The Big Loop

CYCLE ORANGE COUNTY, ROAD RIDE, THE BIG LOOP This is, without a doubt, the longest and most challenging bike ride of the North Coast section and a great connecting route that intersects or briefly overlaps nine other rides. A large looping spin that passes along the coast, inland by way of the Santa Ana River Trail, then along the commuter stretch of Lampson Street, from there down the San Gabriel River Trail and finally back to the start along well-traveled Pacific Coast Highway. A bike ride as long as this one could easily be picked up at any number of spots. This start has been selected for its ease of parking at Bolsa Chica State Beach and the number of buses that make a stop here. However, there are a number of locations along the way that would work equally well. What makes this bike ride so interesting is its variety. You start out at the beach traveling along Pacific Coast Highway. Your constant companion to the right will be the Pacific Ocean stretching to the horizon, on your left wetlands, then posh homes followed by edifices of tourism, then a power plant. Eventually you reach the river and the wondrous Santa Ana River Trail, the “bicycle freeway” of Orange County, otherwise known as SART. This wondrous bike path is a joy to travel along. Wide, with painted lanes and asphalt as smooth as glass, it really doesn’t get much better than this. From there the route travels along Lampson Avenue, a commuter path, one of the few long east-west bike routes in this part of Orange County. Eventually the bike ride brings you to another river trail, the San Gabriel, linking you back to Pacific Coast Highway. Along the way you have two Main Streets to choose from, one in Huntington Beach and the other in Seal Beach. These two locales really could not be more different. In Seal Beach; quiet, quirky and sleepy reign supreme. In Huntington Beach; glamour, surf culture and full speed ahead are the order of the day. At Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve you will discover a variety of birds such as osprey, blue herons, and giant flocks of California terns wheeling and banking over the ocean as they hunt. Hundreds of different species have been sighted here including the Bald Eagle. Don’t forget to look in the water while hiking through. You will find stingrays mating here and schools of fish enjoy the shallow warm waters as well. By the time you have completed this ride you are going to be hot and sweaty. Make sure you bring a towel so you can take a refreshing dip in the cool Pacific Ocean. Side Trip Two vastly different Main Streets, one in Seal Beach and one in Huntington Beach. Also along the way is Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, home to an incredible amount of biodiversity. FOOD AND DRINK There any places to stop along this bike ride to stop and refuel. ACCESS By bus, OCTA buses 1, 21, 70 and 72 all make a stop at the ride’s beginning. By car, take Pacific Coast Highway to Bolsa Chica State Beach. After paying, turn right and drive to the very last parking lot.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Advanced (Black)
Ride Duration: Full day
Fitness Level: High
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance: 61.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
Loading comments...