Trailhead: 11893-, 12247 Black Star Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676
Length: 13.1 miles point to point
Elevation Gain: 2750 ft.
Difficulty: Advanced for the length of the hike
Total time: 6 hrs
Parking: Park at Skyline and arrange for a shuttle (a generous friend, a Lyft, Santa on his way to deliver presents…)
Last year I joined Lazy Ass Hiking on their annual Santa Hat hike which starts at Black Star Canyon in Silverado and ends in Corona. After completing the trek which is all on fire road, I said to myself “Welp, that’s one I never need to do again.”
Unfortunately my roommate who hadn’t done it before didn’t agree with me and coerced me into doing it again this year despite my reassurances to her that 13.1 miles of fire road is even worse than it sounds.
Annnnyway, to do this hike you’re going to want to park at the Skyline trail head in Corona at Foothill and Trudy way and then get a shuttle to take you to the trail head which is about 25 min away. You can probably get a Lyft there, or do what Lazy Ass Hiking does, and hire a pre-school van to drive you to the start.
From the trail head you’ll start walking down the fire road and try not to get shot by owners who are super mad that hikers dare walk past their property. This aggression is traditional for Black Star Canyon, as it’s rumored to be haunted by a land owner who was shot by another land owner due to grazing rights (they took grazing seriously in the 1800s). It’s also said to be haunted by Spanish conquistadors, and Native Americans.
I mean, if you’re going to be haunted at least have some diversity, amiright?
Despite the possible murder by ghost or non-ghost, this is by far the most enjoyable part of the trail, as there are things to look at besides shrubs. As you continue along the fire road, you’ll come to the turn off for Black Star Falls, a.k.a. Instagram’s favorite photo op for girls in bikinis at waterfalls.
Unless you want to go on an 8 mile hike to the falls and not end up in Corona, you’ll go to the left and continue up the fire trail for all eternity.
From this point you will have a fairly gentle climb along the fire road while you desperately look for anything interesting. At times you’ll see the ocean, Catalina and Orange County in the vistas behind you, but for the most part it’s shrub, grass, and some mildly interesting rock. Your next landmark will be the sign for the Mariposa Reserve
Through this little dip, you’ll see some different landscape, which will be a welcome reprieve. I also suggest that you take some time to explore some of the side trails for a little more interesting scenery. In fact, just off to the right, fairly quickly after this sign, we saw a trail that lead do some Native American grinding stones:
This was by far the coolest part of the hike.
After you get to the end of the preserve, you will begin your final 800 foot ascent up to Beek’s Place, former weekend home of Joseph Beek who developed much of Newport.
You’ll also get a pretty decent view of the Doppler tower by Beeks, which you should continually point out to your fellow hikers by going “Hey, it’s the Doppler!” They won’t get annoyed by that at all and they’ll think it’s super funny.
Eventually you’ll end up at the ruins of the old home. From here you can climb the .5 miles to the Doppler. I’ve seen the Doppler several times in my life, so on this trip I was like “Nah, I’m good, Bro.”
From here, continue down the fire trail to Skyline, and down the trail back to your car.
And there you have it. You can brag to everyone that you walked from Silverado to Corona, and declare that you never have to to it again (until your roommate makes you do it next year).