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Orange County's Steepest Hills

Old 07-17-11, 11:56 AM
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Infinitedreams
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Orange County's Steepest Hills

I live in Lake Forest and usually bike the Santiago Canyon Bike Trail...

There are a few hills and steep grades but nothing too bad on that route with the exception of one hill: located on the cross street of ridgeline and El Toro (Portola Hills)? Any South OC locals know the one I'm talking about and what the grade is on that ridgeline hill right before Cook's Corner?

I can't get up it and rarely any see any bikers going up it though I have seen riders go up it a few times with far more success than I.

What other hills here in OC are world beaters? I imagine maybe Laguna Beach and maybe RSM have some steep hills?

One hill at a time but I have my mind set on conquering ridgeline but I'd really like to know what the grade is on that puppy if anyone knows.
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Old 07-17-11, 01:15 PM
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Ridgeline is mostly 10 percent +- ...right past the fire station there's a section 15-16 percent. A few more short,steep hills in your area , Modjeska Grade,Live Oak, Vista Del Lago ......FWIW maybe build up to Ridgeline by doing Santiago from Cook's up to the top a few times
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Old 07-17-11, 01:27 PM
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Thanks! Santiago to Orange is what I try and do normally on the weekends but I pass by ridgeline whereas I could use it to pass cooks and land back on Santiago Canyon.

Ridgleline..the whole thing from the fire station on seems about the same to me. Grade doesn't appear to change very much at all (to me) but that could be from the oxygen debt.

I'll check out some of the others once I conquer ridgleline. I imagine Saddleback Ranch Road leading up to Portola Hills is pretty sporty as well.

Must...build...up....stamina....!

Gives me something to look forward to and look forward to the climbing challenges.

Last edited by Infinitedreams; 07-17-11 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 07-17-11, 02:39 PM
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Not really hills but 3rd St. in Laguna is like 12% for 200 ft, Lemon Heights near Tustin is 15% for 300 ft.
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Old 07-17-11, 03:04 PM
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(Ridgleline..the whole thing from the fire station on seems about the same to me. Grade doesn't appear to change very much at all (to me) )
lol..it's all steep...but there are steeper sections.....ridgeline is one of the climbs where, everytime ,halfway up i'm thinkin why do i do this ...it never really gets "easy"
(I'll check out some of the others once I conquer ridgleline. I imagine Saddleback Ranch Road leading up to Portola Hills is pretty sporty as well.)
Saddleback Ranch Rd is a nice size training hill...
(Must...build...up....stamina....!

Gives me something to look forward to and look forward to the climbing challenges.[/QUOTE])

Last edited by rideroli; 07-17-11 at 03:07 PM. Reason: quote clarification
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Old 07-17-11, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ********** View Post
Not really hills but 3rd St. in Laguna is like 12% for 200 ft, Lemon Heights near Tustin is 15% for 300 ft.
I going to have to compile a list!

I think I have it in my mind to conquer to all of OC's steepest hills.

Going to head over to ridgleline in an hour or two.
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Old 07-17-11, 08:40 PM
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OC doesn't have any paved roads that can be called world beaters, but there plenty enough that are plenty tough. We have epic unpaved climbs to to the top of Santiago Peak, but nothing on pavement like Glendora Mountain Road in the San Gabriel Mtns.

Another good hill in the south end of OC is Pacific Island Drive in Laguna Niguel. Of course, Laguna Beach has a bunch of tough climbs that head up towards top of the world.

Another great uphill training route is to turn from Santiago Canyon onto Silverado Canyon. It is about 6 beautiful miles up to the "gate" and Cleveland Nat'l Forest parking area. There is not much shoulder on this road, so when I ride up there it is usually early on a Sunday morning. You can continue several miles past the gate on a one lane paved section of the road closed to cars. That climb has some very tough sections where you end at around elevation 3400' (approx).

Not sure what kind of bike your are pedaling on. I am not ashamed to put my triple front chainrings to full use when heading the long steep hills. My speed drops to about 5 mph going up Ridgeline, but I don't fall over sideways and I still move uphill while sitting comfortably on the saddle.
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Old 07-18-11, 08:04 AM
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I'm riding a CAAD 10 2011.

I hit ridgleline yesterday and I had to stop twice before making it to the top. My lungs were completely out of air both times. Fell over once as it gets difficult for me to clip in starting half-way up the hill. You really can't garner too much momentum going up ridgeline as there are a decent amount of cars pulling up El Toro; at least I can't or wouldn't want to chance it.

Maybe next few attempts it will take me 2 tries again and then hopefully eventually 1 and then one day I'll make the whole damn thing. It's really for me not only building up the strength in my legs but also my cardio. Seems my lungs give out before my legs.
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Old 07-18-11, 11:42 AM
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Don't forget PID (Pacific Island Drive). Actually riding al around that area (Dana Point/Laguna Hills) is hilly. Areas like Wood Canyon, Alisa Creek from El Toro etc.

Instead of using Ridgeline as your training climb, I suggest going up Glenn Ranch (from Portola) to Saddleback Ranch (left off Glenn Ranch) and take that to Ridgeline and down to Santiago Canyon Rd (the climb will seem like forever!). And as if that was not enough you can cruise back down to Glenn Ranch and come up from El Toro and back to Saddleback Ranch and go down RIdgeline the other way. Actually better to work on getting your rhythem and stamina first and then tackle the impossibly steep.
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Old 07-19-11, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Instead of using Ridgeline as your training climb, I suggest going up Glenn Ranch (from Portola) to Saddleback Ranch (left off Glenn Ranch) and take that to Ridgeline and down to Santiago Canyon Rd (the climb will seem like forever!).
That climb is even longer!

I'm not sure it's as steep (it just might be).

I got my work cut out for me. One hill at a time!

I'll take a cruise by Glenn Ranch Road and see if I can muster the courage.
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Old 07-19-11, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Infinitedreams View Post
That climb is even longer!

I'm not sure it's as steep (it just might be).

I'll take a cruise by Glenn Ranch Road and see if I can muster the courage.
Not as steep but definately longer... it is a training hill. I suggest do it when the weather is cooler or early in the am or late in the day. There is no shade and the heat is brutal on the climb.
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Old 07-20-11, 04:45 AM
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Hidden Hills Road in Yorba Linda is the toughest sustained climb in OC, IMO. It's about 2 miles long as I remember (haven't done it since February) and the grade stays pretty consistently double digit, except for a short flat section near the beginning and a shorter flat section in the middle, followed by a section that is 14-15%.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:05 PM
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You want steep? Modjeska Grade is not long, but gets in the high teens % wise.
Want the most climbing in the fewest miles in OC? Seven Sisters will probably do that.
40.6 miles 5878 ft of climbing.
Seven Sisters Geoladders

If that's too much and you want a decent little climbing time trial, see this.
Hicks Haul Road Time Trial
Hicks Haul Road Geoladders

I signed up for that one and should be there. It's really low key and gives you perspective on where you are. Takes me ~42 minutes and the fastest guys are about 25.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:10 PM
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It would be great if the toll roads allowed bikes. Then we'd have the 73 northbound from Laguna Canyon to the toll plaza and the 241 from the 91 up to the toll plaza. Both serious sustained climbs.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 2intune View Post
It would be great if the toll roads allowed bikes. Then we'd have the 73 northbound from Laguna Canyon to the toll plaza and the 241 from the 91 up to the toll plaza. Both serious sustained climbs.
Get a transponder and try? ha
Those would be some serious climbs.
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Old 07-24-11, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ********** View Post
Not really hills but 3rd St. in Laguna is like 12% for 200 ft.
It's actually a lot steeper, my garmin had it at 27%.
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Old 07-25-11, 06:35 PM
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The only one that absolutely kills me is Cannon Road coming from SART back to Santiago/Chapman. That is a miserable climb and the only one in OC that I have had to dismount and walk my bike up! I finally got strong enough to do it without stopping but it's rough.

I've done Silverado Canyon probably 30 times and it's not really that tough. It's got tough parts but there are a lot of breaks and it's rolling so after pushing hard for a couple minutes you can rest for a couple. There ain't no resting on Cannon and it's a long ride.

I'm a fat guy - 6'2 and 200 pounds now. I was 185 for a long time but started eating like crazy and riding a lot less. If you can do Cannon without problems you're gonna be ok!
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Old 07-25-11, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Jams Army View Post
Hidden Hills Road in Yorba Linda is the toughest sustained climb in OC, IMO. It's about 2 miles long as I remember (haven't done it since February) and the grade stays pretty consistently double digit, except for a short flat section near the beginning and a shorter flat section in the middle, followed by a section that is 14-15%.
Camino De Bryant at the end of La Palma is tougher. A favorite route of mine was Camino De Bryant - Hidden Hills (felt much easier by comparison) - San Antonio; with the extra credit Casino Ridge climb. It was great training for LA mountains.
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Old 07-25-11, 11:21 PM
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Okay here is the hit list created from suggestions in this thread. One a time though….

1. Modjeska Grade
2. Live Oak off Santiago Canyon
3. Vista Del Lago in Mission Viejo
4. 3rd St. in Laguna
5. Lemon Heights near Tustin
6. Pacific Island Drive in Laguna Niguel
7. Hidden Hills Road in Yorba Linda
8. from Santiago Canyon onto Silverado Canyon
9. Cannon Road coming from SART back to Santiago/Chapman.
10. Camino De Bryant at the end of La Palma
11. Ridgeline

Ridgeline makes the list because….it’s my list!

What I find interesting when riding is that some hills appear very steep and yet aren’t that difficult to climb and then there are others which don’t look very imposing yet get be a serious pain in the butt. It’s like an optical illusion or something…I don’t get it.
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Old 07-26-11, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Infinitedreams View Post
Okay here is the hit list created from suggestions in this thread. One a time though….

1. Modjeska Grade
2. Live Oak off Santiago Canyon
3. Vista Del Lago in Mission Viejo
4. 3rd St. in Laguna
5. Lemon Heights near Tustin
6. Pacific Island Drive in Laguna Niguel
7. Hidden Hills Road in Yorba Linda
8. from Santiago Canyon onto Silverado Canyon
9. Cannon Road coming from SART back to Santiago/Chapman.
10. Camino De Bryant at the end of La Palma
11. Ridgeline

Ridgeline makes the list because….it’s my list!

What I find interesting when riding is that some hills appear very steep and yet aren’t that difficult to climb and then there are others which don’t look very imposing yet get be a serious pain in the butt. It’s like an optical illusion or something…I don’t get it.
Mapified version of your list (yes I was bored at work this morning)
OC's Steepest Climbs

I've managed to knock off #1, #9 (but northbound), #10, #11 and Saddleback (which probably isn't crazy, but one of my favorites).
Now for the real fun; who's ready to make a day (~70miles probably?) of hitting all of these climbs? Whoever comes up with the best route linking them all wins.
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Old 07-26-11, 12:09 PM
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This is the best thread ever! I'll have to ride down and 'do' the seven sisters soon.

Originally Posted by Uncle Jams Army View Post
Hidden Hills Road in Yorba Linda is the toughest sustained climb in OC, IMO. It's about 2 miles long as I remember (haven't done it since February) and the grade stays pretty consistently double digit, except for a short flat section near the beginning and a shorter flat section in the middle, followed by a section that is 14-15%.
I don't remember hidden hills road being double digits % most of the way. From what I recall it was 6-10%. It is indeed about a 2mi climb, and its a good one. First place I ever broke a chain. Fond memories. Great place for hill repeats off the SART. You'll get 1000ft or so each repeat, and during weekdays the road is empty aside from a few construction workers and lawn care folks.
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Old 07-26-11, 12:56 PM
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Added another one to your list.

Originally Posted by Infinitedreams View Post
Okay here is the hit list created from suggestions in this thread. One a time though….

1. Modjeska Grade
2. Live Oak off Santiago Canyon
3. Vista Del Lago in Mission Viejo
4. 3rd St. in Laguna
5. Lemon Heights near Tustin
6. Pacific Island Drive in Laguna Niguel
7. Hidden Hills Road in Yorba Linda
8. from Santiago Canyon onto Silverado Canyon
9. Cannon Road coming from SART back to Santiago/Chapman.
9.1 Imperial from SART is a good hill at 1.2 Miles and I think it is tougher than Cannon. I like riding from SART up Imperial, turn Left on Cannon and then U-TURN at Wier and ride it in reverse.
10. Camino De Bryant at the end of La Palma
11. Ridgeline
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Old 07-26-11, 01:15 PM
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Yes, Imperial from SART is a good challenge. The first time I tried that, I had gone 45 miles already and wasn't really expecting it. I walked it up the last half - the first and only time I've done that. If I were closer, I'd try it more fresh - but for now I'm leaving that one alone until I get more strength. For now I'm sticking to Newport Coast and Shady Canyon - those hills are nothing compared to the above list, but it's good place to start.
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Old 07-27-11, 05:17 PM
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cove rd./scenic dr. in dana point harbor seems to be pretty steep, although the climb is quite short. supposedly it hits 18+%.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hughb/2...n/photostream/
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Old 07-27-11, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by fly:yes/land:no View Post
cove rd./scenic dr. in dana point harbor seems to be pretty steep, although the climb is quite short. supposedly it hits 18+%.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hughb/2...n/photostream/
I have done this hill several times and my GPS will display 22-24% towards the second half... It is a knee buster.... Make sure to be in the right gear because it gets really steep when reach the curve.
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