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The Wheel Deal

May 23, 1997

Orange County offers mountain bikers lots of places to explore life on two wheels. If you go, take plenty of water, as most trails do not have drinking fountains. Parking fees vary from no charge to $6 for state parks. A look at local parks open to mountain biking:

Aliso/Wood Canyons Regional Park

Five trails offer hilly terrain and some steep climbs across 5,000 acres

Trail lengths: 5-10 miles

Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate

Elevation: 100-1,036+ feet

Restrooms: At Alta Laguna Park

Parking: Off La Paz Road or Alta Laguna Park in Laguna Beach

Chino Hills State Park

12,000 acres of oak-dotted hills, valleys and streams; has east and west entrances

Trail lengths: 4-14 miles

Difficulty: Mostly intermediate

Elevation: 400-1,700+ feet

Restrooms: At parking lot

Parking: Off Soquel Canyon Drive or Carbon Canyon Highway

Crystal Cove State Park (Moro Canyon)

Coastal canyons give these 3,000 acres lush, yet challenging, rides

Trail lengths: 6 miles

Difficulty: One beginner trail; very steep terrain on others

Elevation: 400-1,000+ feet

Restrooms: At parking lot

Parking: Off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach

Gen. Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

It takes about an hour to cover the county's smallest wilderness park

Trail lengths: 1.8-2.2 miles

Difficulty: Beginning and low intermediate

Elevation: Rolling terrain, minimal climbs

Restrooms: At entrance

Parking: Off Oso Parkway near Coto de Caza Drive

O'Neill Regional Park

Two major loops wind along ridges and ravines; hikers and equestrians use different trails

Trail lengths: 3.25 and 4.25 miles

Difficulty: Strong beginner and intermediate

Elevation: 300-1,492 feet

Restrooms: At parking lot and campsites

Parking: Trabuco Canyon and Live Oak Canyon roads

Peters Canyon Regional Park

Flat terrain makes this a great place for novice riders to gain trail experience

Trail lengths: 1.5-4.4 miles

Difficulty: Mostly beginner, with some challenging sections

Elevation: Approximately 100 feet

Restrooms: At parking lot; no drinking water

Parking: At northern entrance only, off Canyon View Avenue near Jamboree Road

Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park

Mountain bikes allowed on dirt roads only; a nature preserve is also off-limits

Trail lengths: More than 25 miles available

Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate

Elevation: 400-1,500 feet

Restrooms: At entrance, throughout park and campsites

Parking: Off Ortega Highway

Santiago Regional Park/Anaheim Hills

These 250 acres offer challenging trails for intermediate riders

Trail lengths: 2.5-6 miles

Difficulty: Strong intermediate

Elevation: 400-1,152 feet

Restrooms: At entrance only

Parking: Entrance at Windes Drive off Santiago Canyon Drive, bring $2 to feed parking meter; for Anaheim Hills Ridge trails system, park at corner of Serrano Avenue and Nohl Ranch Road

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Five trails wind through 1,500 acres of oak-shaded valleys and high grassy ridges

Trail lengths: 3.8-5.6 miles

Difficulty: Beginner and intermediate

Elevation: 750-1,624 feet

Restrooms: At entrance only

Parking: Off Portola Parkway, near Bake Parkway

Source: "Mountain Biking the Coast Range" by Robert Rasmussen

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