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Two of South Orange County's popular loops combined into one adventure.

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2,304' 702 m


804' 245 m


1,911' 583 m


1,912' 583 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Borrego Trail is sign-posted ONE-WAY for bikes! You can only ride north, uphill, unless you walk the bike. All other trails have no such restrictions.


This is a trail combination that will, unless you ride often, wipe you out. Halfway through the hugely popular Whiting Ranch Loop change course, and cross into Cleveland National Forest to complete another loop, The Luge, before returning to finish Whiting Ranch.

Need to Know

Whiting closes at sunset, but The Luge is in national forest, where night riding is legal.

This place, particularly Borrego Trail, can, and will, get a ton of hikers, especially on weekends. Please be nice.


Ride along Portola Pkwy, a busy suburb street, for about a mile and turn right after passing the Ralphs super market. The trailhead is on the left of Ralphs. Follow the snaking Borrego Trail for 1.5 miles through sandy, creek-bottom, tree and cactus-filled terrain that climbs only slightly. Be alert, there have been numerous mountain lion sightings through this sliver of a canyon. Ride with someone. Think and act BIG.

Borrego merges into a wide dirt trail, Mustard Road. The road twists steeply up to the left, disappearing behind the hillside (if you go left, climb the small singletrack on the right after a few hundred feet. This is a super fun, extra credit wrinkle called Cattle Pond Loop that re-joins Mustard Road close to where it left.) To the right, the trail bends around a trail kiosk, then onto a few more easy turns. However, don't be fooled, the easy turns hide the brutal 3/4th-mile climb to Four Corners. Around the last blind right turn, climb the final rise to Four Corners, a convergence of trails from all directions. With amazing views, a trail kiosk, benches and a drinking fountain, it's a great place for a break.

Climb the uphill trail to the left, behind the bench/kiosk. This will take you down to Santiago Canyon Rd, a 55mph twisting, paved road. Head east, downhill, for about a quarter-mile, very carefully cross the road and turn left, uphill, on Modjeska Grade Rd, an extremely steep, paved road. In less than a half-mile, slide past the low, rusted gate on the right into a large, dirt staging area with a great view of the mountains beyond. A well established singletrack called Santiago Truck Trail rises into the barren, rocky landscape colored by pale desert plants and infinite shades of brown.

The climb is long. There's a few steep slopes. But there's nothing long... AND steep. The views south and west over south Orange County are stunning. After nearly three miles of climbing, the trail lightly descends, flattens, then becomes a strip perched atop the mountains razor edge. Look ahead and right of the trail and notice a dome-shaped hill flying a large American flag proudly, ammo boxes filled with notebooks and pens chained to its pole. Rest. Take a picture. Sign the book.

Leaving flag hill, at first the slope is moderate. The trail begins its cliff-side exposure, twisting easily a few times to a right-hand bend featuring drop-offs on each side. From there The Luge gets steep as the trail becomes a bobsled half-pipe, snaking along the cliff, with one-foot rock ledges and stones, loose and embedded, spread generously along its one-plus mile length. It will pound your body with a constant stream of impacts, and your forearms and calves will scream from the relentless push downhill.

At the end, make your way to Live Oak Canyon Rd, a 35mph paved road, and turn right. Live Oak tilts steeply downhill and soon you'll be nearing the speed limit, so be careful. At the famous Cook's Corner turn right on Santiago Canyon Rd and, from well outside the white line, climb the almost perfect 5% grade for one mile. On the left, across the road, enter the Santiago Equestrian Center and, between the building and the hillside, follow the dirt fire road up to the ridge.

There are two trails back into Whiting Ranch from here - Vulture View up to the left, and Santiago Ranch Rd down to the right. Both ways will eventually get to the same place, Sage Scrub Trail. Then it's just a matter of finishing the Whiting Ranch Loop.

Shared By:

Dave Gregg with improvements by max max

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 40 votes


in Lake Forest


  4.2 from 40 votes
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99 Views Last Month
25,662 Since Mar 13, 2014
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Video of the Luge Down hill shot by
Feb 10, 2016 near Trabuco…, CA
Riding The Luge
Dec 22, 2015 near Trabuco…, CA
A Run Down The Luge (And another local trail).
Jun 20, 2022 near Portola…, CA
Down the Luge. Shot by
Feb 10, 2016 near Portola…, CA
The scenery from The Luge Trail. Photo by
Feb 10, 2016 near Trabuco…, CA
My first time riding ‘The Luge’ cautiously.
Nov 26, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Nov 11, 2023
Molly Harris
The truck trail has spectacular views, worth it for that. The Luge didn't float my boat given the amount of climbing required.
May 21, 2021
D Rugg
First time! perfect weather today. Downloaded directions were great! 14.9mi — 2h 26m
Feb 6, 2021
Kamron Khannakhjavani
Difficult ride but really fun and scenic. Lots of desert features. The only bummer is having to ride up Santiago canyon on the road for a bit. 15mi — 2h 30m
Jan 18, 2021
Navin P
1/18/21 All trails west of four corners closed. Check before you go.
Oct 24, 2020
Dan Min
so worth it! 14.9mi
Apr 24, 2020
Gilbert Yu
14.7mi — 2h 06m
Apr 17, 2020
Gilbert Yu
Some very shallow stream crossings, great hero dirt 17.2mi
Apr 3, 2020
Gilbert Yu
14.7mi — 3h 15m

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