Connecting South Orange County with Lake Elsinore and Riverside County, this is a major artery for commuters and also holds a very historic past which dates back to the Acjachemen People who called this area home and also prized the local resources like the creeks and natural hot springs that are now located within Caspers Wilderness Park near the fire station. While traveling on Ortega Highway, about half way you will drive across a narrow bridge known as San Juan Creek Bridge and is a beautiful arch bridge built in 1929. This road requires extra attention so DO NOT use your cell phone or any other devices which would cause you to lose attention, this road has claimed many lives. Also very important is to please use turnouts whenever possible if you have traffic behind you, be considerate of other drivers and motorcyclists.
Some great stops along this route include waterfalls, creeks, Caspers Wilderness Park, a famous biker bar, and a very scenic lunch spot. You can also opt to take North Main Divide Road which is mostly paved and will take you in a loop passing a great campsite area and an optional dirt road to the top of Santiago Peak but requires high clearance and high knowledge of driving, the loop will take you back down to Ortega Highway. If you go down South Main Divide Road, you will encounter breathtaking views of Lake Elsinore and drive through beautiful forested areas within Cleveland National Forest and San Mateo Wilderness. This road turns into a single lane paved road so please drive slowly and pay attention. 16 miles into this road is a hike to Tenaja Falls which usually flows after a good rain season. If you keep driving along South Main Divide Road, it will eventually take you into a town called Tenaja and is comprised of large ranch houses, you can drive through the town and take Grand Ave. back past Lake Elsinore and back up Ortega Highway, on your way back, stop at Lookout Roadhouse for lunch.
For more up to date info and notices, visit Ortega Highway online