Hilly San Clemente

CYCLE ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, HILLY SAN CLEMENTE Southern Orange County is a hilly, often mountainous, countryside and for most recreational riders, the landscape they like the least. But for those ready to boldly take on this challenging landscape, this is the ride for you. This route passes through attractive hillside neighborhoods with wide boulevards and well planned and maintained bike routes. As your heart pounds in your ears and your legs catch fire, think of the satisfaction you will feel hurtling downhill on the return. This ride starts at Pines Park and from there rolls along Camino Capistrano as it passes through Dana Point’s tiny Capistrano Beach. Although this is a quiet residential street with light traffic, on-street parking means that the bike lane is shared with parked cars; watch for the sudden opening door. Pines Park perches upon a cliff’s edge with a panoramic view and plenty of places to picnic. One thing it does not have, however, is restrooms. Once the route reaches Avenida Vaquero the climbing begins. Over the next four miles expect long steady ascents with a few dips that will warm your legs up for the work that lies ahead. At 5.65 the route turns left onto Camino Vera Cruz and the steepest, toughest part of the ride. Although only a little over a half mile, this stretch seems to go on forever. More hills lie ahead, but if you conquer this one everything else will seem easy. At Avenida Hermosa the route moves onto off-street bike lanes and passes through recently constructed homes and businesses, some of which are so new that they don’t appear on maps. This whole area is under construction and the bones of future neighborhoods are evident. Happily they include lots of trails and bike paths, look for this ride to grow in the future. After reaching Avenida Pico and then Avenida La Pata the ride returns to the start almost exclusively downhill. Enjoy, you earned it. At the intersection of Camino Capistrano and Camino De Estrella, turn right and you will find Island Style Tacos, a modest eatery with tasty Carribean influenced Mexican food. Ask them to bag it for the road and find an empty bench at Pines Park to enjoy the view. For those looking for more to do on this ride, visit downtown San Clemente and the nearby pier. To get there by bike, follow Camino Capistrano south to where it intersects with Ride 51 and further south, Ride 53. Compact and dense, this part of town is ideal for strolling, window shopping and dining. St. Roy Chef's Pub at Vine offers culinary excitement in an elegantly rustic environment. For an incomparable view, visit the Fisherman’s Restaurant located on San Clemente Pier. FOOD AND DRINK Near the ride’s start is Island Style tacos, located on Camino De Estrella near the intersection with Camino Capistrano. Downtown San Clemente’s El Camino Real and Avenida Del Mar are lined with dining opportunities. ACCESS By bus, OCTA route 191 makes a stop near Pines Park. By car, take exit 78, Camino De Estrella, off of Interstate 5 and head southbound for 0.3 miles before turning right onto to Camino Hermosa. After 0.2 miles turn left towards Camino Capistrano, Pines Park will be on the right, parking available along the street.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
Fitness Level: Medium
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: 26.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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