Distance: 28 miles, Elevation: 4300′, Appx. Ride Duration: 5:45hrs
You’ll begin about 4 miles from the trailhead and head out on a gravel road along the Trabuco Wash which spills from the canyons you’ll traverse throughout the day. During wet seasons there may be water as some of the road crossings along this section of road, however only a few inches at most. Once you reach the Holy Jim Trailhead parking lot, you will follow the road for a short distance to the beginning of the singletrack trail. It’s here that you are greeted with technical sections of roots, creek crossings and often wet rocks. Follow the trail along the creek in this heavily wooded area for a little over one mile where the trail will split, one direction (dead end) to Holy Jim Falls a short ¼ mile hike and the other continues along the main trail for another 5 miles. Continue on the trail where you will shortly leave the forest floor and continue your undulating climb in the chaparral and occasional pine stands across technical switchbacks, sharp rock outcroppings and occasional exposure. At the top of this climb you will reach the Main Divide Road where at this point you will ride southeast about 8 miles along the spine of the Saddleback Mountains being greeted to occasional views of the San Bernardino Mountain Range to the northeast and on a clear day, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. This forest service road is mostly comprised of loose decomposed granite with some sections of shale. One section of the road, about a mile climb, a little more than halfway through affectionately named “The Wall” for its unrelenting grade and technicality due to this loose and rocky section of road. You will reach the top of West Horsethief Trail along the way which will be a marker that you have 2 miles until you reach the top of Trabuco Trail, the reason for your grind thus far. Once you reach Trabuco Trail you will have a 5 mile descent back to the bottom of the canyon. This trail offers a little bit of everything, with a fast, flowy and wooded start, a middle of loose and exposed sections of shale and a technical rocky creek bed bottom section. Once you reach the bottom and the Trabuco Trailhead, you will follow the forest road about 2 miles to the Holy Jim Trailhead parking lot and back out the 4 mile road that you started the ride on. Most of the road will be a fast descent, but save some energy as the last couple miles can often have a headwind on a false flat back to the drop-off location.
Distance: 17 miles, Elevation: 3500′. Appx. Ride Duration: 4hrs
Maple Springs Road begins as a steady ascent on a paved (broken) road for roughly 3 miles before turning sharply where the pavement ends and the dirt road begins. At this point the dirt road climbs steadily for another 5 miles across varied terrain including loose gravel, shale and sections of rock bed. Upon reaching 4 Corners you’ll have vistas of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountain Ranges to the north and northeast and on a clear day will have views of Santa Catalina Island to the southwest. At this point you will follow the Main Divide Road for approximately 6 miles to the northwest which has sharp descents and steep climbs on varied surfaces of hard-pack, loose gravel, silt and chunky rock sections. Once you reach the “Motorway” you will be greeted by an almost uninterrupted 3 mile singletrack descent back to the start of the ride. Don’t be fooled however, this can be quite a technical trail which includes areas of exposure, tight switchbacks, loose rock and brief washed out sections of trail, caution is advised.
Distance: 12 miles, Elevation: Appx 1000′ climbing. and a load of 3000′ fun descending Ride Duration: 3hrs
This ride offers all the things that you would want in a back-country experience and is truly an EXPERT ride. If you struggle with switchbacks, fear exposure and/or at all unsure of your bike handling skills, this ride is NOT for you.
You’ll be shuttled to the start of the ride which will begin with forested single-track with tight turns, rocks, roots and other natural challenges. Once you reach the bottom of the initial descent you will begin to pedal upwards where the terrain will be mostly sweeping decomposed granite single track, steadily climbing to the iconic “Cocktail Rock” with the trail becoming tight filled with loose baby heads, channeled trail and loose dirt. Once at “Cocktail Rock” you will be greeted with exceptional views of Southern Orange County, the Pacific Ocean and when clear Santa Catalina Island and even San Clemente Island. Once you have had your fill of the scenery, point your bike down the initially challenging, technical and rocky terrain as descending through the next 7 miles of sweeping singletrack with rocky outcroppings, tight switchbacks and plenty of exposure. Be sure to take your time and enjoy the views along the trail and take care as sections of the trail are fast and flowy, however the entire route has switchbacks and other hazards that will come up quickly without notice and the trail is extremely unforgiving.
Distance: 14-18 miles, Elevation: 800-1500′. Appx. Ride Duration: 2.5-3.5hrs
This route is a welcoming ride for almost all abilities, beginners and experts alike. The route is primarily an out and back with little elevation change, however do not be fooled, the ride offers a very unique experience whereas each direction allows a very different view of the canyon that you will ride within. The trail mostly consists of a forested doubletrack road, however has short sections of sand, rocky riverbed and creek crossings. The unique experience here is that although the suburban setting, most of the ride is secluded and allows a wilderness feeling while within the tree canopy, bamboo sections and meadow areas. It is very common to see deer and other wildlife along this route and on the return you will be offered fabulous views of the pictorial Santiago Peak, the backdrop for us here in Orange County.
Distance: 3.5 miles, Elevation: 250′. Appx. Ride Duration: :45 – 1hr
This is truly a beginner route and one that you could take the kids on. This is an almost entirely flat loop that swirls through the park around the horse stables, Orange County Zoo and park features such as the lakes, paths and Irvine Park Railroad. Take the opportunity to see what this park has to offer and if you’re lucky, see the free roaming Peacocks that inhabit the park as well!
Distance: Ride to Discover this historic space…it’s like ride back in time to cowboy land, Elevation: Ride to find out’. Appx. Ride Duration: 2.5hr
As Limestone Canyon is a restricted access park, this is truly a limited and unique experience for individuals or the entire family. Take a OC Park’s Ranger guided nature tour through the majesty of this Orange County park. The route is undulating through meadows, big oak trees and beautiful canyons out and back to a spectacular natural canyon area called “The Sinks.” This route is truly a rare opportunity to enjoy a sneak peek into a precious natural area.
Distance: 10-20 miles, Elevation: 1500-3500′. Appx. Ride Duration: 2hrs+
As one of the more diverse parks in regards to technicality and also one of the parks with the largest count of trails, a plethora of variations of routes are at your finger-tips. With a trail system that goes up and down about the parks canyons, come ready to both climb and descent with the ability to gain some serious elevation in a relatively short distance. Also, this park allows for wonderful views of the Saddleback Mountain Range including Santiago Peak, the Pacific Ocean and also a majority of North Orange County including Angel Stadium and even as far as Downtown LA on a clear day. This park is best suited for intermediate riders and above.
Distance: 13 miles, Elevation: 2300′. Appx. Ride Duration: 2.5hrs+
Nestled within the Coastal Sage Scrub, these trails are a combination of rocky and loose over hard-pack on a combination of singletrack, doubletrack and fire road. There is a moderate amount of climbing within this route and some sections will offer, although short, challenging areas of trail. Be prepared as the weather here can vary of that at the festival venue as it is a coastal park and can often be cooler and even cloudy in comparison. Wildlife is also in abundance in this park with birds, small animals and often deer can be spotted.