Eagle Loop (San Juan Capistrano Open Space)
- Location: San Juan Capistrano. From I-5, take the Ortega Highway (Highway 74) exit and go east for 0.4 miles (turn left if you’re coming from the north, right if from the south). Turn right on La Novia Ave and go 1.1 miles to Via Cerro Rebal. Turn left and park where available on Via Cerro Rebal.
- Agency: City of San Juan Capistrano
- Distance: 3.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 550 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: October – June
- Dogs: Allowed on leash
- Cell phone reception: Good
- Restrooms: None
- Water: None
- Camping: None
- More information: Trip description here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 4
Like the neighboring La Ronda and Las Ramblas loops (both of which it overlaps), this hike utilizes San Juan Capistrano’s extensive network of trails (and a few city streets) to offer a conveniently located workout with some good ocean and mountain views. The loop is named for a local Eagle Scout who contributed a wood-carved map at the trail head.
By starting on the corner of La Novia and Cerro Rebal and hiking counter-clockwise, you get most of the ascent on pavement out of the way at the beginning of the trip. Head uphill on Cerro Rebal for 1/3 of a mile, gaining almost 200 feet and then turn left on the Cerro Rebal Trail. Your ascent continues, taking in panoramic views of San Juan Capistrano (note the characteristic domes of the mission). Higher up, the vistas extend inland to Old Saddleback.
After passing an underground reservoir you reach a junction (1.1 miles from the start) with the trail to Patriot Point, an easy side-trip if you have time. To continue with the Eagle Loop, bear left and follow an east-facing ridge to another junction with Las Ramblas Trail. Bear left and follow the trail east along a rolling ridge, passing a junction with the South Las Mares Trail.
At the next junction (1.8 miles from the start), turn left on the Entrada Trail. (The Prima Deshecha trail continues east while the North Las Mares Trail on the right heads downhill toward a residential neighborhood). The Entrada Trail skirts the side of a ridge before reaching a Y-junction with a service road. Bear right and follow the Entrada Trail downhill to a junction (2.7 miles). Turn left to stay on the Entrada Trail which soon reaches Via Entrada. Follow Via Entrada downhill to La Novia, turn left and retrace your steps back to your starting point.
Photo gallery (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)
Text and photography copyright 2017 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.