Peak Summited2019 Santiago Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadCadillac to Joplin
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were terrible
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsMinor obstacles posing few problems

We took Cadillac to Joplin, which, apparently, is on private property.

Alltrails has warnings about people getting ticketed, so use this route at your own risk.

The first two miles of this are EXTREMELY step. It then levels off for a bit, then goes down in elevation to a lovely section featuring a stream, then has a relentless climb to the top featuring my two favorite things: scree and fire road.

Lots of water still running and tons of wildflowers, but also an army of bugs to swat away. The lady bugs are in full bloom and crawling/flying everywhere, so beware.

A pro tip: if you'd like to cut off about 1 mile of fire road, there is a small trail off to the left right as Joplin trail meets the fire road. If you take that up, you'll end up on the opposite site of the radio towers, for a much faster climb up. Otherwise you'll inch along the fire road for what seems like eternity.


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  1. Just to clarify, Cadillac to Joplin is NOT on private property. The area around the road where you park however, is water district land.

    The area that is NOT water district land has been blocked by concrete barriers to discourage illegal 4WD activity on the Cadillac trail, but also prevents people from parking at the trailhead.

    The only “safe” parking option is to park just off the paved road, which adds another four miles to this trek.

    Incidentally, have you hiked this via the Holy Jim Trail before? When it finally reopens (in 2020?), that’s my preferred route. Mostly single track trails, much more wooded. Even has a seasonal stream and waterfall.

    1. Yes, I meant to say that the parking was on private property. We didn’t get ticketed, but others have mentioned a $45 ticket, so it is a risk. I can’t imagine adding another 4 miles onto that trek to park at the lot at the road!

      Joplin was a very pretty trail in parts, but it’s rough. According to the signs posted, Holy Jim will be back up mid-September. I’ll probably pass on doing this peak again, but might go up to the falls. Maybe. I’ve had my fill of Cleveland National Forest for the moment!

      1. The falls are worth doing, but I would avoid hiking this in September (or in the summer) if at all possible. Too damned hot!