Santiago Canyon Road

ORANGE COUNTY, ROAD RIDE, SANTIAGO CANYON ROAD This is a challenging training ride that will test the mettle of even experienced riders. Jumping off from Peters Canyon Regional Park, you will immediately find yourself riding away from civilization and into the wilderness. The first 11.5 miles consists of steady, undulating climbs, followed by nearly 16 miles of steady descent. Finally the ride finishes with nearly 500 feet of climbing over four miles. This is a ride of extremes. Santiago Canyon Road is a thin ribbon of asphalt in a vast, empty wilderness. As you travel this road, Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park will be on your right and Cleveland National Forest on your left. This is a ride best done with friends and preferably on a well-maintained bike. Before setting out make certain you have enough water and the tools needed to make basic repairs. You do not want to be stranded along this stretch. At 5.92 miles you will find yourself passing Irvine Lake a scenic, 750 acre reservoir that is primarily a fishing and camping area. Created in 1931 when Santiago Creek was dammed, the lake is operated by the Serrano Water District and provides the cities of Villa Park and Orange with drinking water. At about 11.5 miles the route reaches its highest point and a well-earned, long descent begins with the first couple of miles being the steepest. At 13.27 miles the ride continues along Aliso Creek Trail. This upper section of the trail runs along a natural bottomed creek overshadowed by giant sycamores and eucalyptus. After the stark stretch of Santiago Canyon, this part of the ride will seem wonderfully lush and green. Sadly, at 18.31 miles the route leaves the trail and turns right onto Trabuco Road for the return leg. It is important to note that there are absolutely no signs here to indicate exits off the river trail so pay attention to your mileage or you will fly past this turn. Trabuco Road, which turns into Irvine Boulevard at 22.39 miles, has on-road bike paths with a moderate amount of traffic. It will carry you through the northern section of Irvine to Jamboree Road and the final climb of the ride. This climb is a long, low grade ascent, 460 feet over 3.71 miles. Side Trips Consider exploring Peters Canyon Regional Park at the ride’s start. Off of Santiago Canyon Road is Irvine Lake which is popular with fisherman and campers. FOOD AND DRINK John’s Place located in the shopping center at the corner of Chapman Avenue and Jamboree Road does a fine job with breakfast and lunch plates. If you are feeling adventuresome, stop in at the famous biker bar, Cook’s Corner, on Santiago Canyon Road at 12.97 miles. ACCESS By bus, OCTA 54 stops at the corner of Jamboree Road and Santiago Canyon Road. By car, take exit 14 Chapman Avenue, eastbound and travel for 2.2 miles before turning right on Canyon View Avenue. After 1.8 miles Peters Canyon Regional Park will be on your right, turn into parking lot.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Advanced (Black)
Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
Fitness Level: Ultra Fit
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: 52.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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