Strap your bike to your bike rack and hit the road to the best mountain biking trails in SoCal. Get close to nature on your ride while getting off the beaten path. The cool breezes in the area make January a terrific time to mountain bike. Tired of sitting in traffic? Want a quick escape from the city? Great mountain biking trails for beginners and advance mountain bikers are all around us.
Orange County Parks offers an annual pass for visitors who like to frequent the trails around Orange County. A parking pass with a wilderness decal can be purchased for $55 by calling 714-973-6865 or online at ocparks.com.
Aliso Woods and Canyon Park
This trail is one of the most popular trails in Orange County offering beginner and advanced runs. There is the Sycamore run for the beginner and the Cholla trail for more advanced riders. This trail is also rich in history with many geological formations, marine fossils and plants. There are over 91 species of birds that can be observed within the 3,900 acre park. There is easily accessible parking with restrooms at the beginning of the trails. This trail is not only the best place to go mountain biking, but also perfect for hikers or equestrian riders.
Peters Canyon Regional Park
Mountain bikers can enjoy a beautiful water front view of Peters Canyon reservoir and creek on many of the graded roads and trails within this park. This park is also home to many wild animals that are attracted to the many creeks and willows that flow throughout this park. While on your bike do not be surprised if you see a deer, bob cat, coyote or even the occasional mountain lion. The East Ridge View trail will also offer mountain bikers a panoramic view of Peters Canyon.
Santiago Oaks Regional Park
Feel like riding into the woods on this unique Orange County treasure. Nestled right within the community of the city of Orange Mountain Bikers are offered a unique chance to see many different species of trees. This park offers mountain views, creeks and the most majestic view of Orange Hills. This park is also home to one of the few remaining orange groves still in Orange County.
Laguna Niguel Regional Park
Bring your family to enjoy a full day at the park after your bike ride at Laguna Niguel Regional Park. This park has a large lake with ducks and local birds. There are playgrounds and picnic areas throughout the park. There is a paved road that runs throughout the park, for bike riding along with some small hidden trails to discover.
The advanced rider, who is in search for some bragging rights, will want to attempt to master the backbone trail in Malibu. This lollipop shaped 67 mile trail takes riders around the crest of the Malibu Mountains. There are a lot of steep hills and downhill rides throughout this trail. The trail is a favorite to LA mountain bikers; however riders will still see a lot of hikers. Be careful when taking a break from riding because this trail is also home to many snakes.
Whether you are an advanced rider or a beginner this trail has it all. There are plenty of grades, streams, rough and smooth trails to enjoy. It is an exceptionally scenic trail with waterfalls and wildlife for riders to enjoy. If riders like to get a little muddy while riding, try hitting this trail after a good rainfall. Take the 210 Pasadena Freeway and exit the Windsor/Arroyo exit. Following Windsor until it becomes Ventura, the parking lot will be on the left prior to the intersection where the street name changes.
Chino Hills State Park
Mountain bikers can follow this moderate trail along a creek that leads to the head of Telegraph Canyon. There is plenty of wildlife along this trail, including the occasional mountain lion. The trail can get quite slippery after a local rainfall due to the many mashes and creeks that run throughout the trail. The park can be a little hard to find, but can be located west of highway 71 between the Riverside and Pomona Freeway. Parking in the Carbon Canyon parking lot is $4, and the Chino Hills parking lot is $5.
Crafton Hills Loop
This trail is excellent for the beginner or advanced riders. Beginner riders can enjoy a leisurely ride along the fire trail and more advanced riders can challenge themselves to hit Zanja Peak. When attempting some of the high elevation trails riders might find themselves having to carry their bike to get through some of the narrow trails. While riding, visitors will get some marvelous views of the Yucaipa National Park. The park location is right off the 10 freeway in Yucaipa.
Shelby Barone is a local freelance writer in Orange County. She is a Mom to three young children and spends her free time doing volunteer work in her community. She is passionate about health, nutrition and helping people to live with food allergies. She currently writes at Glitterful Felt Stories.