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Mountain Bike! Southern California
by David Story, Laurie & Chris Leman (Menasha Ridge Press)
A great ride in the Santa Ana Mountains in the Trabuco Ranger District of Cleveland National Forest, roughly between Lake Elsinore and El Toro. This is the epitome of a good loop ride: lots of singletrack, a taxing but not frustrating climb, great views, divers terrain, and a fun downhill. In 12.4 miles, this trail packs a lot of punch. a fairly long dirt road brings riders to the base of some of the highest mountains in the Santa Ana range. A shaded ascent up Trabuco Canyon on a singletrack trail produces some gorgeous views. at times, the canyon seems utterly remote and unpopulated.
Mountain Biking Southern California
by Mark Ross & Brad Fine (Falcon Guides)
Located in the Santa Ana Mountains within the Cleveland National Forest in southern Orange County. Highlights: Technical singletrack that rises from the rocky creekbed to the Los Pinos Saddle. Hazards: Loose shale rock on trail, poison oak, rattlesnakes, and bugs. Forest Adventure Pass required.
Today the "Warriors" club was running a race through this area and I went the same direction as part of their course so as to avoid potential collisions. I started at about 9:45 AM at the junction of Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek Road where the aid station was (1667' elev.). I rode up the road 1 mile on Trabuco Creek to the trailhead. If you listened carefully you could just about imagine the banjo tune from "Deliverence" coming from some of the old shacks along the road! From the trail's start (6W04) up to Horsethief Trail are a number of water crossings and some pretty rocky areas in that one mile stretch. Definitely hike-a-bike time! Lots of trees and a lot of water coming downstream to make you feel far away from the city. A little further on you start up the switchbacks where I ended up pushing my bike uphill a good deal! The last 0.5 mile is rideable to the Main Divide Road (3S04) at 3993' elevation. It is about 2.5 miles of fast riding south on Main Divide to the Trabuco Trail junction and the spring temps were perfect today. Now imagine over 2.5 miles of fast downhill singletrack with some fantastic views and a few stretches of sharp fist-size rocks on the trail with long runs through trees and overgrowth. Very cool! I was feeling better overall and just about finished off my water. I nearly had an unwanted re-fill when my pedal caught a rock in a deep water crossing. I went on my back and got thoroughly soaked! I made it back to the start with the following: 12.24 miles total, 25.1 MPH max, 5.1 MPH avg, 4 hours total time including breaks, crashes, and pedaling. By the way, the 5 mile dirt road in to my start point is very rutted, muddy, and bumpy. Low-clearance cars proceed at risk! Also watch for ticks in the bushes catching a ride with you when you try this trail.
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