“Enjoy a 20-mile loop up wooded valleys and onto singletrack with exposure.”
— David Estes
This is a twenty-mile ride, beginning with a short on-pavement section of Hwy 38 that leads to the decommissioned Mountain Home Creek Rd. This climb varies between wide and narrow singletrack, with some sections on crumbling pavement. This leads to Angelus Oaks, where you ride a technical portion of the Santa Ana River Trail before descending back to the start on Thomas Hunting Grounds Road (1N12)
Need to Know
Mountain Home Creek Rd is locally referred to simply as "Loch Leven." This is a really fun loop that can be done year round, but be careful of the heat as the climb is exposed in places. Once you are at elevation, it is usually very comfortable. In the winter, there can be snow on the SART portion. If it is too much to ride, simply stay on the fire road (Thomas H.G.), which is nearly always open.
The Oaks is a great place to stop and refuel. They have a porch that is comfortable and accommodating. But please be respectful and if you are going to use their toilets, buy a drink or some food.
Park at the trailhead on Warm Springs Truck Trail/Thomas Hunting Grounds Road (1N12)
and proceed to Hwy 38, where you ride on a wide shoulder to Mountain Home Creek Rd. Careful turning left or crossing Hwy 38 as traffic is fast, but you have good sight lines. Alternatively you can pull off on the road to your right, and cross the full highway.
Begin climbing up the road as it passes the Loch Leven Conference Center and proceeds to a locked gate. The old Mountain Home Trail
road is decommissioned and in various states of disrepair. It is a typical SoCal climb, so expect to go all up until you get to Angelus Oaks. At the upper gate, make your way through a residential area and up to the Oaks Restaurant and post office. Take a break and get some fuel if you desire. Please don't use their facilities without buying a little something.
Proceed up the dirt Mountain Home Trail
road beginning immediately behind the store and post office till you can jump on the Santa Ana River Trail (SART) 2E03: Thomas Hunting Grounds Section
at mile 9.0 (The short spur is not marked well, be on the look out). It will intersect with the SART which you turn left on. The next 1.5 miles contain premier mountain singletrack for you to enjoy! there is a short spur section at mile 10.4 which brings you back to the road, and the continuation of the SART on the right. This entrance/continuation may not be marked well. This section of the SART itself is usually in very good shape, but it is on loose decomposed granite and the trail conditions change rapidly with small landslides. There will also be more exposure to your right in this section. Stay frosty.
Beginning at approximately mile 12.3, the SART intersects Thomas Hunting Grounds Rd several times as fast and flowy singletrack. At approximately mile 13.7, you are back on more of an exposed and technical section, again usually in good repair.
Finally at mile 15.6 you are back on fire road on the Thomas Hunting Grounds Road (1N12)
, which you make the next two lefts on to take you back down the mountain to the start.
History & Background
This is the old route up to Angelus Oaks and beyond, prior to Hwy 38 being constructed. There are multiple stone ruins along the road that can be seen to varying degree. Portions of this route are part of the SART Hell Ride route.