Roller Coaster Ridge
This is a great trail that borders San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, with beautiful views and some great hills to hike up. This is not for beginners, but if you’ve been hiking for a while, you should be fine.
I have seen deer and a bobcat on these trails. You’ve got beautiful 360 degree views of the mountains and Pacific ocean, with spectacular sunsets. The trails are (as the name implies) hilly, but we hike on wide, well groomed fire roads.
DEPARTURE TIME: 6:00 PM. Please show up 5-10 minutes early for introductions.
ABOUT THIS HIKE: This is a dirt trail in open space with what we call roller coaster hills. We will do the inclines at the beginning of the hike and head up to the flag. We will turn around at the flag and head back, mostly downhill. If you have not been hiking on a regular basis, this may be a tough hike due to the frequency and steepness of the hills. No beginners please.
DISTANCE: Approximately 4.5 miles at medium pace. Plan on 1.5 hours.
NOTES: Choose hiking shoes or shoes with a good tread. Bring water and a flashlight.
DIRECTIONS: From the 5 South exit at Camino Estrella and turn left at the light. This will turn into Camino de Estrella and you will drive about 3 miles to the very end of Camino de Los Mares (map (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Portico+del+Norte+at+Camino+de+Los+Mares,+San+Clemente,+CA&sll=33.477863,-117.626882&sspn=0.006255,0.006276&gl=us&ie=UTF8&ll=33.477523,-117.632611&spn=0.012958,0.020728&t=h&z=16)). There are plenty of retail establishments along the right side of Camino de Los Mares that have restroom facilities.
PARKING: There is no parking on the street at the end of Camino de Los Mares. Park on the last cross street about a hundred yards from the trailhead.
Trip information courtesy of SoCal Hiker (http://socalhiker.net/2010/04/hiking-the-roller-coast-ridge/), your local trail guide.