“A scenic, dirt road climb to a historic landmark and a space-age dopler dome.
— David Gregg
Visit the historic Beek's Place, the ruins of an old cabin. Then continue to the dopler radar dome for a unique picture experience.
Although this ride is on an easy, dirt road, the amount of climbing will require substantial stamina and leg strength to make it to the top. This is why I rated it intermediate.
For a description of the trail, read this: Blackstar Canyon Rd.
Near the crest, there is a closed, swinging gate with an opening for hikers/bikers to pass through. Just beyond this gate is the intersection with Main Divide Rd - Blackstar to Maple Springs
. Turn right, and look for Beeks Place in the clearing on the right. Deep in shade, the old cabin foundations are surrounded by tall pine trees, planted originally by the Beek family decades ago, and provide an ideal place for a long break and pictures.
Continue up Main Divide and climb a short, but very steep section to the dopler radar dome for more pics.
For an easy downhill ride back to the car, just follow the same dirt road back down. If you want to explore a few no-name singletracks, read on...
From the dome, there is a short singletrack from the back of the clearing. It's super short, but better than a fire road. Look for the second one on the right at the swinging gate. This one is a little longer, loose and intermediate level technical. The third one is on the left a few hundred yards after rejoining the fire road. It's very easy to zoom right past, so slow down and look for a mile marker-type road sign on the left that's bent at an odd angle. The trail starts right after that sign. This one is a thin slice down loose, steep, grass-covered hills. There are a few more small ones, but I'll let you find those.
History & Background
The ruins are what is left of a building belonging to a Mr. Joseph "Joe" Beek, who served as the Newport Harbor Master for a short time. In 1919, he obtained the franchise for the Balboa Island Ferry which remains in the family to this day. He also served as secretary of the California State Senate, until his death in 1968. The main cabin was built during the 1930s, and the smaller one shortly thereafter. They each had one room. The smaller one was built for a caretaker. Although the family only used it on weekends, sometimes a caretaker would live there for up to a few months at a time. The family still goes there on occasion, but due to constant vandalism and theft, it became impossible to maintain.
All the coniferous trees were planted by the family. A system of cisterns can be seen around the area for water storage which made it possible to grow the trees. One cistern down from the main cabin was used as a swimming pool.