4E03 - Espinosa Trail

Pine Valley, California (SanDiego County)

Last Updated: 12/17/2021
4.8 / 5 ( 4 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3.22 miles
Highest Elevation: 3973 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Pine Valley
Nearest Town w/ Services: Pine Valley
Official Road Name: 4E03
Management Agency: Cleveland National Forest
District: Descanso Ranger District


Highlight: 4E03 - Espinosa Trail
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


Route Information

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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
This is the intersection of Los Pinos Road and Espinosa Trail. The road heading north is a Private Road open only to foot traffic. There is a hiking trail further up the road, which leads to the top of Corte Madera Mountain. The trail heading west is Espinosa Trail. There is a parking area to the right (east side of the junction) with another hiking trail. A placard at the parking lot indicates that the area is a nesting habitat for birds of prey.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Pine Valley, California

From Four Corners in Corral Canyon OHV Area, head north on Los Pinos Road (16S17). At the intersection of Los Pinos Road and Los Pinos Mountain Lookout Tower, turn left/west through the gate. Follow the road until reaching the trailhead of Espinosa Trail (4.1 miles from Four Corners).



Land Use Issues

Trail Reviews (11)

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Hi, I drive a stock (with exception of All-terrain tires) Range Rover L322, and I'm new to off-roading. Do you think my car has enough ground clearance for this trail? Is it too hard for a beginner?
–Ludovico Verducci (04/16/2019)
–Marc Nitz (04/22/2019)

Writer Information

Marc Nitz

Mapping Crew - California

Marc Nitz is a southern California native who loves exploring the outdoors. This is in large part due to his parents' love of summer road trips. Each summer the Nitz clan would venture out for at least one week driving and camping to assorted U.S. destinations west of the Rocky Mountains. Marc bought his first 4x4 at 17 years old and began seeking out more places off the beaten path. Now 30 years later, Marc explores the countryside with a family of his own. Some of Marc's favorite trails include California's Titus Canyon Road and the Pleasant Canyon Loop Trail, Colorado's Alpine Loop, and Utah's White Rim Trail. Most of all, Marc enjoys meeting fellow off-roaders and he is affiliated with a few 4X4 clubs in Southern California that has allowed him to do just that.
For individual use only, not to be shared.