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Thread: Ortega Highway?

  1. #1
    Senior Member devilinblack's Avatar
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    Ortega Highway?

    Just curious if anyone rides Ortega Hwy from SJC up to the mountains. I'd like to maybe ride the mountain bike up there some time to do some camping, but it's been a while since I was on that road and I can't remember how bike friendly it is.

    Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    -stephen



    "And miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

  2. #2
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Isn't Ortega Hwy the one where the sport bikers go crazy? I would be scared of riding my road bike there.
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    Mufflerman Blastinbob's Avatar
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    Don't, too narrow and too many idiots.

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    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Every time I drive that road I think, I wouldn't want to be on my bicycle.
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    Out of Commission OC Roadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbruin
    Every time I drive that road I think, I wouldn't want to be on my bicycle.
    +1 I don't even like to drive Ortega Hwy, it would be an awesome ride, if it was closed to traffic.
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    Old fart redden's Avatar
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    Is it as bad as Mulholland near the Rock Store?
    Whats it like during the week?

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    Senior Member devilinblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blastinbob
    Don't, too narrow and too many idiots.
    That's what I thought I remembered about it. Thanks for the quick responses.
    -stephen



    "And miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

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    Whateverthehell Chucklehead's Avatar
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    great mountain bike trails out there, though.
    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo daVinci

  9. #9
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    roadie NO
    MTB YES!!!!!

    http://www.geoladders.com/show_route...1&route_id=130
    http://www.geoladders.com/show_route...1&route_id=326
    http://www.geoladders.com/show_route...1&route_id=450
    http://www.geoladders.com/show_route...1&route_id=105
    http://www.geoladders.com/show_route...1&route_id=471
    http://www.geoladders.com/show_route...=1&route_id=34

    I've only riden San Juan Up and Down. VERY VERY FUN TRAIL. Watch out for the DH bombers that shuttle that ride. I want to do some more riding up there. SOOOO many new trails I want to try!!!!

  10. #10
    what? Not me... Dan Drew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devilinblack
    Just curious if anyone rides Ortega Hwy from SJC up to the mountains. I'd like to maybe ride the mountain bike up there some time to do some camping, but it's been a while since I was on that road and I can't remember how bike friendly it is.

    Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    You can ride to Caspers Wilderness park on Ortega Highway by road. Then go on dirt from Caspers to Rancho Santa Margarita. Pretty nice ride, only a few riders, and no houses for a good portion.
    This is one of my regular Mt Bike rides, but I start in Rancho and head to Caspers.

    Go through Caspers up to Bell View trail, right at the top of the hill and then nice rollers through dirt for the next 8-10 miles.
    Virtually impossible to get lost.

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    We just need a critical mass ride out there some day. One bike a problem, 30 bikes no problem.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pico's Avatar
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    I have done the other side from Lake Elsinore to Main Divide Road up and down. I'd say it's no problem descending down to Lake Elsinore but you have to come back up another way (South Main Divide Rd for example). I will never climb from Elsinor to Main Divide Road again, very scary. Riding Ortega between Main Divide Road and SJC is just dumb.

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    30 is ok. 100 would be better.

  14. #14
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    I've done it a few times, all early weekend mornings, all the way from Elsinore to SJC.

    The climb sorta reminds me of 330 on Ride Around the Bear, the switchbacks slow the cars down a bit.

    The first part of the downhill towards SJC is steep enough that you're almost going the speed of traffic. But as it gets less steep further down, you still have to be out in the middle of the lane, even though you're going slower. I used my glasses mounted mirror to scan back and then move over at a straightaway, wider spot, or a turnout in order to let traffic pass. If you're not out in the lane and stay close to the right edge the whole time, you'll get passed really closely and you'll run into trouble with debris and other stuff on the right edge.

    I never felt in any danger, but I certainly wouldn't do that ride without a mirror to help with the turnouts. I thought the wilder sport bikers were more of a danger to themselves than to me. Even so, if I were to put my bike in the car and drive out to the base of a climb to do some riding, there's many other roads I would probably choose first.

    BTW, I know that a shoulder widening project in is in the works. The construction was supposed to start by now, is that the case?

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    Just wondering if Ortega Hwy (74) is still not a recommended route 4 years after this thread was made?

    I remember hearing about some roadies riding from the OC to Lake Elsinore and taking Hwy 74 there; I have never been on Hwy 74 but it seems to be the only way from Irvine to Lake Elsinore. I was contemplating doing a century in the next few weeks starting from Irvine, to Mission Viejo, taking Hwy 74 to Lake Elsinore, then going north to Corona, and coming back to the OC via SART by the 91 (something like this). I'm not local to the OC but I do visit friends out here every now and then, and I try to get in some riding while I am in the area. Any comments regarding my proposed route, or Hwy 74 appreciated.
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

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    aka Jerome CritEastwood's Avatar
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    prepare for teh old thread sinksorsz
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    not so fast, jeronimo. apparently the Ortega Highway Safety Improvement Project took place while this thread was dormant.
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  18. #18
    aka Jerome CritEastwood's Avatar
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    Cbadmoderator has been on a sink/close/ban rampage lately, T.
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  19. #19
    surfrider
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    Still not any safer. The 'improvement' project was clearing some of the loose rock off the steeper slopes and adding heavy guard railing to keep cars (and motorcycles) from going over the side of the road into the San Juan Creek canyon around the Orange County/Riverside County line. That's a tight section of road even under the best conditions. The lower area suggested in an earlier post (SJC to Caspers Park) would be OK, so would the upper section from the Candy Store/San Juan Loop trail parking lot to El Cariso. Better yet would be to take an MTB up from Elsinore to El Cariso (I beleive there's still a fire road thats accessible), then on to the Main Divide for a ride up to Santiage Peak.

    If you really want to do the climb from SJC to El Cariso, try it on a holiday. I was up there hiking Sitton Peak on New Years Day 2010 and there were almost no cars (even in the early afternoon).

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    If you want to ride your MTB up to camp, ride it up the San Juan Trail - ends right at Blue Jay CG.
    Ortega is still no better, I wouldn't ride it.
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    aka Jerome CritEastwood's Avatar
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    I wouldn't ride Carbon Canyon Road in the daytime (especially during rush hours), but find it quite fun at 0300 in the darkness. I'll have to hit up Ortega one of these nights.
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  22. #22
    Dagger Boy Extort's Avatar
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    Carbon Canyon isn't too bad, and I actually felt safer there than while riding Ortega a few years ago. The 'widening' project did not do much for the shoulders as it was set up to create more space in the middle of the road to keep cars apart from each other.

    Can you do it? Sure, but I don't advise it.
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  23. #23
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    Carbon Canyon isn't bad at all.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Roadie View Post
    +1 I don't even like to drive Ortega Hwy, it would be an awesome ride, if it was closed to traffic.
    That would be nice for the Tour of California, with the road closed and all.

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    Trying to revive this thread again, so looks like on bing maps there is "old" ortega highway dirt road paralleling the main 74 as far as caspers? Anybody ridden that?

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