I hadn’t been out to Caspers Park in over a decade when we decided to take a quick day trip out on the Oso Loop. We were aiming for 9 miles but ended up hiking over 12.5.

The ideal time to visit is in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming, we went in December. The landscape was a bit barren but still extremely beautiful. The East Ridge Trail leads up hill to the Oso Trail. When you get near the tallest peak there is a picnic table with a shaded gazebo. This is a great spot to have a snack for lunch. If you turn around at this point and head back the way you came you’ll log around 8-9 miles.

We opted to continue up the Oso Trail all the way over the hill and down to the San Juan Creek Trail. The San Juan Creek Trail follows the path of San Juan Creek which only runs at this point when there is a substantial or extended rain from what I understand. You have the option of following San Juan Creek along the 74 highway back to Caspers Park or veering off onto the Juaneno Trail.

We took the Juaneno Trail. This was by far and away my favorite section of the hike. The Juaneno Trail is a single track that cuts through a very scenic section covered with Sage and Oak. I highly recommend taking the Juaneno Trail if you have the time and energy.

Start Location: Off highway 74 “Ortega Highway” > Caspers Wilderness Park

Trail Route: Park at the bathrooms across from the East Ridge Trailhead > Turn Right onto Oso Trail > Turn Right on San Juan Creek Trail > Turn right onto Juaneno Trail

Distance: 12.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: approx 1,000ft

Time: 4:30 (Could easily take 5-6 with breaks)

Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous (Due to length)

Kid/Family Friendly: The trails at Caspers Wilderness Park are generally kid safe, although a long loop like this is generally way too much for little ones.

Warnings: MOUNTAIN LION HABITAT, DON’T LET CHILDREN RUN TOO FAR

Resources: