As local Socal kids, we would dream of going to Santa’s Village during the holidays. They had a popular commercial on TV, and it was one of Southern California’s greatest attractions. Located in Lake Arrowhead, it was not far from the greater LA area. The park was originally opened in 1955 but unfortunately ended up closing its doors in 1998.
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.
The main premise of the park is to ride to the top and then decide which network of trails you wish to descend. The climb is an easy ½ mile riding the Upline trail, which is the only trail that takes you up there. All trails are designed to be descended in one direction only, so it eliminates having to navigate through bikers or hikers making their way up on all trails. Once you are at the top, there are several descending options depending on your skill level. The levels range from Beginner to Double Diamond expert. I’ve been riding for many years, and I enjoyed descending the beginning trails just as much as any other. Depending on which ones you choose, you will traverse through berms, bridges, jumps, and all kinds of fun stuff. The descents are anywhere from ½ to a mile long. After that, it’s a matter of catching the Upline trail again, which is available in 2 sections of the park, and making that ½ mile climb back up. You can do this all day with the network of trails that are available, and walk away with a great riding experience.
There is a fee to enter the park, which also gives you access to Santa’s Village attractions. Aside from all the great riding, you can spend the rest of the day ziplining, rock climbing, or grabbing a bite to eat at one of the various restaurants. You can check out their website at www.skyparksantasvillage.com for more park information. It’s definitely a place to check out!
From the 210 Frwy East, exit on Waterman Canyon/Hwy 18 and head towards the hills on Hwy 18 until you reach the parking lot on the left.
From the 210 Frwy West, take Hwy 330 to Hwy 18 at Running Springs, take Hwy 18 North-West until you reach the parking lot on the right side.
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Walkthrough Santa’s Village to the trailhead and follow the train of mountain bikers up to the rim at the top where you can choose what trail best suits your skill level.
Head to the left at the entrance towards the pond and climb up the back way.