4E03 - Espinosa Trail

full-limited Icon
4.9/5 (17 reviews)
Pine Valley, California (SanDiego County)
Last Updated: 12/17/2021

Trail Information


Espinosa Trail is a short, fun connector trail that forms an 18-mile loop in Cleveland National Forest. The trail travels along Espinosa Creek in the southern end of the Cleveland National Forest and is bordered by private land, Pine Creek Wilderness to the north and west, and Hauser Wilderness to the south. The trail runs between Los Pinos Road and Corte Madera Road and offers magnificent views of San Diego's own version of Half Dome, the immense Corte Madera Mountain at just over 4,600' of elevation. Corte Madera, Spanish for "to chop the wood," was a heavily logged area in the 18th century, providing much of the timber for the southern California missions. Approximately 4 miles south of the Espinosa Trailhead is Corral Canyon OHV Area, which offers up to 50 miles of OHV trails ranging from easy to very difficult. Along with this road, the 18-mile loop consists of the following additional roads and trails: 16S17 - Los Pinos Road 17S04 - Corral Canyon Road 4E03 - Corte Madera Road 17S06 - Skye Valley Road

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.9/5 (17)
User Avatar
inline-aa Icon
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/23/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This trail was an absolute blast. I went out with a friend in his Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It did well going down this trail until we got to obstacle 4. He decided it would be best if we turned back, but the cvt in the Outlander would not allow us to get back up the grade. So we pilled up some rocks and went down the obstacle with minimal issue. This trail was one of the most exciting I've been on in some time and the temps were significantly lower than anywhere else in the area. Highly recommended. Down is definitely easier than up, especially if you're not in a real offroad capable vehicle.
Visited: 06/04/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Took this in the opposite direction as listed here to complete the loop after having taken Corte Madera. Plenty of overgrowth, and generally a bit tight, but got up with a lifted TJ, a lifted 19 Rubicon, and a lifted Tacoma on 35's. Climbing the Obstacle at waypoint 4 took a couple of tries, but we got all 3 vehicles up without winching. The water before the rocks didn't make it any easier, and would probably be a bit easier going the other way.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 04/23/2023

This rating is not for the trail. Today on 4/23/23. If attempting to take the directions as stated from Trails Offroad through Pine Valley Via Los Piños Road, you cannot pass. After traveling los Piños road for about 1 mile, he will come across a permanent gate to private property. A nice gate like in a gated community. So I drove down to Coral Canyon to attempt this trail. I wanted to make it known that all of the gates are closed at Coral Canyon, and the only thing that you could do is the Sidewinder Trail. I would not recommend doing that trail without a spotter, and especially not without a built rig. If you’re not running large tires, definitely have skid plates, and he probably should not attempt this without quality rock sliders. There is a high potential for body damage and possible rolling if you don’t have good articulation in some parts. So don’t do this trail from the forward directions provided here. He will not be able to do it.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/09/2022

Solid trail for built rigs. Insanely scenic drive counter clockwise with a few difficult sections riding a 05 F150 2wd on 33s. 4x4 highly recommended!
Visited: 08/20/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

The one Obstacle is fairly easy to navigate. Sliders are a good idea. The rest of the trail past the one obstacle get narrow with lots of poison oak growing into and on the trail

From the Community

Start a free trial and get this level of detail on every trail guide
Start Free Trial