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Corral Canyon OHV Area: Cleveland National Forest Guide

Most long-time outdoor enthusiasts in California are familiar with the Cleveland National Forest because it has a lot to offer. Plus, being a national forest, it’s well-managed and funded to ensure it’s well-maintained and safe. For those who love off-roading, the forest has a designated Corral Canyon OHV trail for you to enjoy.

So what does the Corral Canyon OHV trail have to offer? The 51-mile trail and road are perfect for novice and experienced riders. It comes with different elevations; thus, multiple difficulty levels. Even better, you’ll find markers indicating the difficulty level and what you can use on the trail.

Let’s talk more about the most popular trails in the area to determine which one is most suitable for your skill level and adventure. We’ll also learn about some important things to consider before you head out to the trail.

Muddy Off-Road Vehicle Tire

Cleveland National Forest Trails: Things to Keep in Mind

Before we learn more about the specific OHV trail in the National Forest, let’s first understand some pieces of essential information. This way, when you arrive at the area, you won’t feel lost or, worst, waste your time because they’ll send you home or won’t let you enter.

Rules and Regulations

As one of the national forests in the country, there are strict rules and regulations that you need to follow. These won’t only ensure your safety and the safety of those doing similar and other activities, but also the forest’s and any wildlife present. Some of the things you need to comply with are as follows:

1. Have an OHV License Plate or Sticker

Your OHV must have a California DMV-issued sticker that will serve as your license plate. It’s a flexible, metal, self-adhesive plate with a distinctive number configuration. The current license plate design includes the following:

  • Top Stripe: Color is not standard since it depends on the year of expiration. However, the month and year are printed using black, while the background is white.
  • Center Stripe: Color white with the plate number printed in black.
  • Bottom Stripe: Comes in either green or red, indicating your OHV license plate’s type.
The Two Types

From the different bottom stripes, there are two that would be issued to you:

  • Corral Canyon OHV (Green Sticker): This sticker signifies that you can drive your OHV all year round on public lands.
  • Corral Canyon OHV (Red Sticker): DMV issues this sticker to those who own 2003 to 2021 ATV units that didn’t meet California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) emission standards. You can only use vehicles with this sticker plate from October 1 to April 20.
Proper Plate Placement

Depending on your vehicle, you must place the sticker on the designated location, namely:

  • ATV: The frame’s left, rear quadrant; visible for outside inspection
  • Motorcycles: Left fork leg; placed horizontally or vertically, but must be visible from the left side
  • Sand Rail or Rail Type Buggies: Metal frame’s left quadrant; visible to the rear

2. Install US Forest Service Approved Muffler or Spark Arrestor

Wherever you are in the forest, the noise level limit is 101 decibels, so your OHV must have the right muffler or spark arrestor. You can contact them and ask a Forest Service Officer whether or not your current OHV’s spark arrestor is okay.

3. Check Your Vehicle’s Size

The general recommendation for the size of the vehicle that you can drive in the Corral Canyon OHV area are as follows:

  • ATV: 50 inches
  • Jeep: 72 inches
  • OHV, 4×4: 60 inches

4. Practice Fire Safety

Some of the fire preventive measures implemented in the area are as follows:

  • Smoke in cleared areas or enclosed vehicles
  • No smoking while driving or riding the OHV
  • Avoid dry vegetation and tall grass, as it can burn when it comes in contact with the hot vehicle parts
  • Ensure you stop as often as you can to remove debris and grass from your OHV’s catchers and skid pans
  • Make a pit stop in cleared areas only
  • Prevent unnecessarily spinning your wheels
  • Refrain from overfilling your OHV’s fuel tank
  • Use your OHV’s brakes cautiously, as they can ignite or overheat when overused or locked

Always Consider Your Safety

Like with any other off-road trails that you visit, your safety is essential. Apart from wearing the proper safety gear, you must also obtain a Corral Canyon OHV map. You can request it in any forest office.

The map will be your best guide, even if there are markers and signages. It’s also best to get familiar with the trail you want to traverse by reviewing the map a few hours before riding your vehicle.

Another way to ensure your safety is to check the Cleveland National Forest weather a few weeks before your planned travel. Although the area is mostly sandy, there would be mud, which is very dangerous for beginners, when it starts to rain.

You should also call the office before your travel to ensure the area is open, as they will most likely be closed if there are flash flood warnings and during severe weather conditions.

Off-Road Jeep on Rock

Become Familiar With the Trail Markers

The route or trail markers are some of the most important things to remember. They’ll indicate the kind of vehicle that you can safely use, terrain difficulty, and system number corresponding to the Corral Canyon OHV map or guide. Let’s look into the different markers you’ll find in the National Forest when you enter any of the off-roading trails.

1. Green Circle: Easy

Trails with a green circle marker have well-maintained service roads that are usually wide enough to allow passing. You don’t necessarily need a 4WD to traverse this trail. Apparently, trails with a green circle are perfect for those with little to no experience in trail riding.

2. Blue Square: Intermediate or Moderate

On the other hand, trails with a blue square marker require a high-clearance 4WD. It’s a bit more challenging than the green-marked trails, especially since they’re usually narrow.

You’ll also encounter brushes that might scratch your vehicle. Similarly, you would usually need to back up when trying to pass. Still, off-roaders of any skill level can traverse these trails.

3. Black Diamond: Difficult

If you’re inexperienced, you must not attempt to traverse the trails with the black diamond marker. It’s also best to have a spotter, even if you’re experienced. That can be a person you can communicate with and monitor you throughout the ride or another rider who can drive side by side with you.

Vehicle-wise, it should have high ground clearance, so those with 33-inch tires or more are perfect. It must also have at least one locker.

4. Double Black Diamond: Extremely Difficult

As the most challenging terrains in the Corral Canyon OHV area, you must only attempt to drive in these trails if you have years of riding experience. You must also have a highly modified off-road vehicle with 35-inch tires or more, a winch, and other protective and efficient parts.

Corral Canyon OHV Area: The Different Trails

Below are tabulated summaries of the different trails in the area by difficulty level and what you can expect from each trail. You’ll also find a table of some of the most popular access trails in the area.


Trail NameTerrain TypeDistance (Miles)Elevation (m)Descent (m)Allowed OHV Types
WranglerSingletrack; up and down, bermed turns, rock sections3.36145-260Dirt Bike, Class 1 and below e-Bike, Motorbike, ATV, OHV, ORV


Trail NameTerrain TypeDistance (Miles)Elevation (m)Descent (m)Allowed Vehicles
BobcatSingletrack; sharp dropoffs, steep rock climbs1.1826-135Dirt Bike, Class 1 and below e-Bike, Motorbike, ATV, OHV, ORV
Corral CanyonMixed; mostly Chaparral, Oak woodland slopes0.879-77Dirt Bike, Class 1 and below e-Bike, Motorbike, ATV, OHV, ORV
Espinosa Trail Corral CanyonSingletrack; multi-loop13160-195Dirt Bike, Class 1 and below e-Bike, Motorbike, ATV, OHV, ORV
GreenhornSingletrack; physically demanding loops, descents, and ascents1.4960-112Dirt Bike, Class 1 and below e-Bike, Motorbike, ATV, OHV, ORV
GunslingerSingletrack; multiple ridges2.49101-152Dirt Bike, Class 1 and below e-Bike, Motorbike, ATV, OHV, ORV


Trail NameTerrain TypeDistance (Miles)Elevation (m)Descent (m)Allowed Vehicles
Corral Canyon SidewinderMixed with lots of slabs made of granite0.9977-94Mountain bike, Class 1 and below e-bike, Dirt Bike, ATV, ORV, OHV

Extremely Difficult

Trail NameTerrain TypeDistance (Miles)Elevation (m)Descent (m)Allowed Vehicles
Bronco PeakHardcore, tough, steep doubletrack with ruts, large rocks, and tight brushes1.99164-177Mountain bike, Class 1 and below e-bike, Dirt Bike, ATV, ORV, OHV
Off-Road Jeep Vehicle Adventure

Access Trails

Trail NameTerrain TypeDistance (Miles)Elevation (m)Descent (m)Allowed Vehicles
Corte Madera RoadDoubletrack with dirt and gravel; easy to moderately difficult4.16230-199Mountain bike, Class 1 and below e-bike, Dirt Bike, ATV, ORV, OHV
Los Pinos RoadDoubletrack with dirt and gravel; easy to moderately difficult7.58291-492Mountain bike, Class 1 and below e-bike, Dirt Bike, ATV, ORV, OHV
Morena Stokes Valley RoadDoubletrack with dirt and gravel; easy to moderately difficult9.88351-384Mountain bike, Class 1 and below e-bike, Dirt bike, ATV, ORV, OHV
Sky Valley AlternativeSingletrack; multi-loop0.407-24Mountain bike, Class 1 and below e-bike, Dirt bike, ATV, ORV, OHV

Corral Canyon: Other Things to Do

Although there are various trails in the area, the best thing about them is how beautiful the scenery is. As a forest, you’re also assured of fresh air throughout your ride. Additionally, you’re allowed to hike in most of the trails that we discussed above.

That said, there is one other thing that you can do in the area: camping. Corral Canyon has a maximum of 20 campground sites.

You’ll find them within the OHV area, so you can camp out right after riding your vehicle. They also allow you to access the trails easily. A miles-long of desert and chaparral views also surround the campgrounds.

Just keep in mind that, at the moment, you can’t reserve any of the campsites as they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis. Similarly, you can’t find potable water, so you would need to bring one. That is especially since you can’t boil water since a campfire isn’t allowed.

Corral Canyon OHV Area: In Conclusion

The multiple trails in the Corral Canyon OHV area in Cleveland National Forest ensure you won’t run out of options. That is whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or highly experienced off-road rider. All trails allow you to ride several vehicles, ranging from a mountain bike to an ATV, as long as they don’t exceed the required size and noise level.

Take advantage of the several difficulty levels to enhance your skills, but ensure you wear your safety gear, from a helmet (view on Amazon) to boots (view on Amazon), no matter how experienced you are. You must also follow all the rules and guidelines. Lastly, spend more than a day and camp out by bringing a handy tent (view on Amazon).