- Friday, April 19, 2024

Southern California Trails

  • Harding Truck Trail - #HardingTruckTrail

    Socal - Orange County - Modjeska NickNames: #HardingTruckTrail

    Take El Toro road exit off I5. Go east until it turns into S18 (Santiago Cyn Rd.) Or, Take Santiago Cyn Rd. east from the corner of Chapman and Jamboree in Orange. Take S18 to Modjeska Cyn Road. Follow Modjeska Cyn Road east to the end. On your right (south side of Modjeska Cyn) you will see a wildlife sanctuary. Park on the gravel pad on that side.The trailhead is on the north side of Modjeska Cyn up a 50 feet paved drive. The trail starts at the metal truck gate with bike access on the right side. Get ready to climb, because it is an almost continuous ascent up the fire road. Also, dress warmly. puddles near the summit will be frozen in winter months. Thomas Guide page 832

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    • Trail UpdateSweaty!-I've got a downhill bike that's not at all made for climbing, so of course I try climbing everything I can find then jump off anything I can find. I only made it a little higher than the water tower. Pushed my bike for about 3 hours, then realized I had onl moved about a 1 mile away from the car and had to get to work soon. Turned around, FLYING downhill, on the edge of the cliff the entire time. Hearing my friend in back of me "crap, crap, crap, CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPP!" the whole time. Must do it again, but earlier, and bring more water.
      Hammertong a 24 year old Downhiller riding a Giant Faith from Anaheim


    • Trail UpdateOh My God, That's Snow!-Rode this trail with my Hubby on Sunday Dec. 17th around 2:00pm. The conditions were perfect for a fire road, as it had rained on Sat. I wanted to see what I had gotten us into by signing up for a 50-mile ride on Dec. 30th and this was the first leg of the ride.
      I have read that the average time is a little over 3hrs, so mentally, I just settled into the thoughts that I was in for a long one, I just didnt know how steep. I kept my heart rate at a good pace and by the time I was to the Laurel springs sign, I was pleasantly surprised that I was not winded at all, and the trail was much easier than anticipated.
      By the time the final gate @ 12 miles was in view, It had only taken me 1 and a half hours to reach that point, and I would have reached the gate within another half hour, however, there was snow on both sides of me, and I already lost all feeling in my feet and now my hands, and I needed to get back to my warm toasty car. Needless to say, I absolutely froze on my way back down the hill, but that was due to the lack of clothing that I SHOULD have known was needed,better planning & common sense should have told me that higher elevation = lower temperatures.
      Overall, a good climb, not too hard because it was a gentle incline, just long. The gorgeous views helped to transfer the thoughts of the aching knee, or sore thighs to that of what a beautiful place this is! Great exercise, not a killer like expected.

      pinkfluxshal a 27 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Turner Flux from Temecula, CA


    • Trail UpdateEpic Story-O man was this guys story freaking epic i would suggest reading the whole thing nice job who ever wrote it.
      MBKAlphaDog a 16 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized HardRock Comp from Orange


    • Trail UpdateTackle The Mountain-'What have I gotten myself into here?', I half muttered as I picked my
      way along the Main Divide Road under the trees in the darkness. I had
      just watched the sunset from Santiago Peak, and was now heading
      down, solo, with light from a 3/4 moon and whatever was left on the
      headlight battery from last night's ride. Under the trees, no moon
      shone and low beam on this light wasn't cutting it. I had challenged the
      gods of our local Olympus and they had been gracious enough to allow
      me safe passage to the Summit. I prayed their benevolence would hold
      out for my trip down, the gods can be a fickle lot...

      I parked my truck at the bird sanctuary about quarter to 2 on this
      pleasant January Saturday afternoon. My thoughts were to ride up to
      Main Divide, traverse over to the top of Joplin, drop down through Old
      Camp and work my way out the Truck Trail and back. I've done this
      loop before, but the last time I attempted it, last summer, I was denied
      - too hot, too little water, too wimpy. I was sent packing by the
      mountain - I had no business there that day.

      Today, though warm, was nowhere near the heat of the summer. I had
      been drinking water all morning and finished up 32 oz on the way to
      Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary and had 3 bottles with me. I should be OK.
      Harding Truck Trail is almost 100% uphill, so I had my helmet strapped
      to my fanny pack, along with a spare LS jersey, and of course the
      camera.I hopped on the bike and started up the fireroad.

      Although I immediately encountered some deep rain erosion ruts, the
      road was in pretty good shape overall. In areas there were many baby
      head sized rocks strewn about, but in many other stretches it was like
      the rain had actually washed the road clean. I tried to make mental
      notes of the rutted and rocky areas, as the Plan B ride was just to the
      top of the peak and back down.

      Early on in my ascent, I was passed by another rider on a hardtail Trek,
      a young tattooed twenty-something riding hard past me like he was on
      a mission. I yelled out after him inquiring of his course - he was
      heading up to Main Divide then down Maple Springs. Then he was gone
      around the next corner. I made no attempt to match his pace. At
      probably twice his age, my plan was to keep a steady, if somewhat
      slower, pace up the hill.

      I wasn't 20-25 minutes later when this same rider passed me coming
      back down the hill. I recognized the tats and remarked about how he
      had changed his mind so quickly. Yep, he said, he decided to give up
      his intended course and turn around. He offered no further explanation
      as he passed and I found myself, again, concerned for the youth of this
      nation. Seeming to lack dedication, they may regret in later years not
      having developed the will to see a project through to completion.

      Well, this wasn't going to affect my resolve. With the Vision Quest
      looming in the too near future (and me woefully unprepared for it in
      the conditioning department), I had come to make an epic ride and
      there was nothing going to hold me back. Not fear or common sense.

      I reached Main Divide at the top of Harding about 4:15. The moon was
      rising above the mountains of Big Bear, more to the left was Baldy and
      associated peaks rising out of the haze of San Berdoo, long deep
      shadows cast in the valleys by the late winter sun. Days getting longer
      now (yahoo!) I knew I had about another hour before the sun would
      set. Having ridden Joplin down before under moonlight, and
      remembering the difficulty of that adventure, I opted for plan B - to the
      top of Saddleback.

      The Main Divide across the slope of Modjeska and Santiago peaks is
      always a bit of a struggle. Steep in sections, loose rocks that spin the
      tires and my course constantly being displaced by the rocky surface, I
      struggled just to stay upright and keep some forward momentum.
      Making my way up the flank of Santiago now, and with the sun down
      low on my shoulder and warm, I was getting ever nearer my
      destination. A couple of Edison employees were coming down from the
      peak, safely ensconced within the cab of their service vehicle, windows
      rolled up. As they passed, them coming down in the quickly
      disappearing sun, me still going up, the driver looked at me in
      disbelief, and on they went. But they would not be the last of my

      I was rounding the final corner of the road, just below where you turn
      right to get to the summit, under that antenna forest, when the sound
      of heavy steps on the rocky surface of the road grabbed my attention.
      Something heavy, just out of view, was making its way along the road. I
      pulled to the left and peered over the shrubs, not sure what I was
      about to see. There, looking back up at me and just as startled was - a
      lone hiker just starting down off the summit. We both breathed a sigh
      of relief.

      I rode over to introduce myself. You just don't see that many people up
      this far above the world of men, and I always feel that anyone I meet
      out here is someone with whom I must have a great deal in common.
      This guy, as I spent some talking to him, seemed to be an exception to
      that rule. He had hiked up from Holy Jim to be here under this
      beautifully clear, darkening sky, with the moon overhead and stars
      beginning to appear in the wavering light. Whereas I was immersed in
      the total joy of being here, this little fellow seemed to be nothing but
      angry - angry that he hadn't prepared well enough for the deep creek
      crossings at the bottom of Holy Jim, angry that despite all the clothing
      he had on (much better dressed for the occasion than I) he was still
      cold, blah, blah blah, I finally had to end our conversation lest I be
      drawn into his little downward spiral. I wished him luck on his trip
      down, and rode the last 100 or so yards to the Summit of Mount

      I've been here before under the moon, but always with at least one
      other fool to accompany. Here I was alone at the peak as the last
      vestige of the setting sun slipped beneath the haze over the waters of
      the Pacific Ocean. Calm, peaceful - what an incredible experience. Yet,
      the moon was not as high in the sky yet as I had thought it might be,
      and the darkening twilight was little more so than I had allowed. I put
      on the 2nd jersey I had brought, fixed the light to my helmet, looked at
      that tiny NIMH battery wondering about how much of a charge I had
      left over from last night, and struck off down the road. What, indeed,
      had I gotten myself into?

      I took no time to figure out that the low beam on the light wasn't really
      any better than no beam at all. The bike was being bounced off of all
      kinds of unseen rocks, ruts and roots. Mindful that brighter settings
      would burn whatever battery I had left faster, I rationalized that a
      brighter setting would get me down now and by the time the battery
      gave up, the moon would be high enough in the night sky to properly
      illuminate the road ahead. As I rode down in the deep blue twilight, I
      clung to this thought like a security blanket.

      With the light on middle beam, I was able to see well enough to
      negotiate the fireroad at a relatively quick pace. While being bounced
      around and occasionally coming up quickly on a front tire swallowing
      rut, somehow I settled into a pace that felt, maybe not comfortable,
      but at least sustainable.

      Beyond the beam of my light lay darkness, the moon not high enough
      yet to reach above the ridgeline that shadowed the road. Passing deep
      dark shadows to the left and right, the random sound of the wind in
      the bushes and trees had my spidey senses on high alert. A couple of
      times, hurtling through darkness, intent on discovering whatever
      obstacles lay out there in the dark in front of my tire, I felt as though
      there was something running alongside of me, pacing me. Spooky.......
      Eyes straight ahead, I had to calm my mind and nerves lest I let myself
      get swept up in a wave of paranoia that would do me no good at all. I
      have always enjoyed an adventure - well here I was in the middle of

      When I reached the top of Harding at Main Divide again I had to take a
      break. It was more comfortable here - out in the open, moon higher
      and brighter now, the familiar lights of So Cal below. I have always
      enjoyed this view, found it fulfilling, and tonight was no exception. It
      was breathtaking and all mine. I checked the battery level indicator on
      the light and found it reassuringly (and ultimately incorrectly) at mid
      level. Looking down into the darkness that was Harding Truck Trail, my
      path down, I took off again.

      There were quite a few deep ruts and washouts over this section and I
      had to pick my way carefully through that short downhill sections just
      off Main Divide. Where Harding then turns up from there is for the
      most part under cover of trees. The moonlight did not reach into these
      areas and though my legs were feeling the exertion of the length of the
      ride so far, I pushed hard to maintain speed going up the road. I was
      certain that I could outrun any of the native creatures that might take
      an interest in my passing. Except for my imagination working overtime
      in the dark, the short climb on this stretch was uneventful.

      Harding Truck Trail turned down again and the moon now was high in
      the sky and bright. The night sky itself was inky black and the stars
      shone very brightly against that backdrop. It was an incredible view of
      the Cosmos that one just can't get with the pollution of light in the
      city. It makes me feel at once grand and diminutive in the scheme of
      things. Just one lone soul, pushing the limits of his own confidence,
      here to bask in the glory that is our Universe. I was almost overcome
      emotionally by the majesty of it. I had to ride on.

      Amazingly, the battery held until I was about 20 minutes from the
      bottom and my truck. The light dimmed for a minute, then blinked out
      altogether. The charge indicator wasn't all that accurate, but it didn't
      matter. I had made it this far and the moonlight was now plentiful. I
      took another little break at the bench that is about a mile or two up
      from the bottom of Harding and watched a few bike lights over on
      Santiago Truck Trail make their way down there. I was only a few
      minutes from my truck now.

      As I loaded my bike into the truck, about 20 minutes to 8 PM now, I
      was struck at my good fortune. I have always pushed my limits and had
      done so again. I have always been a believer of Nietze's adage that
      what doesn't kill me only makes me stronger, and I had come away this
      night stronger still. I know this to be a temporary condition that will
      last only until the next time I go out to test myself against the world at
      large. At that time, all bets will be off again. But, for now at least, I had
      again found myself in God's good graces. I had made my assault upon
      that night and returned in one piece. Another test passed, another
      story to tell.......
      Ride distance: 26 miles Elevation change: 3000 +/-
      Dirt Road=100%
      Bobrsta a 50 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized SJ from Aliso viejo


    • Trail UpdateHarding Up And Back-Solo ride on Friday. Ideal conditions. Nice and cool, no gnats, no
      bull, no cats, no mechanicals, clear view -- hammertime!!!
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 27 miles Elevation change: 5100 ft
      Dirt Road=100%
      Gregg a 43 year old Die-hard Enthusiast from SD, CA


    • Trail UpdateHarding TT - Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!!-I started about 9:00a.m., Fri (6-18-04)not knowing about the feast I was to provide. I was doing the one-handed wiper routine after the saddle for the remainder of the way up to the Main Divide. It's a terrific workout. I had a great sweat going, giving plenty of warning to the horse flies, gnats, bees and anything else that was hungry. The temp was fine, but warmed up quickly after the saddle. The ride down was fun!! No Bull sightings. Recommend to go earlier and wear lots of DEET or something.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Mike a 46 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Old MTB, he borrowed from a buddy. from Lake Forest


    • Trail UpdateBull-Rode up Harding yesterday and encountered the big bull at about 8 miles. He lowered his head and stood in the middle of the trail aiming his horns at me like the previous rider described. I sang a little song and proceeded slowly and he stepped aside. It was a little scary when I got real close. I continued the ride to the top and on the way back down the bull was still munching on grass in the same area. I sang the same song as soon as I saw him and he didn't move to block the trail this time. I rode slowly past and he seemed fine.
      Ride distance: 20 miles Elevation change:
      Gerry a 38 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Stumpjumper from Costa Mesa


    • Trail UpdateHarding-Hot climb up to the divide. Trail in very good condition. Lots of big loose boulders though, so watch out cruising down. Lots of bugs. Just a few hikers and a couple bikes. I started my computer at 730, and it was already toasty. Beautiful at the divide, but plan on sharing your Gu with the gnats.
      Soulride a 25 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Cannondale Scalpel 1000 from Irvine


    • Trail UpdateNo Bull, Just Hikers-I figured that with some rain on the way, it might be a good morning to climb Harding and see if I have any fitness.

      Harding has not had any attention in terms of grading the trail in some time and numerous rock slides have turned a fire road into something at least a little more challenging that it used to be. Not singletrack by any means, but at least enough loose rocks and shale to break up the sheer monotony of the climb.

      Other than many hikers sharing the trail and one really fast guy on a titanium S-Works, I did not see any other riders until the first summit prior to the radio/cell towers. I guess the clouds scared them off. What was nice is that the usual infestation of gnats during the last 2 miles of the climb seems to have vanished and that is a very good thing.

      By the way, I just made it back down and loaded prior to the clouds opening up!
      Asphaltcarver a 39 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a 2002 Turner O2 from San Clemente


    • Trail UpdateSo....-I guess this means "We can't shoot the bull"?
      Pain Freak riding a Surly Turner from The 909


    • Trail UpdateAh Bull...-I've seen him a few times and his is BIG.

      Just reported your sighting to the Trabuco district ranger's office. If you see him again, call the district office and report when and where you saw him so perhaps they can remove him. They are at 909.736.1811.


    • Trail UpdateMore Bull !!!-I think the bull that Lagwagon saw on the Joplin trail a couple of months ago is on the Harding trail now. I ran into him yesterday morning. At first, I tried staring him down but this was a solo ride and I hadn't seen anyone else either, so when he lowered his horns, I backed off and headed down. Has anyone else delt with this bull and continued their ride? And what did you do to get him to move?
      Dan a 51 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR from Garden Grove


    • Trail UpdateHarding Gnats Update..-rode harding this weekend and the gnats were not that bad. thats it.


    • Trail UpdateHarding Gnats Confirmed-The post below is probably referring to me. I had someone coming back down who seemed to enjoy my Amityville Horror. My Labor Day trip up Harding ranked in the top 3 worst rides I have ever had. I was literally covered with these little flies; so much so that I was inhaling and exhaling them - I am not exaggerating. If there is a He// made for me it would look just like Monday's ride. I finally turned around and descended Joplin which is very overgrown, but challenging as usual with lots of loose shale and plenty of rocky sections.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 32 miles Elevation change: 3500
      Singletrack=30% Dirt Road=60% Paved Path=10%
      OPP riding a Spider Bullit


    • Trail UpdateGnat Swarm!-Started up about 8:00 on Labor Day. Heat was no problem. About 3000 feet started to get a few gnats- the usual. But by the time I got almost to the saddle, they were so thick I had to ride with one hand and windshield wiper the f*kers away or else suck them in my nose or mouth. Up at the saddle was fine- full sun and dry. But then starting up the final climb to the summit they started again. I turned around. Wasn't quite up for a one handed climb up the 2 miles. Anyway, I passed a few people on my way back down and I must admit I sort of smiled when I saw a guy windshield wipering in the same spot before the saddle.
      Pete a 45 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a GT XCR-1000 from Los Alamitos


    • Trail UpdateYou Picked A Better Wednesday...-Did the same ride a week ago today - that Wednesday when OC got the freak showers. All was well until about a mile before Main Divide, then all hell broke loose. Downhill sucks in the rain - what me bring a jacket?
      Grey a 43 year old Weekend Warrior from LB


    • Trail UpdateHarding To Main Divide-Took a jaunt up Harding this morning to the Main Divide. Had not done this trail as an up and back for a long time, so forgot what a relentless grind it can be. The book ‘Mountain Biking OC’ lists this portion of the trail as just over 9 miles with roughly 3150 feet straight elevation gain (not counting roller coasters).

      Right away you start up, way up. As you look ahead, you will see the switchback rising above you. You eventually reach a high knoll before heading off in a more easterly direction. If you look off to your right, you will see the STT, right before you drop down to ‘The Luge’. After this, the grade seems MUCH easier, eventually taking you to the Main Divide. Great view point, still snow on the mountains to the east.

      The trail is in good condition, it never seems to change. Mostly loose rock over hard pack. There are no technical challenges on this trail, just a big grunt. Also, I would venture to say that Laurel Springs is not in any top-10 tourist destination lists. With that being said, this is a great training ride, and this trail will really test your fitness level. You can really get some good speed on the downhill run, time to carve it up! Only saw one person, a hiker heading down as I was going up. The whole trip took me about two hours at a fair pace.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: ~9 miles Elevation change: ~3150
      Truck Trail=100%
      KujoWabo a 40 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Stumpjumper FSRxc from Laguna Niguel


    • Trail UpdateHey Pilas-What were you riding?I was there,whooped my butt though.It doesn't help that I could hardly get out of bed from being so sore from working out the day (friday) before.Still having never done this way up before, it was a good ride.I was slower then I usually am, but found a great bunch of people to talk to on the way up.I decided to go back down Harding though as I've taken Holy Jim before and just didn't have enough left to make it fun on the way back.Still logged 28+ miles and had a good time.That Team Basso sure has a lot of fast riders.The views are outstanding.That in itself is enough to make the journey.
      Pain Freak a Cross-Country Rider riding a TURNER 02 from Fontana


    • Trail UpdateHarding/Holy Jim/O'Neil-Went out Saturday morning with Team Basso. Nice group of guys.Cloudy at the bottom of Harding, but after the first mile sun came up. It was not a hot day, for Harding standards, so the climb was pretty enjoyable. Took a break at the top of Santiago Peak and you could see the marine layer retreating towards the ocean. The view from the top of Santiago is always awesome. We went down Main Divide to the top of Holy Jim. This strech of M.Divide is a little dangerous, rocky and steep in some areas, you need to control your speed in here. Holy Jim is also lose right now, and the trail is eroding in some areas.We need some rain! Rode out Trabuco Creek, which is a pain in the but, especially on a hardtail.
      Went into O'Neil Park and took a trail that takes you all the way to El Toro road, I belive the trail is called Live Oak, but I'm not sure. From there up past Cook's Corner to Modjeska Grade and down to the Harding trailhead.
      Overall, a good epic ride with a nice group of guys.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 36 miles Elevation change: 4500 or so
      Pilas a 34 year old Cross-Country Rider from Irvine


    • Trail UpdateWhat A Climb!-On Valentines Day I rode 13.5 miles to the tv towers. I think I was damn near the top, but I had to turn back to make it back for the evenings festivities. There was a big X on the trail, which I assumed was a heli pad. I must have been yards from the top. Nice and warm day, not one other rider, just one kitty kat by the rocks.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 27 Elevation change: a lot
      Truck Trail=100%
      Fstr Sk8R a 32 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Diamond Back Apex (Classic Hard Nose) from Irvine


    • Trail UpdateHuman Ice Cube..........-The Monday holiday offered an extra day of riding.
      My S/O had to work so I decided to get in gear for
      the race season starting soon. The temps were
      nice and cool with the clouds hanging over the
      peaks. I thought I’d climb about 7 miles up and
      back. No rough stuff, just needed to take it easy on
      a recent injury. I haven’t climbed Harding for about
      a year and the first time was no picnic. I really
      enjoyed it this time with the walkman on and few
      people around.

      I took a break at Maple Springs (9.3 miles up), then
      started the descent. Within a half mile, I started
      getting really cold! I thought the short climb section
      would warm me up a bit, but the clouds hung over
      with no patches of sun. Fingers and feet were now
      frozen. Nothing like riding on stumps that used to
      feel like feet. Luckily I was clipped to the bike. My
      hands had just enough feeling to pull the brakes,
      but it was a drag to have to have chattering teeth on
      the fun part of the ride.

      Be sure and bring your extra layers this time of
      year. You never realize how cold it is until you stop
      spinning! Next time Joplin will be the down hill
      route. Cheers!

      Ladydirt a Die-hard Enthusiast


    • Trail UpdateJoplin-the trail that you are wondering about is the one that passes the Joplin Detention Center. There is debate over its usage, if you are lucky, you can pass if no one is around. The trail starts at Senior Lekos and up to SST.
      Mauka Rider a 37 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Intense Uzzi SL from R.S.M.


    • Trail UpdateHarding/Santiago Peak/Holly Jim-Great loop ride this morning, although the strong wind made things very hard for an already tough climb up Harding and Main Divide. The trail was in great condition, except the section between Santiago Peak and the top of Holly Jim. This section of Main Divide is pretty loose and rocky. Not a fun downhill, be careful and control your speed in here because is not a very good place to fall. Holly Jim is in very good shape.
      The only problem with this loop is that you have to ride the last ten miles on the road back to the Harding
      parking lot. There is a description in the book Mountain Biking Orange County that mentions that is posible to ride up Joplin Truck Trail to Santiago Truck Trail. Is Joplin TT open and legal? If so, how hard is the climb to STT? If anybody has some info, please post it.It would be a great finish to the loop.
      The advanced rating is not based so much on technical difficulty, but on fitness level.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 34.5miles Elevation change: 4000+
      Pilas a 33 year old Cross-Country Rider


    • Trail Update"Hard"ing Truck Trail-Let me tell you, being a novice this trail sure did kick my butt. After 4.1 miles of pedaling uphill, I had to turn back and decend to the fast and fun trail. The trail is very rocky and definately only has a single track way down, unless you want to ride the rocks stay on this single track. I heard a lot about this trail and is definately a trail to build up stamina and climbing power. I'm going up next week and hopefully will have the strength to make it up to the Main Divide.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 4 Elevation change:
      Kajun a 28 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized FSR XC from Garden Grove, CA




    • Trail UpdateThis trail could soon be closed to mountain bikers. Check the posts below and take action.

      a Cross-Country Rider


    • Trail UpdateHarding Joplin Loop-Rode this for the first time in about 8 yrs. As usual our early morning start turned into 11:00am start.
      The climb is just how i remember it, steep grinds
      with just enough eased up sections to make this a great training ride. We climbed to main divide,the temperature was in the 90's, which made the climb that much more tough, made 2 quick rights & continued up main divide to the joplin trail turn off at 11.8 miles. This is the first time we had ridden joplin,
      this trail is VERY LOOSE & technical, you need excellent bike handling skills to make it through this trail with no dabs. at the 14 mile markwe hit old camp, rested for a few then headed up to Santiago truck trail, past the Luge, down to Modjeska grade rd.
      tuened rt. & back to the Tucker wildlife sanctuary
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 24 Elevation change: 3600
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=50% Paved Path=10%
      Inkpad a 37 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Ellsworth Truth from Aliso viejo, ca.


    • Trail UpdateHuata-Harding-An inspiring 13th stage of the Tour de France and an overcast, cool morning by the OC coast, suckered me into trying one of the few trails in the Santa Ana’s that I had not ridden before. Don’t let the descriptions of this trail scare you away. Although the first two miles are somewhat steep, Harding eases up afterwards and makes for a great workout if you pace yourself, ride within your limits and get ready for a sustained effort. Just don’t make the same mistake I made and start your ride early. There is nowhere to hide on this climb (very little shade) and if the heat doesn’t get you, the bugs looking for any source of moisture, certainly will. Come prepared if you want to go all the way to Modjeska/Santiago peak or just turn around when you had enough!

      Harding seems to be a popular route to the top of Saddleback, probably because the Maple Springs Road and the Silverado Canyon area are closed for the Arroyo Toad breeding season. This trail is used by both bikers and hikers, including families with children. Give right of way!

      It took me about two hours to the top of Modjeska peak (discounting the frustrating time spent fixing two chain breaks, a loose front derailleur and a bent chainring.) It takes a fraction of that time to descend. Even though it is a truck trail, Harding is still a fun and fast downhill, especially if you try to stay on the smoother “singletrack” worn into the road. It is a great way to test your skills, just watch some of the hairpin turns and the loose gravel!

      A good place to park is the Modjeska Country Store on Modjeska Canyon Road. There is safe, ample parking, a latrine for your pre-ride necessities and even picnic grounds for your post-ride snack. The folks at the store seem to appreciate your business. This is also a good place to park if you’re doing one of the big-loops (Next time!)

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 22 miles (prev. posts) Elevation change: 4000 feet (prev. posts)
      Truck Trail=100%
      Whistler a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a GF Hardtail from Laguna Niguel


    • Trail UpdateHarding To Modjeska Peak-Rode Harding to Modjeska Peak on Saturday morning. Started the climb a little after 7. The conditions were great, weather was perfect. Made it to the peak by 9. I stopped to eat my power bar and discovered a rattlesnake taking a sun bath a couple of yards from were I was sitting. Fortunately, my presence didn't bother him. The descent was fun. Some loose rocks near the top of Modjeska Peak. The rest of the trail was in very good condition. There are some loose spots, but you can stick to a line pretty much the whole way down. I recommend an early start for this ride. By the time I got to the bottom(after reparing a flat), it was getting pretty hot.
      A nice workout and a fun ride overall.
      Does anybody know the current conditions at Joplin? I will like to try it next time
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 22 miles Elevation change: about 4000 feet
      Truck Trail=100%
      Pilas a 33 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Hard Tail from Irvine


    • Trail UpdateGoal for Sunday was to ride Harding /Main Divide/Holy Jim as an out and back.Harding is in excellent shape but the higher I went the colder it got.Litle bit of snow at the top and a rapidly lowering cloud cover should have been a clue to take the Motorway to Maplesprings and back to the truck.To dense for that. Continued up Main divide into the ever increasing snow on the ground and what eventually was a constant stream ,pools and all, resulting from the snow melt.Probably would have been OK if the clouds had not now dropped entirely down on to the peak.Soaking wet,getting colder all the time,I could be a story in the register or turn around.I am not ready for my 15 minutes-I bailed.I am hoping that sometime today the feeling will come back to my fingers and toes.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 30 miles Elevation change: 2,500+/-
      Truck Trail=100%
      Martin a 48 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a SpecializedFSR/ from Irvine


    • Trail UpdateHarding Night Ride-I'd been talking about riding Harding as a time trial just for the helluvit, and rode it for the first time on Thursday. Last night was my second experience on Harding and I still don't know what the damn thing looks like in daylight. I was running late, so I didn't hit the bottom gate till 11:05pm. Started hammering from the get go, but had to back off a bit for a few minutes when I realized this hill mandates a warm up. I was trying to beat the rain, and did for the most part on the way up. Terrain was a little loose and rocky in some parts, it looks like a small rock slide happened since this past Thursday. Some flowing water on the trail and the same muddy spots as Thursday, but overall, the trail was very rideable. As the storm moved in, so did the wind. Some nasty head winds in some spots, and I had to dab at one point from a cross wind. There was one hill section that I almost didn't have to peddle up because of the breeze from behind....then again, there was a switchback and all that momentum came to a grinding halt. Hit Main Divide gate at 12:07am, just after the rain (sleet) started. Luckily the rain didn't really get going until a little way back down the mountain, so I was able to finish only half soaked. One of these days I gotta stop doing stupid stuff, but I gotta say, there's no better stress reliever after a long day. Next time: Daylight, dry, sub 60 minute? BTW, I did ride alone (not the best idea), but I told a buddy where I was going. Probably ought not to repeat the ride under these conditions.........wait didn't I say that the last three rides?
      Ride distance: ~19 Elevation change: ugh!
      Dirt Road=100%
      Jeff Jarvis a 31 year old riding a GF Sugar that is screaming for dry daylight riding


    • Trail UpdateHarding To Main Divide-Not exactly an epic ride, but doing it at night added an element of fun....and cold, to the equation. RangerJay, Caff Man and I hit the trail after 7pm with a starting temp somewhere in the 40's. Harding has held up better than any other trail I've ridden during this rainy few weeks. A couple puddles and a little bit of slosh here and there, but really good shape for the most part. 35 degrees at main divide, so toes and fingers were numb, but it was nice to get a ride in with no worries about trail condition. If you're jonesing for a ride just to stretch the legs out, Harding isn't a bad choice right now. Better shape than Santiago TT which we rode on Wednesday.
      Ride distance: 19ish Elevation change: lots
      Jeff Jarvis


    • Trail UpdateHarding/Joplin-The ride started out with the ascent up Harding, great for preseason/zone training, bad for the ADD. Not much changes on this trail, ever. At any rate, hung a right after the second gate headed to the top of Santiago to enjoy an awesome view of the "Southland." I was feeling pretty good at the point and decided I'd add a new element to the ride, add some extra miles in, etc. Instead of returning back down Harding, I'd try out Joplin to Old Camp. Bad move. First off, I consider myself in the expert category of riders, I've been riding for a decade and change and racing more than half that time. I've ridden so many trails in so many places that I can't remember states/trips for local cusine nor the historical points of interest, I remember the trails. Joplin, in it's present state, is the biggest f*$*@!g mess of a trail that I've ever encountered. People, there are goat paths in the Andes in better shape than this trail. It literally presents every single thing you don't want on your ride; 1)razor sharp thorn bushes with branches hanging perfectly so as to smack you in the face as you are trying to avoid the branches tearing your arms/legs to pieces 2)sections so loose and rocky you'd get down them faster on a snowboard and probably have more fun 3)erosion, down the middle, to the side, you name it and it's eroding. The worst part about the thing is there are some really awesome sections, for about 50 yards at a time that rip and yield some level of optimisim of what this trail could be given MAJOR TLC. However, there is a majority, if not 2/3 rds. of the trial that are just crap. Granted, I know there might be some freeriders/downhillers that would make me the fool by bombing this thing clean, wire to wire. Maybe. But I don't want to hear about it. If there is a group, SHARE, Warrior Society, whomever, that rides and appreciates the Santa Anas I would be more than happy to help organize/participate in some sort of trail rehab for this place. This trail has some flashes of brilliance, e.g.. great technical sections and just flat out speed thrills. The rock garden/falls, the rolling sections through the wooded areas, etc. are all awesome riding. Unfortunately, there are large sections of the trail that just stink. Other than that, popped out at Old Camp, cruised down Stantiago TT all the way back to Modjeska Rd. and the sanctuary. Thinking how epic it could have been...
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 30-ish miles Elevation change: 4500
      Singletrack=30% Truck Trail=70%
      Wunderkind a 29 year old Racer from OC


    • Trail UpdateHarding Truck/joplin-nice & steady on the way up.at the top theres a good amount of snow,slush,mud,rocks.had a blast goin down joplin.again an outerbody experience!!!
      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: your in for it Elevation change: your up there
      Singletrack=50% Truck Trail=50%
      mike a 26 year old Downhiller riding a trek


      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: ALOT OF miles Elevation change: TO THE MOON AND BACK
      Singletrack=51.222% Dirt Road=48.088%


    • Trail UpdateHarding TT To Main Divide-Rode this trail on 10-21-00. Trail is in overall really good condition. All fire road to the top. My only gripe was that is was pretty cold once I made it up to the cloud layer. My thermometer on my watch read 42 degrees. But at the main divide, it was much warmer. There were lots of dirt bikers up on the main divide, so watch out!
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: ~20 mi Elevation change: ~4000 ft
      Truck Trail=100%
      matt a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a trek 8500 LT from LBC URL: http://www.csulb.edu/~mevans


    • Trail UpdateOneil/Luge/Harding/Holy Jim Loop-Parked at Oneill Park... rode up Live Oak Canyon road to the Luge... up the Luge (about 8:30am, already getting hot)... met Santiago trail, turned left for a little climb then all the way down to Modjeska Grade Road (so fast, so fun)... turned right and continued down the road to the base of Harding... up Harding (close to 100 degrees – just a little hot) to the divide... took a break at the divide... onto the summit... after we pass the Joplin trailhead and start the final climb to the top we get engulfed in swarms of little black flies, huge masses of lady bugs, and (believe it or not) earwigs -- it was quite a battle... rested at the top for a little bit (before the earwigs grossed us out)... headed down to Holy Jim... got pelted by the previously mentioned insects (there were literally clouds of them)... pumped some water at the top of Holy Jim (surprisingly no bugs)... headed down Holy Jim -- awesome... got to the bottom of the switchbacks and soaked our heads in the stream -- heaven... hammered all the way out Trabuco Creek Rd road (guess we wanted to get it over with)… and back to Oneill. EPIC!!!
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 42 miles Elevation change: 6800
      Singletrack=35% Dirt Road=10% Paved Path=5% Truck Trail=50%
      Gregg a Cross-Country Rider from San Diego


    • Trail UpdateHarding TT To Main Divide-Rode this trail Wednesday, Dec 22nd, the night of that huge full moon! A fantastic ride with no lights needed at anytime during our ascent. The road has recently been graded and has quite a bit of loose rock and soft dirt floating about making for an iteresting time of picking a line and sticking with it. Coming down with our lights on we were amazed at some of the stuff we rode over and through to get up the hill. Weather was cold and extremely windy but very dry. I gave this an "Advanced" rating based on the time of the ride, distance, road conditions and preparedness needed to stay warm and energized throughout the duration of the ride. If you don't have experience doing cold weather rides at elevation, at night, get advice and tips from someone who is. If your not prepared you'll be extremely miserable.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 18.6 Elevation change:
      Truck Trail=100%
      JLampitt a 27 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a 1997 Cannondale SuperV 500 from RSM


    • Trail UpdateHarding Truck Trail-Just rode this yesterday. The trail is 99% ridable, just lots of loose rock and dirt. It's more slippery climbing than descending.

      It is a pretty steep climb, and I don't recommend it for beginners or people who are out of shape.

      I continued up to Santiago Peak. Hell of a workout!

      Bring tons of water and powergels.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: ~8.5 miles Elevation change: ~2000?
      Dirt Road=100%
      LandShark Racer a 27 year old Racer riding a 1996 Mongoose Iboc-Zero G from Irvine


    • Trail UpdateJoplin Trail-this trail sucks. it is so overgrown that its a massive bushwack to get down. if you like massive scraps and cuts, then by all means do it. i do not recommend this trail. there is massive poison oak,
      overgrowth everywhere!!! this trail should be closed,
      its not even a trail anymore.

      dt out
      dt a 31 year old Weekend Warrior riding a thrashed trek 7000


    • Trail UpdateJoplin Trail/Access-This review isn't about Harding, but in repsonse to SS's question below RE Joplin Truck Trail and access around/through Joplin Boys Ranch.

      I recently rode down from Santiago Truck Trail down the Joplin Truck Trail and then past the Boys Ranch. Here's the route from above.

      After major climb past Luge/Vulture Crags there are two right hand trail exit points. Take the first which is just at the bottom of a rocky descent on the STT and just before a short uphill. (pretty obvious)

      The trail has a steady drop and is pretty clean and fast singletrack in good shape. Halfway down the mountain you make a 180 degree switchback and head east toward the Boys Ranch. (riding up would be definitely do-able for most)

      After passing a spring, be aware because near the Boys Ranch the TRAIL IS WASHED OUT bad. We're talking double chasm 6+ foot drops. Sheer death and serious injury will result if you don't stop or try something stupid here. To some, it may look unpassable, especially if you are short. But it is. I lowered my bike first and then again to a lower platform about 15' down from original trail elevation. I then scampered around and down to shoulder my bike up the other side of the washout.

      Beyond that you soon come to a gate with "Closed area" signs. This is the JBR boundry. The road (paved now) "V's" here. Take the right (downhill) route. It turns to ST and drops past (through) a stream and past from old Italian Cypresses and about 300' later you come to that gate (from the other side) that SS below turned around at. I sneaked through a barb wire hole despite numerous closed signs, and of course even though careful the wire got it's licks in on me. Officially I don't advocate this tresspass thing but I had no choice, it was dark and I lived 7 miles down Trabuco Canyon that I still had to ride.

      After the gate it's paved road down Rose Canyon. Please obey speed limits through this area, or someday we will lose access. At the bottom you can arrive at the eastern end of Oneill Park where more riding can be had.

      BTW, just before reaching Live Oak Canyon Road you pass Senor Licos a Mexican restaraunt nestles in the oaks on your left. Killer margaritas. Food so so. But a good apres ride spot.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Singletrack=90% Paved Path=10%
      John Early a 34 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a GT Zaskar LE from Rancho Santa Margarita


    • Trail UpdateHarding TT-Rode it yesterday, trail is in excellent shape, fair amount of traffic though (lots of hikers, runners) but still an epic climb nontheless. However during the summer you get fried once you get towards the main divide, even with a pre 8 am start, its getting very hot up there these days........this puppy best done when temps are lower, thus leaving you with energy to continue on to Santiago peak, Holy Jim, Silverado motorway, etc.........
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 9.5 miles Elevation change: 3000ft
      Truck Trail=100%
      TK a 36 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a DEAN Ti from Rancho Santa Margarita


    • Trail UpdateHarding Truck/Joplin Loop-Just rode this yesterday (5-9-99). Harding Truck Trail is in pretty good shape (but since I've never ridden it before it's hard to compare). There is a lot of loose dirt and rock across most of the width of the trail with a fairly smooth trail where everyone seems to ride. I didn't notice any big washouts (they appear to have been repaired not too long ago). The Main Divide is in similar condition. Even though I was looking fairly closely for the entrance to the Joplin trail I missed it (twice!). The entrance is after the turn-off to head up to Modjeska Peak then down a slight decline until the trail levels off and just as it begins to head uphill to Santiago Peak. As a previous poster described, the first bit is a pretty steep grade with LOTS of loose rocks which are very difficult to maneuver in. I fell a couple of times, but still had a blast. The scenery through the wooded area is almost surreal. There are a couple of water crossings over rock-laden creek beds and the rocks were incredibly slippery. The rest of the return trip is mostly doubletrack with lots of rolling hills. I had never ridden this loop before, but I would highly recommend it to anyone with enough skill and determination to make it all the way around. Including an extra trip up to the summit of Santiago Peak, the entire loop was about 30 miles with (if I'm remembering correctly) about 4000 ft of elevation gain! Fantastic!
      Singletrack=20% Dirt Road=30% Truck Trail=50%
      Darren Tyson a 30 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Specialized Stumpjumer S-works from Aliso Viejo, CA


    • Trail UpdateJoplin Truck Trail-My buddy and I wanted to access the Santiago Trail from the end of Rose Cyn via the Joplin Truck Trail. This is a segment of a ride described in the book Mountain Biking Orange County. However, at the top of Rose Cyn there was a sign prohibiting access under penalty of arrest. We ignored this sign and proceeded a few hundred more yards to the Joplin Boys Camp entrance gate. At this point, per the book, we wanted to head left of the gate through a different gate and onto the Joplin Truck Trail. However, this gate was covered in barbed wire and a sign stating "Area Closed." Since we didn't know the circumstances behind the closure (Is this area now part of the jail?), we turned around and took surface streets back to Whiting Ranch, where we started. Does anyone know why this is closed? Are there plans to re-open it? Should we have hopped the gate/fence? Is there a different/better way to reach the southeast end of Santiago Trail (other than the Joplin singletrack trail, which doesn't sound too appealing based on the comments below)?
      Singletrack=75% Paved Path=15% Truck Trail=10%
      SS a 31 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Catamount MFS from Orange County


    • Trail UpdateHarding TT-Rode it up to the saddle last w/e, its in good shape, not much water damage from the rains, a few ruts here and there. Main divide rd is OK to the peaks as well, although there was quite a bit of 4x4 traffic even on that very foul n cold day.
      Truck Trail=100%
      TK a 35 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized Stumpjumper from Rancho Santa Margarita


    • Trail UpdateJoplin Trail-Joplin trail needs work -If you want to cry then cry but if you want to help instead call the SHARE mtb hot line 714-222-3334 and join us on rides and maintaining trails. We are always looking for riders of all abilities even downhill weenies that wonder how those trees and ruts got there.

      kgb a 0000 year old


    • Trail UpdateMy buddy and I rode this just before Thanksgiving, on the advice of the book "Mountain Biking Orange County". I have ridden with one of the contributors, Larry, back when he used to lead the Brea Performance Bike Shop rides. The book rates the Joplin singletrack from the top of the hill as a 9 out of 10 trail. This definitely looked like a must ride trail. We started at the bottom of Harding Truck Trail at a conservative pace, since we weren't very framiliar with the Santa Ana Mountains. Harding is a good grind, for a really wide, rocky, mostly boring fire road. It does weed out those of us that aren't in shape. We reached the top and found that the temp had dropped about 15 degrees and that the wind really blows hard up in those saddles by the peaks. We turned right towards the radio towers to look for the trailhead sign for Joplin Trail. The sign is almost completely destroyed. It is one of those brown Forest Service types. The trail looks like a rain runoff and is located between the two towers south of Harding Truck. My partner ( a very good rider with seven years of reasonably serious experience) fell about four times in the first mile. I have never seen a seat play speedbag with someones nuts quite that bad. It was demoralizing. The trail is all rock. Big slippery rocks that in ten million or so years will be gravel. It is impossible to stop or steer. The trail is lined with poison oak, and even if you stay on the trail, you're gonna get some. The first four miles are just brutal. Once you get to old camp things get a whole bunch better. The rest of the ride is really pretty nice singletrack, or it would have been if we hadn't run out of light. I do believe my buddy Dave is going to hurt Larry if we ever see him again. If you really must ride this stretch give yourself at least four hours.
      Singletrack=50% Truck Trail=50%
      Wile E. Coyote a 26 year old Weekend Warrior riding a GT LTS 1/KHS TANDEMANIA from Westminster CA


    • Trail UpdateAs of 11-5-98 Harding Truck trail is in excellent condition. The climbs are solid with little washout turns on the downhill. Going to Santiago peak is a little bumpy do to construction. Overall a good ride. Meet at the gate on Thanksgiving 11-26-98 at 7a.m for the annual ride. About 100 people beginner to pro usually show up.
      Truck Trail=100%
      Mark a Die-hard Enthusiast from Mission Viejo


    • Trail UpdateJoplin Trail-This is a wild one. i rode it on 1-17-98. its an intense ride that
      is pretty bushwacky, but if you love knarly trails, you'll like this.
      very slidy and some tough technical sections. i wished it was bushwacked from the top though, that would make the ride even more enjoyable. no begginners on this trail!!!
      tom fahland a 29 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a trek 7000 from lake forest


    • Trail UpdateJoplin-If I ever see the guys who told me about this trail... I'm gonna punch them in the face. This ride is for the masochistic. The entire first half is overgrown completely with prickley bushes and poison oak. It looks like someone did maintanance on the second half but left the cut brush on the trail only to get fed into my drive train. The first half is too loose but it gets a lot better from the stream to old camp.
      GearHead Gino a ## year old Racer riding a Heckler from Covina


    • Trail Update<a Href="http://members.aol.com/raddatzd/saddleback.html">-
      Dustin Raddatz a 19 year old from Mission Viejo


    • Trail UpdateThe Joplin Jungle-The Joplin trail is very overgrown and in need of some use....On Saturday 6-14-97 I had the pleasure of riding Harding Trail/Modj.pk/Sant.pk/Joplin Trail/OldCamp/Santiago Trail back to the car. 32 mi/ 4 hrs ATM / 5700 Total Vertical Ascent
      THE JOPLIN TRAIL The Joplin trail is a white knuckel ride that demands expert level single track skills and is not for the weak hearted. The over-growth is getting really bad and soon the trail could be un-ridable.The trail is riddled with poison oak at the bottom so wear your upper/lower shells for the decent and scrub hard afterwards. The payoff, besides for some awesome adrenaline rush's, is the Santiago Trail at the bottom. Basically the Santiago Trail ride from Old Camp back to Modj.Cyn is some of the best trail riding that exists. Be carefull many riders enjoy the Santiago Trail to Old Camp as an out and back and uphill traffic is inevitable.
      THE PEAK SINGLE TRACKS There are single tracks coming off both Santi. and Modj. peaks that lead to the saddle at the main divide they both are in really bad shape. Unfortunately you dont find out until your half way down them. As of 6-14-97 I do not suggest using the single tracks off of the peaks unless your into pain or you want to clear them.thought some might relish this update .. Jeff Waller
      Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=35% Truck Trail=15%


    • Trail UpdateJoplin Trail-In between Modjeska Peak and Santiago Peak is the trail head for Joplin Trail. Entrance for the single track trail is right before the final climb to Santiago Peak. Trail drops steeply all the way to Old Camp. Loose and slippery -- be prepared to get your butt on the back tire for a few miles. Very intense!! Very fun!! If you are a singletrack fan it sure beats coming down the divide. Not for the weak of heart.
      Gregg Wilson a 36 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Diamondback Axis from CA


    • Trail UpdateHarding Truck Trail-Harding TT climbs steeply, snaking through the mountain for approximately 9 miles before hitting the Main Divide. While the road is pretty well graded and wide, the steepness makes it a challenge. Just when you think your near the top, you keep climbing and climbing and climbing. Once at the Main Divide, you can turn right and within 2 miles you will be at the top of Modjeska Peak. Another 2 miles and your at the top of Santiago Peak. These two peaks are called Saddleback Mountain and are the highest points in the Cleveland National Forest. The trip home is short and fast and a great training run for downhill racers. Be careful though since this trail is frequented by hikers and equestrians alike.
      Mark Ross a 28 year old cross-country rider from Huntington Beach,CA {maross@apc.net}


    • Trail Update!-This ride is advanced from a bikehandling skills point of view because of the numerous steep ascents and the fast downhill. Bring your legs and lungs and plenty of food and H20. There is a traditional Thanksgiving morning group ride at 7Am on Thanksgiving Day. About a hundred riders showed up in 1996.
      JD a 34 year old weekend warrior from Mission Viejo


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