Lone Peak 2.5 trail running shoes to try out. I was quite thrilled about this opportunity of combining my passion for running and appreciation for nature.

Sitton peak, sitton peak sign, the peak, sitton peak truck trail, ortega mountain, near santiago, near lake elsinore elevation of 3273 feet

Sitton Peak is only 3,273 feet high. And our hike/trail run had only 2,117 feet elevation gain, so naturally it is considered a beginner’s and semi-intermediate hike.

Verduto Truck trail, wide, open, no shade, uphill, dirt, dirt trail, ortega mountain, near Bear Canyon Trail, near Sitton Peak Truck Trail, getting close to Sitton Peak,

Bear Canyon Trail intersects with a few other trails along the way, and it offers many flat and wide open portions, which is just great for trail running. After some shaded parts of the mountain, we came to a wide open junction, which is where the trail meets Verdugo Truck Trail. From this point on, it is a bit of downhill, however, it also soon intersects with Sitton Peak Truck Trail.

When Sitton Canyon Trail reaches the elevation of about 2,820 feet, it veers off to the left. Instead of continuing on it, we got off the trail and started up the half-mile distance of steep uphill incline right before the arrival at the peak. It isn’t difficult but definitely demands full attention as far as one’s footing goes because it is quite slippery. Due to the erosion with sands and tiny stones, my Lone Peak didn’t have much of benefits from its traction.

ocean view, beyond Sitton Peak, ortega mountain, view from Sitton Peak, Cleveland National Forest, national forest, trail running, hiking, trail run, hike, morning,

The peak offers a 360-degree view of the surroundings, including as far as Mt. San Gorgonio, Mt. San Jacinto, and the Pacific Ocean and even Catalina Island, and as close as Santiago Peak, which is on the other side of the Ortega Freeway.

view of Santiago Peak, Ortega mountain, Cleveland National Forest, national forest, ocean view, Catalina Island, hiking, trail running, trail run, hike, dirt trail,

Speaking of Santiago Peak, hiking up Los Pinos Trail to the peak still remains on my bucket list.

Sitton peak, sitton peak register, ortega mountain, Cleveland National Forest, sign in, morning, trail running, hiking,

After taking a quick snack-munching and electrolyte infused water drinking break, I pulled out my camera to take some landscape photos. Also, I didn’t forget to take a quick shot of the geodetic survey marker at Sitton Peak.

Altra lone peak 2.5, altra, altra trail running shoes, trail running shoes, Cleveland National Forest, national forest, trail running, hiking, Geodetic Survey Marker


And after a few obligatory selfies, we hurried back down the trail, and this time it was mostly trail running. I felt that my new trail running shoes were great most of the time. However, its naturally bigger toe box may have given more room for my feet to stay just snug. I may have to put on an extra pair of socks.


  • Water
  • GPS
  • Layers
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen

Have you hiked or trail run to Sitton Peak? How was it? Have you explored other trails in the area? What is the most exciting thing about Sitton Peak?

Thank you for reading.

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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

18 responses to “Sitton Peak is easy, fun and blissful”

  1. Les Petits Pas de Juls says :

    Niiiiice! Not into trail running myself but love the advice and locations for great hikes. National parks in the US are a fabulous place to enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jazzytower says :

    Ok, what’s SUPing & peak bagging? Besides the landscapes, what is the most interesting thing you ever came across in nature? Sounds like you spend a lot of time outdoors. Great photos, by the way:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • InherentlyAdventurous says :

      SUPing is a fancy word for Stand Up Paddleboarding. I am sure you’ve seen it. I just love paddling out into the ocean. (Of course, you can do it in a lake, too.)

      Peak bagging is also a fancy word in hiking communities for summiting peaks. Literally you are ‘bagging’ peaks because they’re like prizes. There once was a local hiking group called Peakbaggers too here in SoCal (Southern California) but now is dismantled. It represents strong and hardcore hikers always driven by summiting as many peaks as they desire. Just like pakbaggers calls those peaks with elevation of 14,000 feet and above ’14ers’. Colorado has the most. California is next but has the highest 14er in the contiguous US – Mt. Whitney. I’ve done it.

      I have always taken photos while hiking but they were sort of complimentary (you know, making your Facebook friends jealous), until toward the end of last year when I decided to follow my heart and started focusing on photography wholeheartedly while hiking. I now proudly called myself a landscape and adventure photographer because just any landscape doesn’t satisfy me anymore. It has to be in the wilderness, and my hikes are mostly very very strenuous and take long hours (5-10 hours with minimum 15 miles and between 5,000 and 7000 feet elevation gains). But once again, it is more of photography focused now, so if a hike doesn’t offer me any great photography opportunities, I don’t do it any more. Also the opposite is the same. I recently went for a spring wildflower hike, and it was a very easy hike but the whole point was to capture awesome wildflower photos. Please, check out my blog post if you are into wildflowers ( Sorry about the confusion, but is my current blog, and the other one is the old one that I migrated from. Just in case you didn’t know.

      I just love being in nature, which mostly consists of hiking, backpacking (also check out the Lost Coast Trail Backpacking post if you like backpacking on my blog) and camping. Nature is where I am happiest. So, I just take advantage of it by taking photos. 🙂

      Thank you for checking out the Sitton Peak post. I appreciate that a lot. 🙂 If you like my stuff, subscribe to You will receive emails for other adventures. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • jazzytower says :

        Thanks for taking the time to explain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • InherentlyAdventurous says :

        You’re welcome. Hope you have a great rest of the day.


      • jazzytower says :

        The wildflower hunt sounds amazing. I can relate to your immersion in photography. I’ve annoyed plenty of my friends with this. Will definitely check out that link

        Liked by 1 person

      • InherentlyAdventurous says :

        I really understand what you mean. So, what happened before with me is usually, I hiked FASTER than anyone, so that I can hike ahead of anyone and take photos, including my friends. (instead of taking photos of them from behind, right?) Then, once I switched, I realized that I take a lot of time to look for shots that I want, and I usually get behind. I mean, way behind. LOL So, if it is a ‘strenuous’ hike, which I did past Sunday, and I knew I would spend time taking photos till I reached the summit and at the summit, I decided to go by myself. LOL It’s a lot easier, and when I am done, I can just ‘trail run’ down the trail. 🙂

        Hope you enjoy both photos and the post itself when you check it out. I think it came out not bad. 🙂


      • jazzytower says :

        LoL, being on the hunt for that photo will slow you down. It’s a different perspective. I too find that at times being on my own is better. Especially when I’m heading to the Botanic Gardens.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. blackmutts says :

    So much beautiful blue in your pictures! As much as I love living in New York (basically the only place in the states where you can actually walk wherever you need to go or rely on public transportation), I love nature, so logging and seeing shots like this reminds me of how badly I need to schedule a vacation!

    Liked by 1 person

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