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Santiago Truck Trail to Old Camp

Difficult

Trail

17.3 mile 27.8 kilometer out and back
40% Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,501' 762 m
Descent: -2,501' -762 m
High: 3,155' 962 m
Low: 1,400' 427 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Map Key

Trail shared by Rick Gerardi

An out-and-back, semi-technical, scenic ride that takes you to the historic Old Camp.

Rick Gerardi

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Watch for potential closures following heavy rains or fires.

Overview

Santiago Truck Trail is more known as the route to The Luge, which is a relatively short, but well-known, great loop. A lesser known but equally great ride is to take Santiago Truck Trail beyond The Luge to an oak-shaded destination, known as Old Camp.

The ride to Old Camp will, at times, push a rider's endurance limits and test their technical skills. The ride pays off in the form of miles of technical singletrack-like riding, amazing scenic views, and miles of long, sweeping, fast downhill blasting. Not to mention the cool, shaded destination that is perfect for resting up and having some lunch, before turning around and heading back.

Need to Know

Parking is limited, and it is best to park down along Santiago Canyon Rd right near the turn onto Modjeska Grade Road.

Also, bring plenty of water and food, as this ride is more strenuous than the numbers might lead you to believe.

Description

Park along Santiago Canyon Rd, and ride up a short, but steep, paved road called Modjeska Grade Road. At the top, at roughly 0.5 miles, you'll find the pipe gate that leads you to Santiago Truck Trail - you can't miss it, on the right.

Head up Santiago Truck Trail and prepare yourself for some steady climbing. While this trail has "Truck" in the name, it is really more a mix of double and singletrack, thanks to years of vehicle closure and not being maintained as a fire road.

Roughly 4 miles into the ride, you'll come to a semi-technical downhill section that is a mix of large rocks, ruts, and loose smaller rocks (pretty much a common theme in the ride from this point on). At the end of this relatively short downhill section is where the locally-famous American flag sits, which marks The Luge trailhead. At this point, keep left to continue on Santiago Truck Trail.

Continue for another few miles through some fairly steep climbs and rocky sections, and you'll come to a sharp steep switchback turn that bends left and climbs its way, curving right. Stop at the top of this section (just before the trail turns hard right), let your 180+ bpm settle and look west to take in the view of Orange County and the flag you once passed, which now seems far away.

Continue for a few more miles, and you'll see a fire road on the right. This is Joplin Truck Trail. Keep straight (left) and continue on Santiago Truck Trail (note, some maps identify this remaining section to be a continuation of Joplin Truck Trail, not Santiago Truck Trail).

You've now come to the most challenging section of the ride, as the trail works its way through steep, loose, rocky sections that will force a rider to sprint out of the saddle multiple times to avoid putting a foot down or stopping. You'll hit your max heart rate many times from this point until you drop down into Old Camp, which seems much farther than it actually is.

Once you feel like you've had enough of steep, loose technical climbing, you'll pop out onto an open area, marked by a steep fire break heading up on the right. The final descent into Old Camp is a trail that is to the left of the fire break.

Enjoy the cool shade of Old Camp before climbing back out, and blasting down those amazing sections that you once battled to climb up - it's reward time!

An optional add to this ride would be to take The Luge down, on your way back when you get to the flag point, on the left.

History & Background

Old Camp is a known location, deep in the Santa Ana mountains, named for its history as a centuries-old Indian hunting camp.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Jun 15, 2019
Nicolas Borfigat
16.5mi
Oct 27, 2018
Dean Gialamas
2800 ft elevation 16.1mi
Oct 7, 2018
Roger Madarang
Jun 8, 2017
Maximo Oropeza
Dec 17, 2016
Mark Kelleher
Trail is in pretty good condition after heavy rain 2 days ago due to high granite content. Some minor ruts. 3 very large puddles across trail.
Jun 23, 2016
Erik G

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 6 votes

#1752

Overall
  4.2 from 6 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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2 Star
17%
1 Star
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Ride Rankings

#225

in California

#1,752

Overall
167 Views Last Month
9,014 Since Mar 20, 2016
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Photos

Video of the Luge Down hill shot by DPCAero.com
Feb 10, 2016 near Trabuco…, CA
Riding The Luge
Dec 22, 2015 near Trabuco…, CA
Flag pole on the top of the Luge. Photo by DPCAero.com
Feb 10, 2016 near Trabuco…, CA
If you made it to the Flag pole - you made it half way! Now watch out for speed on the descent and some obstacles on the descent - be careful they come up fast! Better safe then sorry!
Feb 16, 2015 near Trabuco…, CA
My first time riding ‘The Luge’ cautiously.
Nov 26, 2017 near Trabuco…, CA
The scenery from The Luge Trail. Photo by DPCAero.com
Feb 10, 2016 near Trabuco…, CA

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