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-   -   Best (travel worthy) routes in SoCal (https://www.bikeforums.net/southern-california/1208404-best-travel-worthy-routes-socal.html)

btppberk 07-24-20 07:28 PM

Best (travel worthy) routes in SoCal
 
I just moved to San Diego. I'm probably only going to be able, alas, to live here for a year, so I'd like to bike as much of the region's best biking as I can. Ooga-booga gave me some great recs for San Diego riding in another thread. But now I'm looking for recommendations for the best, travel worthy biking routes in SoCal (up to about San Simeon). Personally, I usually prefer routes in the 30-100 miles range with less suburbs and more nature (King's Ridge Road in NorCal is my absolute favorite), but I'd love to hear any recommendations for routes or even just general destinations (e.g. Solvang). What routes and destinations should I prioritize?

ooga-booga 07-24-20 10:45 PM

besides the san diego county stuff mentioned elsewhere:

anything along the coast from the edge of san diego county (san onofre state beach) north to san simeon...with the exception of wilmington (squeezed between long beach and san pedro).

ca hwy 74 from east hemet to the 74/371 junction. ca hwy 243 intersects ca hwy 74 six miles south of idyllwild. bring your climbing bike for the 74 and/or the 243 but scenic.

joshua tree national park...park blvd and the west entrance to jumbo rocks campground (roughly 50 miles round trip) and back.

death valley national park. use the furnace creek area as a staging area (supplies) and head south towards badwater and artist's palette. 50 miles. head east uphill to dante's view and
the zabriskie point viewpoint. 50 miles.

san bernardino mtns...ca hwy 18 from the lake gregory/arrowhead area southeast towards big bear lake and around big bear lake and back. 50 miles.

san gabriel mtns north of la...ca hwy 2 (angeles crest highway-ach). any stretch from la cañada to wrightwood.

glendora mountain rd/glendora ridge rd (gmr/grr) probably the best mountain road in socal. 40+ miles from the base to mt. baldy village and back. north of the azusa/glendora/210 fwy area.

palos verdes peninsula...south bay area of la. concentrate on the winding roads/climbs/descents in the town of palos verdes estates and you'll be happy.

santa monica mountains...starting with ca hwy 27 and heading west all the way to point mugu...climbfest, no bad routes.

ojai area...ca hwy 33 from town to the first or second summit. both are awesome.

santa barbara...gibraltar rd and connecting east camino cielo rd.

santa ynez valley...fig(ueroa) mountain rd, happy canyon rd, foxen canyon rd, santa rosa rd.

that's the short roadie list (not including san diego co) i'd want to hit on a road bike if i were leaving socal permanently. there are a bunch near/south/west of san simeon that i'd like to hit but i'm sure someone else can post those. listed + san diego + central coast area is one area at least two weekend trips (and occasionally three) a month.

hope you've got your climbing legs and climbing gears...

btppberk 07-25-20 09:53 PM

Thank you so much ooga-booga! This list is amazing--and I really appreciate your San Diego list too. I can't wait to do these, especially Glendora and some of the rides around 78 that you mentioned in another thread.

You have an amazing knowledge of the area. How long have you been biking in SoCal?

Again, I really appreciate your time and knowledge.

skidder 07-26-20 12:35 PM

I'll just tag onto ooga-booga's posts

Glendora Mt Road/Glendora Ridge Route Rd up to Mt. Baldy Village. If you're a real glutton for punishment you can proceed farther up, past the Icehouse Canyon turn off, and tackle the switchbacks up to the Mt. Baldy Ski-lift area. Definitely a sufferfest!

San Luis Obispo south to (fill-in-your-location-here). Multi-day trip. Take Amtrak up to SLO and ride back along the coast. plenty of threads about this is BF, and its got nice views in its northern aspect, 'interesting' view farther south in the L.A./OC area (people watching). Pretty interesting. These days you'll probably end in San Clemente and take the train back to San Diego from there since Camp Pendelton's bicycle access has gotten pretty restrictive lately.

River Trails in the L.A. area. Try the Santa Ana River Trail (SART)and/or the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT). Kinda boring, flat paved trails along the top to river levees, but the rides will give you some perspective when you go back to northern California. SART has a tricky part in the center (Yorba Linda to Corona), someone else might be able to chime in on that, but you could ride up from the beach to Yorba Linda and back for a decent 50 mile day.

btppberk 07-26-20 01:09 PM

Thanks for the ideas, Skidder. I'm not quite sure I follow you about why do the SART if its kinda boring?

Any idea when Pendelton will start issuing permits again? Not until we have a vaccine?

CAT7RDR 07-26-20 01:18 PM

If you find yourself in the OC, it is worth trekking the 1984 Olympic Road Course in Mission Viejo and you can easily connect with El Toro Rd-Santiago Cyn Rd, Live Oak Cyn-Trabuco Cyn, Silverado/Modjeska Cyns for mild climbing and decent scenery without traffic stops.

skidder 07-26-20 08:54 PM


Originally Posted by btppberk (Post 21608012)
Thanks for the ideas, Skidder. I'm not quite sure I follow you about why do the SART if its kinda boring?

Any idea when Pendelton will start issuing permits again? Not until we have a vaccine?

SART - Ride it at least once just to get a 'perspective' so you know what its like if you see news reports about it. Example: There was a large homeless encampment along it next to Angel Stadium in Anaheim a few years ago, and anyone outside the are might not have known where it was. You can get some type of a workout on it if you keep up speed and take all the street underpasses aggressively, plus the afternoon 'on-shore' wind flow as you near the beach can be tough (headwinds of10mph, sometimes up to 20mph). I'd suggest starting and ending in Huntington Beach so you have a nice spot to begin/end, and there are plenty of neighborhoods to park in around HB. ey teamYou also pass Angel Stadium (Angels baseball team),the Honda Center (Anaheim Ducks hockey team), and go by the oddly round shaped Amtrak station between the two.

Camp Pendelton - Not sure when it'll go back to easy access for bicyclists, its up to the base commander and I'll bet a lot rests of COVID-19's spread and the latest terrorist 'intell' from around the world. If you didn't want to go Amtrak through the base you could ride the shoulder of I-5 (I wouldn't recommend it).

ooga-booga 07-26-20 10:12 PM


Originally Posted by skidder (Post 21607957)
I'll just tag onto ooga-booga's posts

Glendora Mt Road/Glendora Ridge Route Rd up to Mt. Baldy Village. If you're a real glutton for punishment you can proceed farther up, past the Icehouse Canyon turn off, and tackle the switchbacks up to the Mt. Baldy Ski-lift area. Definitely a sufferfest!

San Luis Obispo south to (fill-in-your-location-here). Multi-day trip. Take Amtrak up to SLO and ride back along the coast. plenty of threads about this is BF, and its got nice views in its northern aspect, 'interesting' view farther south in the L.A./OC area (people watching). Pretty interesting. These days you'll probably end in San Clemente and take the train back to San Diego from there since Camp Pendelton's bicycle access has gotten pretty restrictive lately.

River Trails in the L.A. area. Try the Santa Ana River Trail (SART)and/or the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT). Kinda boring, flat paved trails along the top to river levees, but the rides will give you some perspective when you go back to northern California. SART has a tricky part in the center (Yorba Linda to Corona), someone else might be able to chime in on that, but you could ride up from the beach to Yorba Linda and back for a decent 50 mile day.

any time i'm headed up to central coast, i check my to do list and compare it to the listed rides here. a lot of super helpful info on central coast possibilities/info so keep scrolling down...
Rides - SLOBC


a necessary evil/help with the north/south river trails in the la/oc area. they do a great job of moving you north/south. if you dispute that, try heading east/west in the la basin
(not including beach paths from long beach to newport beach). sometimes, they help to get (closer) to a destination like the la habra hills, downtown city of orange, the beach or
the (climbing) base of the 39. not perfect but oftimes, a good place to just crush miles. my personal fave is the la river trail from south of dtown la (vernon) all the way to long beach.
i can't generally recommend trying to enter/exit the northern half near dtown la tho...it's pretty hairy. lots of blah roads, fast traffic and 18-wheelers.

ooga-booga 07-26-20 10:16 PM


Originally Posted by btppberk (Post 21608012)
Thanks for the ideas, Skidder. I'm not quite sure I follow you about why do the SART if its kinda boring?

Any idea when Pendelton will start issuing permits again? Not until we have a vaccine?

my yearly pass expires on july 30th. will try to (re)obtain the yearly renewal probably on the 31st. i'll post the success/failure experience in the applicable socal thread.

adamhenry 07-27-20 01:32 AM

According to this page, issuance of new and renewal of bike passes for recreational biking in Pendleton is shut down until further notice.

Tycho Brahe 07-27-20 10:16 AM


san gabriel mtns north of la...ca hwy 2 (angeles crest highway-ach). any stretch from la cañada to wrightwood.
We all know the SoCal does not have the most vibrant flora. The scenery is either green or brown, depending on the time of year. I find the initial part both boring and full of cars. It gets better once you past the intersection to Mt Wilson and it gets really nice once you start getting pine trees around 5K feet. The part from Charlton Flat up to Dawson Saddle and down to Wrightwood is especially nice.

Most love GMR/GRR, but I also like the 38, although it can have a car problem on the initial part before the east fork. The switchbacks before Crystal Springs is one of my favorite spots. They go east-west and you have a perfect view of the valley to the south.

I love riding in the Hollywood Hills, especially in the Beverly Hills/Bel Air. Amazing houses, especially if you go off the main road. These hills are very steep, so make sure you like to climb.

btppberk 07-27-20 12:17 PM


Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe (Post 21609459)
We all know the SoCal does not have the most vibrant flora.

That's true, but apparently San Diego county is the most biodiverse county in the United States, and I imagine the rest of SoCal isn't too far behind.

Thanks for the route recs!

mattcalifornia 07-28-20 03:26 PM

You should definitely check out the numerous canyon roads in the hills above Malibu (including Agoura Hills and Calabasas). There are almost too many to mention, but Decker Canyon, Latigo, Las Flores, Rambla Pacifio, Mulholland Hwy., Fernwood, Tuna Canyon (careful there!), Old Topanga Canyon, Stunt Road, etc. Just check out a map or other people's rides on Strava. Definitely some of the best riding in SoCal.

There is also a lot of surprisingly good climbing in the Hollywood Hills up to Mulholland (which includes Beverly Hills and Bel Air). A lot of the roads have very little traffic and lots of big shady trees -- not to mention zillion dollar mansions on many of the streets. It's surprising how good the riding is there, and it will give you a good taste of LA with occasional views out over the LA basin and SF Valley.

btppberk 07-28-20 11:03 PM


Originally Posted by mattcalifornia (Post 21611938)
You should definitely check out the numerous canyon roads in the hills above Malibu (including Agoura Hills and Calabasas). There are almost too many to mention, but Decker Canyon, Latigo, Las Flores, Rambla Pacifio, Mulholland Hwy., Fernwood, Tuna Canyon (careful there!), Old Topanga Canyon, Stunt Road, etc. Just check out a map or other people's rides on Strava. Definitely some of the best riding in SoCal.

There is also a lot of surprisingly good climbing in the Hollywood Hills up to Mulholland (which includes Beverly Hills and Bel Air). A lot of the roads have very little traffic and lots of big shady trees -- not to mention zillion dollar mansions on many of the streets. It's surprising how good the riding is there, and it will give you a good taste of LA with occasional views out over the LA basin and SF Valley.

Thanks for the tips! I have wanted to ride Mulholland. It would be fun to see how the LA rich compares to San Diego's. The latest tendency down here in places like La Jolla is to build truly immense gates as if a Shogun or Medici prince lives behind it.

btppberk 06-03-21 10:25 PM

I've finally got a few days early next week to explore biking in greater LA area and I am hoping to get some help prioritizing--I may only be able to do one or two days. It seems that GMR/GRR is at the top of the most lists. Then I'm thinking maybe something in the Santa Monica Mountains? I also have read a ton of praise for Gibraltar in Santa Barbara. Any thoughts on what to prioritize would be greatly appreciated.

ooga-booga 06-04-21 02:15 AM

in order:

1. gmr/grr from the base to mt. baldy village (and up to the lifts if you're feeling it) and back.

2. ach/ca hwy 2 from wrightwood up to dawson saddle and back.

3. ca hwy 18 from lake gregory/lake arrowhead area to big bear lake...around big bear lake and baldwin lake...and back.

4. santa monica mtns-point dume area to pch>deer creek > left on yerba buena >left on mulholland > right on kanan dume > left on latigo canyon > right on pch back to start.

5. santa monica mtns-mulholland > stunt > scheuren > piuma > cold canyon or same route in reverse.

santa barbara is a 1.5 hour's drive from la without significant traffic. gibraltar is demanding for sure. i enjoy the top of gibraltar > length of east camino cielo more than the
gibraltar climb tho. love the climb from ojai (about a 50 min drive from la) up ca hwy 33 to the first summit and back. the stretches through matilija creek and the upper parts are really
nice and traffic is low on the weekdays.

would be interested in other top five lists from riders in so cal related to the greater la area..

btppberk 06-09-21 01:35 AM

Thanks, ooga-booga. I did GMR/GRR today and it was great. Maybe 4 cars passed us in our direction all day (excluding Baldy Village up). The mountain scenery was great and the weather perfect. Unfortunately, family obligations prevented me from exploring your other routes, but I hope to get to at least two more this summer! Thanks again!


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