Lower San Juan - San Juan Capistrano

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Ride Description

The San Juan Trail is one of the best rides around, but it is certainly no walk in the park. The entire trail network is about 20 miles and it is commonly split into two separate rides (Upper and Lower). It is arguably one of the best trails in So Cal. Although many cyclists enjoy riding the entire singletrack, we prefer to ride each loop separately. It is more manageable that way!

Lower San Juan consists of 6.35 miles of climbing through technical singletrack before reaching the top of Cocktail rock. This is the common rest area and chances are you will be united with other riders there. The Upper San Juan loop also takes you to Cocktail Rock.

As you make your way up, you will need to clear a series of switchbacks, and a good majority seem to come in early in the ride. This is an out-and-back ride, so once you are ready to descend, retrace the exact way you came up. The downhill ride is exceptional and the main reason we ride this loop. Use caution on the trail as you will encounter other riders and hikers traversing the trail.


Intermediate – Advanced
Distance: 12.74 miles
Time: 2:40:07
Avg Speed: 7.7 km/h
Elevation Gain: 2,254
Calories: 1,085 C
Avg Temperature: 75 °F

Driving Directions

Forest Adventure Pass required to park.

5 south
Exit Ortega Hwy (hwy 74) and head east for approximately 12.5 miles
Enter Lazy W Ranch on your left. Drive through paved road for a few hundred yards. It will become a dirt road but it’s fairly smooth and driveable.

Trail Directions

(hover over steps for images – some steps may not have images)

Enter the trailhead and begin your ascent. Stay on the trail, as there is no other way to go until you reach the 6.3 mile mark. Expect to climb most of the way, but there is a small reprieve when you get to the 5 mile mark when the trail evens out.

Continue until you reach Cocktail Rock at the 6.3 mile mark. Rest as much as you need at the top and begin making your way back down.

Garmin Info



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