2. Intermediate

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    Skypark - Skyforest

    In 2014, the park was acquired by an avid mountain biker and was re-built to operate as a year-round tourist destination as well as a popular mountain biking destination, known as Skypark in Santa’s Village. Several existing buildings and attractions were restored, together with the creation of an extensive network of trails, and it re-opened to the public in 2016.
    There is something for everyone at Skypark/Santa’s Village, so you can easily make it a family day out or head there yourself and shred the network of trails. The park is well maintained, with trails that are clearly marked with names. The park is user-friendly, as it has different trails for different skill levels. There are maps of the trails available upon entering the park, and it’s just a matter of deciding which routes you wish to ride.

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    Santiago Peak - Silverado Canyon

    In 2014, Silverado canyon experienced a fire that blackened 1600 acres of the Cleveland National Forest. This prompted a closure of Maple Road in Silverado Canyon, which takes you to the Main Divide and Harding Truck Trail. Those of us that like to climb up to Santiago Peak or the Silverado Motorway via Maple Road had to wait close to 3 years before it re-opened. The ride to either location is no joke and requires serious legs to get there. We highly recommend that you be fully hydrated, stretch well, and get a good night’s rest before tackling either one. There is over 4100 feet of climbing to reach Santiago Peak, so heed our advice. Hikers, mountain bikers, and motor vehicles also share this road, so use plenty of caution. If you are not aware, motor vehicles are allowed on the Main Divide Road, and Maple Rd in Silverado Canyon is one of the few places you can access it on a vehicle. Be prepared to eat a lot of dust if vehicles are making their way up and down. Obviously, there is more vehicle activity on the weekends, so plan your ride accordingly.

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    Turnbull Canyon - Whittier

    Turnbull Canyon is a popular spot in the city of Whittier, lined with hikers and bikers, and its part of the Puente Hills Reserve. The parking on Turnbull Canyon is confined to a small dirt area so that can be a challenge, especially on the weekend. You need a resident permit to park in the local neighborhoods, so your next option is to park a few blocks away and ride up the street to the trail-head. This loop is a great combination of sun exposed, fire road climbing, with a shade filled loop when you get to Ahwingna. There are plenty of other trails to explore within Turnbull, with lots of additional climbing to be had, but this particular loop gives you a good idea of what you can expect within this park. It gives you views of the Hsi Lai Temple and Rose Hills Memorial park as you traverse your way up and down the park. There are a lot of stories pertaining to this park, in particular stories of hauntings. A lot of the locals will tell you that it is mostly urban legend, but it definitely adds to the mystique and history of the place.

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    Aliso & Wood Canyon Loop - Laguna Niguel

    This ride embodies beauty, toughness, and biking skills, as you traverse Aliso Wilderness, climb up Cholla trail, and descend Rock It. The Coyote Run trail is a blast to ride, and you can even stop by Dripping Caves trail for some cool pics and a piece of history.

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    El Prieto - Altadena

    Recently, we stumbled onto an article where the editor shared some of his favorite places to ride, and he mentioned a trail called “El Prieto” in the San Gabriel mountains (Pasadena area). The article was from a prominent mountain biking magazine, so we had to check out the trail for ourselves. It did not disappoint!

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    Bane Canyon - Chino Hills

    The Northeastern part of Chino Hills State Park is home to some terrific mountain biking. This entrance to the park was closed for over a year while upgrades and improvements were made to the road. What’s nice about it is that it provides a paved road for vehicles to drive in, but a good chunk of the original Bane Canyon dirt road was left intact, which runs parallel to the road. This loop has a nice combination of fun singletrack with most of your climbing in the first mile of the loop.

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    Skyline - Corona

    Skyline is a fantastic ride, full of beautiful Santa Ana mountain scenery that begins in Corona and ends at Beek’s point. It is a fire road that climbs and climbs, but is full of singletrack diversions that you can ride all the way down. Some of the singletrack can be a bit steep and rutted so use extra caution when coming down. Or you can come back down the same way (fore road), which is also a fast and fun descent. At one point, Skyline was accessible to motor vehicles, but due to drivers going over the mountain, it has been closed off to the public. You can see the aftermath of the accidents, as some vehicles are visible on the side of the mountains. Still, County work vehicles are permitted so be on the lookout and use caution as you ascend or descend Skyline.

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    Santiago Oaks – Weir Canyon Loop

    Santiago Oaks has everything a mountain biker can ask for, from technical downhills to some serious climbing. The Weir Canyon Loop is a beautiful and scenic addition to any ride within the park, and can be accessed on Barham ridge or next to Yucca ridge. It traverses through the Anaheim Hills area and has plenty of uphill and downhill sections. Be prepared to climb your way back up to the ridge after you loop around.

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    Whiting Ranch II - Foothill Ranch

    This loop begins on Glenn Ranch Rd and offers a bit more climbing than Whiting 1. After climbing up to Dreaded Hill, descend and catch Cactus Hill to the Sage Scrub trail and descend some more into the canyon. From Serrano Cow you will catch Live Oak trail for some final, single-track fun, before its time to for one final ascend back to the car.

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    Whiting Ranch I - Foothill Ranch

    Located in the heart of South Orange County, Whiting Ranch is a fantastic place to hike or mountain bike. It can be ridden on its own with various loop combinations, and you can also include “The Luge”, which is nearby. Whiting Ranch offers a great combination of spinning and climbing through well maintained fire road, as well as some great single-track through the shady canyon. The park is relatively small, so it is a quick and fast ride that will have you done in no time. The ride begins with a nice warm up through Borrego Trail until you hit Mustard Rd. That is where the climbing begins. Afterwards, descend and enjoy the semi-technical Cactus Hill trail and make your way into the canyon. Catch Serrano Cow and make your way out of the park.