CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CALIFORNIA
Activity: Day Hike
Distance: 2.5 miles, 741 feet elevation change, 90 mins, rated Moderate
Addition Note: I added the Bell View Trail Peak also known as Small Peak to the hike via an additional trail, not quite doubling all of these figures.
When you are out hitting the trails, surrounded by mountains and rolling hills, blue skies, and warm days, immersed into nature you just want to break out into song. The Eagles were pretty profound in their 70s hit song, Peaceful Easy Feeling and that is the emotion that one attains akin with nature. That is pretty much what this blog is all about, pursuing balance through adventure. We are seeking to offset an otherwise almost chaotic modern life, as we are pulled in oh so many different directions at once. We long for the adventure of profound experiences in nature, hoping to find some of that harmony, serenity, and a Peaceful Easy Feeling. The kind of feeling that immersion in nature brings. A little dust on the hiking boots, some fresh air in the lungs, stretch the legs, and open your soul to the day.
Bell View Trail Loop in the Cleveland National Forest, near Trabuco Canyon, is right on the edge of Rancho Santa Margarita. It is a quick climb right away and it will get your heart pumping as it has some roller coaster aspects to it. It is a bit of a butt kicker, so this probably shouldn’t be your first rodeo, but otherwise it is a great hike with views of Orange County, rolling hills and the mountains in the backdrop.
After I finished the trek, that is pictured on the map provided, I had a yearning for more. I could see the flag up on the hill so I set my sights on that. I just about did a whole other hike known as Bell View Trail to Flag Summit, but I took some detour trails I discovered so my route didn’t exactly follow that trail either. Fun stuff to be sure.
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Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure