Bell View Trail to Flag Summit: OC’s Scenic Hike to a Flag

Jun 27, 2021

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3.2 Miles


~2.5 Hrs



Best Time to Visit

Oct – Early June

Elevation Gain

1,167 Ft

Want to take awesome pictures with an American flag and see panoramic views as far as the ocean? I have a special treat for you!

The Bell View Trail to Flag Summit is a moderately difficult 3.2-mile roundtrip hike located in Trabuco Canyon within the Santa Ana Mountains. Most of the trail consists of a sunny dirt road with a decent elevation gain of 1167. Dogs are allowed.

Grab plenty of water for this hike. Now, let’s get started!

Map of Bell View Trail to Flag Summit

Directions & Parking

For directions on your Google Maps, click here.

The trailhead is on Robinson Ranch Rd, near Trabuco Canyon and Rancho Santa Margarita. There is no parking lot, but there’s plenty of parking along the street.

The Adventure

The hike begins in a tiny green park on the side of the road. Parking on the street is allowed. You’ll see two trailheads so make sure to take the one on the left.

The majority of the hike will consist of a dirt road but don’t underestimate this road as it can get pretty steep in some sections as you get closer to Flag Summit.

There are tons of cacti and succulents along the trail. Definitely keep an eye out for some unique-looking plants and insects.

I’ve yet to see any like the ones here at Trabuco Canyon. We spotted giant red beetles and bright purple flowers to name a few! (More on those flowers later).

After the two big “switchbacks” you’ll come to a road split. You can head either left or right, but I highly recommend taking a right because this section of the trail becomes a single track with a bit more shade.

You can take the route to your left on your way back from the summit. (Need help? Check out our Map!)

The single track is denser with vegetation. Hence why it’s a more interesting route.

The single track comes to an abrupt end by merging with the dirt road from the first section of the hike.

You should be able to clearly see the flag from this point. 

Almost there, just one last stretch!

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One last aerial shot of the summit. Look at that beautiful golden sunset.

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This is a great hike if you’re looking for something a little more patriotic around Independence Day!

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Look Out for These Plants

California Thistle

These gorgeous plants are native to the Santa Monica and the Santa Ana Mountains and are only found in California. They can grow up to 3 meters and show off a vibrant ball of pink white or purple flowers.

They blossom from April to August, so keep an eye out if you find yourself on the trail during those months!

Restaurant Spotlight

Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse

Stop on by Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse for a delicious American steak dinner. They’ve been open since 1982. However, the business was originally started in 1968 as a snack bar for the campers from O’Neill Regional Park. It’s only minutes away from the trail! (Temporarily closed until August 2021)

Hello, There!

We’re Monica and Phillip. Just like you, we share a passion for the outdoors and our beautiful state of California. After many years of exploring amazing and hidden places, we thought we’d share them with you! We hope this blog shows you tons of new CA adventures!