This may be the most fun you can have in 10 miles in all of Orange County. Jumps, berms, chunk, speed, technical, you name it. This is awesome.
Parking is deliciously free at the Santiago Hills Park, and a short ride to the trailhead. This 4-stage Enduro ride has a steady build to awesomeness, which is part of what makes it so fun. It's most thrilling section is the final downhill. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...
You'll start out with a short road ride (obey traffic laws, watch out for pedestrians on the sidewalk, etc.). Then you'll enter the trail center on a short, flat, fire road. Make sure to hang a left onto the singletrack, which will provide more excitement than the flat, straight fire road on your way to the bottom of Chutes
climb is a switchback beast, and will definitely get you huffing and puffing. Just when you think you've reached the summit, you'll realize that you still have to climb to the top of Barham Ridge
, which is a fairly steep fireroad. By the time you reach the true summit, you've done the hardest and longest climb of the day, and you are rewarded with a nice downhill.
is a loop with tight switchbacks on the way down with some opportunities for speed and air, but don't get to comfortable because you'll be heading right back up at the bottom of the fun downhill and you'll need your wits about you to clear a few tight uphill switchbacks and chunky technical punchy climbs.
Now perched at the top of Barham Ridge
once again you may take a quick breather and soak in the view. You won't have time to absorb that view later, because you are about to absolutely bomb the Barham Ridge
downhill and roll right into Cactus Canyon
for a thrilling, fast downhill with great berms and technical features that will send the wind through those helmet vents to cool you off.
At the bottom of Cactus Canyon
is a sharp uphill turn that leaves you climbing the short Bumble Bee
trail towards Grasshopper Trail
. The climb is a small price to pay for the short but thrilling Grasshopper Trail
. In the first third of Grasshopper Trail
is a steep rocky decent and a cheater line that goes around it. Extra credit (and faster times) go to the brave who best that rocky drop. Otherwise, Grasshopper Trail
should give you the opportunity to fly over some rocky bits at speed, but it doesn't last too long.
With a short traverse on a fire road (watch for horses - if you see them ride very slow, dismount to let them pass, or ride well behind them), you'll approach the bottom of your final climb of the ride, Mountain Goat Enhancement Trail
. Be sure to stay off Mountain Goat
downhill trail - it will be much harder to climb and you'll be going against traffic. Mountain Goat Enhancement Trail
is long and especially grueling at the end of this Enduro ride, but just keep in mind the reward you have waiting: the famed Chutes Ridgeline
downhill, arguably the most exciting downhill of the day.
starts with a steep rocky decent. If you've never ridden it you may want to inspect your line choice, although if you get your hips back and stay right you should come out okay. What ensues is a ripping combination of berms and small jumps, a short uphill sprint on top the ridge before dropping once again into a thrilling roller coaster of berms, triples, fast descents, and fun.
By the time you reach the bottom you'll have a hard time containing your joy with what can only be described as the most fun 10 miles in Orange County. Ride back to the parking lot the way you came, and good luck ever being satisfied again.