Orange County

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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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    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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    Limestone Canyon - The Sinks

    Limestone Canyon was previously only available to the public through docent tours. These days, however, the park is open to the public every 1st Saturday of the month from 9-2. It is gaining popularity because more and more people are becoming aware of this hidden gem. Two areas of interest in this section of land are The Sinks and Dripping Springs. Both are easily accessible and some of the highlights of these rides. Registration is required and there are tents on site manned by helpful workers and volunteers. This trail starts with a nice warm up and then begins a 3 mile ascent on East Loma Ridge. The descent to Limestone Canyon is fun, fast, and it culminates at the Sinks. From there we climb to Limestone Ridge and ride the rolling singletrack. A descent back to Limestone Canyon completes this ride. Maps are available so make sure you pick one up. It will help familiarize you with the park so you can explore the different areas of the Canyon.

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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.

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    Upper San Juan - San Juan Capistrano

    This is definitely a trail you want to ride when you develop technical skills and leg endurance. It is by far one of my favorites because of the challenge it provides, but is is also one of the most beautiful rides out there. It is all singletrack, lots of shade, and plenty of scenery to enjoy. The first section of the loop is not terribly technical, but there are some rock gardens to traverse through, as well as a few short hops and jumps. After about 4 miles in, the trail begins to ascend until you reach Cocktail Rock. From there you loop back through the Old San Juan trail. It starts with a steep but short climb and before you know it, you are navigating your way through big ruts in the ground, as well as roots and other obstacles. Finally, you get to climb 2 miles back to the trailhead, which can be a tiring and grueling experience back to the car! Don’t let that keep you from enjoying this trail though as it is one of the best singletracks in So Cal.

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    Upper Laguna/Rock-it - Laguna Beach

    This ride begins in Laguna Beach, takes you into Aliso Wilderness park, and back to Laguna. The reason we ride this loop is to catch the world famous Rock It trail, which is a sweet descent through windy single-track and beautiful rock formations. It looks more intimidating than it is, but it can easily be navigated. Afterwards, take Coyote Run to Canyon Wood for a quick stop at Dripping Caves, and check out where Orange County’s bandidos would hide out from the law. After this, the climbing begins and it is brutal! The first climb comes straight out of Dripping Caves, and although short, it is steep. You’ll catch short break when you reach the top and descend down to Mathis, but then you will be faced with a tough, steep, one and a half mile climb back to Alta Laguna Park. Isn’t that why we ride though!?

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    The Luge - Trabuco Canyon

    We are fans of the 1 hour ride, and it does not get any better than The Luge if you are looking for a quick outing. There is parking available in a section adjacent to Cook’s Corner, which is a great place to get something to eat after your ride. The ride begins on pavement by heading west on Santiago Canyon Rd. Consider this a nice warm up because the first and steepest climb will await you at approximately one mile. Head right and begin climbing Modjeska Grade rd. Once you reach the top, you will finally enter the Santiago Truck Trail where the dirt trail begins. In a few miles you will notice the Luge, which can be identified by a US flag that was placed there. Begin the descent, which is approximately 1 mile of semi-technical fun. Upon exiting, head right on Live Oak back to your car.

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    South Ridge to Telegraph Loop - Yorba Linda

    This loop is my favorite after work ride for many reasons. It’s only 7 miles and it has a perfect combination of trails. You get your steady, extended climbing on well-maintained fire road, some killer single track, a fast downhill ride on Telegraph, and one last brief, but tough climb to complete the loop. In about an hour or so, you are done and you get a great workout. There is plenty to enjoy and explore in Chino Hills state park including classic trails like Raptor Ridge, North Ridge, Bane Canyon, and Scully Ridge, just to name a few. The South Ridge loop is also great for the beginning to intermediate rider who is looking to take their skills to the next level.

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    Santiago Oaks III - Orange

    This particular loop starts from the eastern part of the park and begins by following Santiago Creek trail alongside some neighborhoods. After about a mile, you will begin an ascent via Oak trail all the way to the towers and enter the singletrack that takes you towards the Chutes. Instead of the Chutes though, you will descend Deer Trail, which comes up in less than 1/2 mile and circles back up to Bahram ridge. Your next descent will be on Mountain Goat, which will put you back on Santiago Creek. Although a lot of us ride Santiago Oaks specifically for the Chutes, this loop gives you some climbing and downhill variety through other trails. Nevertheless, it still offers a great workout, beautiful scenery, and a fun descent.