Distance: 12 miles round trip on firebreak, dirt road, and trail
Summit Elevation: 3880' (Hagador), 3403' (Mine 2 BM)
Elevation Gain: 3290'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 2.63
Round trip time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Recommended water: 144 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Foothill Parkway
Hagador Peak is an obscure peak just off North Main Divide Road in the Santa Ana Mountains. It is near Pleasants Peak. If you don't drive to it, the easiest way to reach it is from the east side of the Santa Anas. I started from the popular Skyline Drive trailhead on Foothill Parkway in Corona.
Instead of taking Skyline Drive, I opted for the ridge and firebreak at the mouth of Hagador Canyon. At the first bend in Skyline, I continued straight toward the Hagador Canyon Watershed. A rutted firebreak on the ridge is obvious across the field. I got started around 8:45 AM but the August sun was already bringing the heat. At the top of the first bump, I dropped a water cache for later exploration of the canyon. I continued up the ridge that separates Tin Mine Canyon to the NW and Hagador Canyon to the SE. The ridge is a series of short, sharp, dirt bumps, perfect for interval training. It was a good workout, but less than half way up, I was drenched in sweat. If I tilted my head down, a steady stream of sweat dripped from the visor of my hat. I woke up feeling a little lethargic and the heat made it worse. Eventually, I hit Main Divide Road and turned left for Hagador. This ridge saved many miles of winding around Skyline Drive. I estimate the ridge round trip to Hagador alone would be about 9.2 miles vs. 16 miles for Skyline. At the summit, there were many towers and a work crew doing some kind of maintenance. I didn't find a register or benchmark, but took some pictures and forced myself to eat what wasn't melted in my pack. I could not get to the last two towers because they were behind a barbed wire fence with security camera warnings. The presence of the work crew was also a deterrent.
I left Hagador Peak and returned the way I came. Just before the ridge turnoff, I took a detour to explore Mine 2 BM. I didn't know the name of it until I found an OC survey mark stamped "Mine II". The USGS and USFS topos show a benchmark here, but it wasn't named on their maps. Orange County probably named it based on proximity to Tin Mine Canyon. Most of the top was burned, I am guessing a controlled burn because it was contained to the summit. I made it down the ridge without mishap and collected my cache. At the bottom of the ridge I headed back into the canyon. There is a very nice trail with plenty of shade that goes up the canyon more than a mile before fading out in the creek bed. The creek was completely dry. With multiple crossings, the canyon would have been more fun if the water was flowing. The beauty of the canyon is marred by occasional graffiti on the rocks. At the end of trail, there were several easy ways to proceed, but I was down to my last bottle of water and not feeling it. I took a photosphere then headed out.
My turn around point in the canyon. More to explore.