- Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Southern California Trails
Holy Jim Trail - #HolyJimTrail
Socal - Orange County - Modjeska NickNames: #HolyJimTrail
To get to the bottom take El Toro road to Live Oak Canyon road and turn right. Take that to Trabuco Creek road and turn left. Take this dirt road about 4-5 miles in and look on the left for the Holy Jim fire station. The trailhead is behind on the right.
This trail can be ridden in either direction. It goes from Trabuco creek road to Main Divide in a couple thousand feet of elevation. Nice canopy, switchbacks, creek crossings, and rock slides keep you busy as you climb your way to Main Divide. About 4 miles one way(foggy memory, could be wrong).
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- Trail UpdateRode Up Holy Jim-Rode up Holy Jim last Saturday and it was in great shape. I planned on riding up Trabuco Creek to Main Divide and back down but I found out when I got there that the Warriors Society was coming down Trabuco that day as the final downhill of their "Traverse" race. We opted to ride up Holy Jim and come down Trabuco instead. The water is really low in the creeks and the Holy Jim trail was in great shape. Didn't see hardly any poison oak on the way up and hardly any flies either. After getting to the top of Holy Jim the flies swarmed but we shook them on Main Divide. We rode Main Divide to Trabuco Creek Trail. At the top of Trabuco the flies gathered to welcome us again but they couldn't keep up as we bombed down the freshly laid tracks that the Warriors left. Great downhill, the poison oak was definately out but it didn't seem as bad as other seasons and didn't noticed any in my way. I swallowed a fly during the first 20 seconds of the decent and it made me think that it would probably have been a sucky climb up if you don't keep above "fly speed". Great ride down though!
ICPAYDIRT a 34 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Nomad from Pacific Beach
- Trail UpdateSept 23, 2006-Trail is in good shape. We rode Holy Jim up to the fireroad. A little overgrown in some areas, especially noticible going down! Very scenic and the air smelled great.
ICPAYDIRT a 33 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Blur XC from Pacific Beach
- Trail UpdateRidden 01/09-Bring your singlespeed. Whomever brushed the trail left a lot of detritus on it and some of it is big enough to kill a derailluer. I removed a lot of it while pedaling up (long arms are good for something), but there's still some there. With the exception of a few blown-out off-camber turns, the trail is in fine shape.
Notorious MTB a 42 year old
- Trail UpdateUpdate-Three of us rode Holy Jim up and Trabuco down yesterday. The creeks are still pretty high and your feet will get we crossing them. I suggest plastic bags over your toes or they will get cold. You could hear the creek flowing from the main divide and there is a nice little waterfall high up on Holy Jim, with creek crossing the trail. The Warrior Society did a great job of fixing up the trails and overall they are not in bad shape...a little more technical than they used to be. The real surprising part was the water level on Trabuco...those creek beds used to be dry and now they are flowing pretty high. It was also foggy and cold yesterday...about 46F at the top of HJ. The drive out Trabuco to the HJ trailhead is pretty rough as well...be sure you have some ground clearance because part of the road is now a stream and there are some deep puddles and ruts. Have Fun!
Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change: 3200
Singletrack=60% Truck Trail=40%
EJ a 42 year old Cross-Country Rider
- Trail UpdateHow Did Holy Jim Hold Up?-I was planning on going this coming weekend. Has anyone gone here after the rains? How is the trail?
Zo a Weekend Warrior
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim To Trabuco-Lurker Dave and I hit Holy Jim to Trabuco on Saturday. It was a perfect day with sun and cool temps. Holy Jim was in great shape with some short soft sections in between the switchbacks. After the switchbacks the trail felt like its regular steep/rocky self. Main Divide was great. The section between H/J and Trabuco is the most rider friendly part of that crazy road. The sandy sections were slightly sticky but better than usual. The one big climb was firm and less rocky than I remember. Never the less, at the very top of the steep climb, I spazzed out and dabbed. Dammit! The rest of the trip over to trabuco went pretty fast and I just enjoyed the views and the sun. We rested briefly and then totally downhilled trabuco. Trabuco had softer sections. Nothing messy but sticky enough to slow my roll. Once on the exposed section the trail, it was just like I remembered, with lots of rocks and pointy branches to keep me bobbin and weavin. At the intersection with W. Horsethief the water was flowing and I pictured Macrider busting out the kayak for some hot class 5 action!!! The rest of the trail was fun and rocky and included a couple graceful creek crossings by me. (Not by Lurker Dave, he floundered and almost required rescue by the Trabuco District River Patrol.) LOL! Anyway, this is always a good ride. I recommend getting out there ASAP, before the river dries up and the gnats take over again.
- Trail UpdateMain D/Trabuco/Holy J/MD-Yep I rode this mother on monday the 3rd hot and hotter in the open areas cool in the covered areas,which are many along Trabuco and HJ.Main div was a bit@* to get back to my ride I did'nt have any other option.I started at 11:30 and ended at 3:30 so the last hour on MD was very hot seeming to go on 4ever.The downhill portion where I started at Trabuco was great ,somewhat technical in the rocky areas but not impossible all downhill.Once at the bottom(4-5 miles)I met up w/the HJ trailhead and started the longest climb I've been on,all uphill about 4-5 miles till MD.Some of the singletrack was overgrown in parts but the trail is maintained and in great shape,nobody else was on trail anywhere and I did'nt see one snake or lion,they were probably watching me drag myself up the trails while relaxing in the shade.I did see alot of freekin' nats in my eyes,ears,mouth&nose especially at the top of HJ.If you ride this take a snack and at least 2 liters of H2O.I had to refill my 2 water btls at the HJ creek,does anyone know if that water is safe w/o purifying?All said it's an awesome ride.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 18miles Elevation change: alot
Singletrack=60% Dirt Road=40%
AnAnamal a 40 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Dakar from Murrieta,ca
- Trail UpdateHJ/Trabuco-The total distance from HJ parking lot up to Main Divide and down Trabuco is approximately 18 miles. DirtKlaud and I will do this loop one day....just needs to be cooler!!
RDC a 28 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a '03 Foes FXR, '03 BigHit Expert from Westminster
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim To Trabuco Loop-I rode this loop on Saturday and it was warm and the bugs were out. But overall a good ride and being that it was my first time down Trabuco, definitely worth it...what a great trail.
Does anyone know the distance of the loop from the HJ parking lot and the total elevation gain?
EJ a Cross-Country Rider riding a Tomac
- Trail UpdateHOLY JIM To Think About TRABUCO-Scooped up RDC bout 8:30 and headed out. Drove all the
back the dirt road this time and parked at the "main lot".
Geared up, headed out and immediately it started to warm
up. The gazillions of gnats didn't make things any easier. The
trail seems to be in pretty good shape, seems a bit more
loose than it was the last time we rode here. Anyhow, the
heat was blazing, and after each mile or so, we'dd stop and
post up in the shade, contemplating if we had it in us to head
over to Trabuco from the top of Holy Jim. We stopped in the
shaded area just before that short little rock garden and ate
some treats, soaked up some shade and then headed up to
the top of Holy Jim. Once at the top of Holy Jim, the thought of
continuing along Main Divide just wasn't that pleasent to us.
So, we turned around, and made it an "out and back".
We only encountered 4 riders coming down while we were
climbing, a couple of old timer looking hikers and I think we
only came across 2 or 4 riders while we were heading down.
The lower canopied area had its usual packs of hikers here
Ride distance: About 12 miles Elevation change: lots
dirt klaud riding a specialized enduro from long beach, ca
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim / Trabuco Trail-Great loop and the conditions were very good (2/27)... Start with the easy warm-up (why drive Trabuco Canyon, it's not a bad way to warm-up and it is somewhat scenic after the model airport) ride in on Trabuco Canyon (dirt road) -est. 4miles?- head left and over to Holy Jim, get ready for a nice workout with many water crossings. Then up those switchbacks to the great views and varied terrain of Holy Jim(HJ). The trail work that was done along the top portion of Holy Jim (about 2miles? before the connection with Main Divide) is holding up great after our recent storms.
Thanks Warriors Society!
Keep up your strenght because the hardest stuff is yet to come... Main Divide(MD) is the worst/best fire road in OC. After the coverage that HJ provides, getting up onto MD is always a nice reminder that you are under the mountians mercy, and MD leaves a rider exposed to the weather without mecry (little coverage, and steep climbs/descents)This time it was a windy, cold (other times its been dangerously hot) and difficult (loose and rocky) climb over to Horsethief. After passing that fun singletrack on your right keep heading up and down on easier terrain over to the top of Trabuco Trail (the Los Pinso trail also starts here, but would make it nearly impossible to get back to your car (unless you are a mtn.bike God). Head down the Trabuco Trail. Normaly I do this route the other direction, but Trabuco is soooo much fun to go down it simply must been done at least 2x a year (maybe more this year :) Trabuco trail has some sections with great flow, and other sections of gnarly, loose, off camber, cliff side riding. Thanks to whoever did the little re-route about 1mile or so up from the Horsethief reconnect, around a downed tree. That little drop and turn are so much fun to ride now ...thanks!
If you are not experienced with the Main Divide or don't want a few sections of hike-a-bike this loop is not for you... but really a good hard ride that you will feel for a day or two after, and its a nice change of pace from the Trabuco to Horsethief or Trabuco to Holy Jim rides. Take only pictures, and leave no trace... Peace
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: dunno computer still broke maybe 25miles? Elevation change: lots O' up and down
Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=10% Truck Trail=20%
Mtnbikerman a 27 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Giant NRS from Long Beach
- Trail UpdateRode Up And Back Down Today-Was a great ride, although this was my first time riding up HJ and it is a tough 5 mile uphill to the main divide. We didn't see any other riders and only one group of hikers on the whole ride. The local residents are all very friendly.
At the lower elevations there were tons of bugs, so bring something to put on your face or they'll drive you crazy. We didn't have a forest pass, so the Ranger came over and talked to us and gave us the $5 ticket. I'm happy to send it in and will buy an annual pass.
EJ a 42 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Tomac
- Trail UpdateHoly Climbing!-My buddy Miznax and I decided to head out to Holy Jim for the first time yesterday (1/11). Got to the dirt parking lot off Live Oak around 10 am, and headed down the almost 5 mile dirt road. Once we got up closer to the trailhead, it was clear that this is a very naturistic ride....it didn't look like we were in Orange County anymore. Finally at the trailhead, and we were walking across several stream crossings, climbing and more climbing. Then the real fun started, then never ending switchbacks! Talk about some tight turns, combined with loose and rocky terrain it made for a very tiring climb. We were in the last canopied section right before Main Divide, then about 50 yards in front of me....I hear something coming down the hill. Thud...crash...thud...about 3 boulders easily weight 50-75 pounds coming crashing down the hill right across the trail. At this point we were both so tired, and not wanting to get killed by a boulder we just turned around and sat down for a snack around the corner. Then we hear 2 trucks going up the Main Divide above us, then realizing they were the jerk-offs pushing the boulders down the trail. Then the fun began, the downhill journey down all the switchbacks. Those were some hairy turns going down, Miznax slipped on one and took a little skin off the knee (no harm no foul). Finally made it down to the lower section again and ripped back to the cars. Nearly 3 1/2 hours later, I was ready for a shower and a nap. I wouldn't mind doing this ride again, if I had a vehicle that I could drive up to elminate that first 5 miles of bumpy boring road. Overall the weather was pretty warm but not too hot. Just bummed we missed out on the views up at Main Divide.
Ride distance: 20 Elevation change: 2800?
RDC a 28 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a '03 Foes FXR from Westminster
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim Directions-For MBA below,
To get to HJ from SD, take Hwy 5, not 15. 15 will put you on the wrong (east) side of the Santa Anas and you'll need to take Ortega Hwy (74) to get back over. Not recommended. Take 5 north to El Toro Rd. Exit and turn east towards the mountains. Then, follow directions listed above:
Right on Live Oak at Cook's Corners
Wind 4-5 miles into Trabuco Cyn
Turn left onto the dirt road, just past the bridge over the dry creek
Park here for longer (27 mile) ride or drive back and park at trailhead for shorter (17 mile) ride that avoids crappy fireroad section.
The trail that goes left, up the hill from the trailhead parking area leads to Holy Jim. The trail going straight back is where you will exit from Trabuco. Just in case you don't have a map, when you get to the top of Main Divide, turn right and ride for about 7 miles. Trabuco will be the 2nd singletrack that you see on the right side. (The 1st one is W. Horsethief at around 5 miles from the HJ/MD intersection. It connects to Trabuco in the canyon bottom. You could take that as an option, but I find Trabuco more fun and worth the extra 2 miles of riding.)
By the way, last time I was here, there were a ton of gnats and flies all through the creek section of HJ and at the top of MD. They weren't so bad in the sunny, drier areas. However, some DEET wouldn't be a bad idea.
SS a 35 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Chumba Wumba Mamba from OC
- Trail UpdateDirections To Holy Jim/MD/Trabu-I'm coming from San Diego. I want to do the Holy Jim/Main Divide/Trabuco loop. Come up the I-15?
Spacific directions are greatly appreciated.
Also, anyone want to go, say meet at the trail head at 7:30am on Sunday? I'm an intermediate rider who does San Juan Trail up to Bluejay and back in 5.0 hrs.
MBA a Cross-Country Rider riding a FSR Xc from San Diego
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim/Main Divide/Trabuco-We left from the parking area at Live Oak Road near O'Neill
Park early Saturday AM. The road is dusty and bumpy, as
always. The surface of Holy Jim is in excellent condition, and
some trail maintenance (erosion control) was evident. The
vegetation is pretty overgrown, but passable. In many places
the mosquitos were so bad that you could simply not stop, we
rode pretty much straight through to the main divide, took a
quick gel, and continued. The Main Divide was in
reasonably good condition with some of the steep sections
pretty loose. Trabuco was in excellent condition, and there
are many rocky descents of various types of rock types. The
first time I rode Trabuco I had had some recent crashes and
was a bit timid. I road the descent very well, (see comments
below about staying off the front break and letting the bike
roll) and thoroughly enjoyed the descent. Roughly 3.5 hour
In some places the trails were overgrown, and that with the
mosquitos, it was to the point of being not fun at times. There
was huge exposure to poison oak, and I have had some
serious outbreaks in the past. My riding partner turned me
on to Technu- he has been telling me about it for years. We
stopped at a Rite Aid and bought some on the way home.
Apply an oily cream, rub in for two minutes, then I showered
with heavy application of hair shmpoo over my whole body.
It seems to have worked- no rash after 48 hours. I also
washed my clothes twice and scrubbed down my bike with
Steamer a Racer from Irvine
- Trail UpdateA Hint Of The NorthWest-Hit the Holy Jim Trail on saturday with RoosterLEGZ, we met
up at Cooks Corner and cruised Live Oak Rd., hung a left
after the wash and began the bumpy drive back to the
"Adventure Pass Needed" sign and parked right before it, just
on the other side of the water crossing.
Light mist was present off and on as we geared up. As we
rode in to the trailhead, we passed a few riders, some really
"cool" guy (i think he thinks he owns the forest), and then a
group of 5 or 6 riders blazed by us on there way out as we
approached the beginning of the trail. Much of the water has
receded in the creek, making for easier crossings and drier
feet (for the moment). The foliage was lush as ever, and the
light mist was becoming more and more prevelant the more
we climbed. Once above the post where you can make a
right to go to "falls" the trail become somewhat overgrown in
many areas. It wasnt too much of a problem, only issue was
that the plants and shrubs were wet from the mist, soon
enough we were in the clouds, the temperature wasnt too
cold though, it was nice, more refreshing than cold. So, we
continue to climb, brushing up agains the wet branches and
shrubs as we ride, getting soaked. We could feel the water
that was dripping from the canopy above thru the vents in our
helmets. Water dripped off my visor too. The great thing was,
it was never too muddy at anypoint of the ride. The small rock
garden was more of a challenge as it was slippery, same
with the few root sections. We turned around at the top of the
trail, didnt head up to Main Divide, we were a bit more cold
and definatley way more drenched. I put on my windbreaker
for the descent, a wise choice. My lower legs and knuckles
bare scrapes from the overgrown areas swiping them as we
made our way down.
We only saw two other riders up on the trail the whole time,
and to top things off, I had a flat tire on my truck when we got
back to the trucks. Nothing like changing a flat in those
conditons, muddy road, heavy mist, and me all dirty and
soggy from the ride.
I've never ridden up in the Northwest Region of the US or
Canada, but after riding Holy Jim with those wet, soggy
conditions, I could imagine how riding the Northwest would
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: about 15 miles Elevation change: dunno
BDEE riding a JamisDAKAR from Long beach
- Trail UpdateOrtega To Holy Jim, Via Main Div-Saturday AM (the 26th). Us 4 go dropped off at Ortega and Main divide. GREAT conditions! Cool, Awesome trail conditions, climbs challanging r/t loose rock.
Holy Jim was FAST! Overgrown with brush, poison ivy and low slung trees, so I (5'7") rulled the crew!
High water in the Jim, so be preppared to walk the crossings. Watch for/respect hikers. Great day, going to repeat soon.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 22 miles Elevation change: Fair bit
Singletrack=25% Dirt Road=10% Truck Trail=65%
Roadkill a 41 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a 2002 Specialized FSRxc from Trabuco Canyon
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim/ Trabuco Loop-I had heard good things about this ride from some Ventura County buddies who had ridden it a few months back so we all headed 100 miles south to the Holy Jim trailhead. My advice would be to park at the entrance point rather than driving (surviving?)the 4.5 disaster they call a dirt road that leads to the actual trailhead.It looks like the US Air Force has practiced bombing on the whole extent of it. Though I was in a 4 wheel drive pickup truck the surface of this dirt road is so rutted and washed out it makes it almost impossible to avoid thrashing the under carriage of the vehicle.
Anyway, on to Holy Jim. Very scenic with a number of stream crossings at the bottom, some rideable, some not. Eventually you wind up the singletrack high above the canyon with a fairly good grade and a number of switchbacks, some pretty tough. The trail is fairly smooth and not too technical until you hit a small rock garden area higher up than a loose sketchy section with a couple of very tough right hand turns that are begging for a fall if you don't hit them just right. After the sketchy section the trail smooths out again nicely to the top (with some mild small rocky sections) where it is a steep 100 foot climb (hike a bike) to main divide. A right turn and about 8 miles brings you to the Trabuco trail. This 8 miles or so is a lot of ups and downs--seems like more ups with one long grinder followed by a long downhill. Great views of Lake Elsinore off to the left. Finally, after making it to Trabuco, it's time for some downhill. Trabuco starts off mild with just a bunch of leaves and an occasional small rock here or there. There is a lot of tree coverage. Than the trail gets much more rocky--these are small roacks and broken shale which makes riding technique important. Stay off your front brake as much as possible and roll over this shaly surface and you'll be OK. After a while of this rocky stuff you hit the intersection with West Horsethief. There are some small rock gardens as you continue back to the parking spot but nothing extreme. A few creek crossings as well. Note there is plenty of poison oak along both Trabuco and Holy Jim in spots.
Though it was a hell of a haul to get there I must say this is a great loop, something worth venturing down to from northern LA or Ventura County. Trabuco Canyon is a really beautiful area and very lush. I highly recommend it.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 19-20 miles Elevation change: 4000'
Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=50%
- Trail UpdateHoly Water Crossings!!!-Hit the trail about 10:00 a.m., the previous posters
review had me itching to ride this trail. Met up with
ROOSTERLEGZ and dropped his truck off at
Cooks Corner and headed down the hwy.
Reached the entrance, noticed quite a few cars
parked in the make shift lot just off the paved hwy.
Continued thru, charged the areas where the water
was crossing the rode, made for a fun pre-ride rally
session. Passed a few honda civics and acuras
and eventually made our way to the trail head. This
was my first time here, so, didnt really know what
to expect, other than mucho creek crossings,
soggy socks along with soggy $39.99 dollar last
years Specialized shoes and some pretty good
All I can say is, holy jim has it all. Out of all the
trails/parks I've rode around south OC, I've never
ridden a trail with such diverse terrain. Some
rideable creek crossings, more hikeable creek
crossings though. Open exposed areas, tight
switch backs, canopied somewhat root filled
areas, rock gardens, sharp, pointy plants that feel
like they inject needles in you as you brush against
them...(tried to avoid the brushing up, but, the
plants won). Mellow climbs, steep sections, tacky
sections and loose sections. This ride was truly a
blast, I am more worn out after this 10.5 mile ride
then I have been with other rides of similar
distance. Probably due to the number of times I got
off my bike, and the time I fell off the edge, good
thing the shrubs were pretty thick where I fell, or I
woulda continued to slide down the side. The fall
was "caused" by me getting a tad squirly over a
section on the climb, a tree/shrub stump followed
by a pointy rock right after in, in the midde of the
trail, front tire got over it fine, but as the rear crested
the rock, i leaned to the right, and kept leaning until
gravity won, got away with only a few
scratches....pretty lucky I guess. We turned around
at the top, where you can hang a left and go to Main
Divide, next time we'll make that left.
The downhill was really fun, I dunno if this was all
in my head, but it seemed as if the left side of the
trail was pulling me towards it. Made it down
without incident, didnt see any other mt. bikers
other than 3 when we first began our ride. Probably
saw around 10 hikers or so, and one equestrian.
Oh yeah, a pack of cub scouts was down there too,
I noticed much more people traffic in the lower
canopy area of this trail.
I can imagine this place gets very warm in the
summer, oh yeah, bring the bug spray, tons of
gnats/mosquitos/annoying little bugs lingering
Ride distance: 10.5miles Elevation change: alot
bDEE a Weekend Warrior riding a jamisCRAKAR (still waitin' on the rear sway) from long beach
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim/Trabuco-Did the same ride described below on Tue. I've done each trail separately as out-and-backs but not together as a loop. I also parked the car at the beginning of Live Oak Canyn Rd and wouldn't recommend driving it unless you've got a 4-wheeler. Especially now as the 3 or 4 concrete partitions along the way are flooded with rushing creekwater (careful here while crossing). The bummer here is that this extra distance adds about 8-9 miles (roundtrip) to your ride which would normally be fine, however the singletrack portions of this ride are so particularly good that I would much prefer to save every ounce of energy for them. Enough bitching. After some hike-a-bike creek crossings (much of these are rideable in drier conditions) you reach the signpost for Indian Falls and turn left. Before turning, stop and wring out your socks which feel as though they've made your bike gain a few pounds of rotating mass. BTW, if you haven't figured it out by now, yes, your $200.00 mountainbike shoes will get SOAKED!!! Anyway, now that you're feeling a bit lighter in the loafers (I know, I know...very, very bad) you can now focus on the incredible climb up to Main Divide. I also agree here with the previous guy. It takes frickin forever to get to Trabuco trail but when you do, it will all have been worth it. The last 1 1/2 miles or so are the most technical. I stopped a few times to try out different lines on some sections. (Once again, the creek crossings complicate the conditions as dire consequences could commence). Anyway, that's about it...you will be tired and hungry when you're done...
Eck see a 33 year old
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim/Trabuco Loop-Wanted to get in a good ride before the possible rains next week and decided to try this loop. I decided to save the stress on my truck and park at the begining of the dirt road. The first section of the road was in bad shape, very bumpy, sandy etc. but that quickly cleared up and most of the dirt road was a good warm up. The weather was perfect for a ride like this, i bet low 60's and partly cloudy. The climb up Holy Jim was awesome. The trail was in very good shape and rut free. The angle of this trail makes for a fairly mellow climb with great views. This was a friday mid-day ride so I had the trail completely to myself. Got to the Holy Jim and Main Divide junction feeling great. Here in the shade in was a little chilly so I took a short rest and headed down the main divide. MD was fast in places, but then u turn a corner and it gets to be deep sand. the views are great and theres some fun little downhill sections. The climbs aren't too bad, but also aren't the greatest fun. Took a short break at a good view spot to check out the storm approaching out in the ocean. Passed a couple jeep's on MD, but thankfully both were driving with reasonable courtesy. Finally made it to Trabuco trail,the trek across MD felt longer than i expected it to. Now for the best part of the ride. The ride down Trabuco was fantastic, the upper section was super fast and fun, some fun little jumps and berms in spots. The middle was very loose in sections but easily cleanable. The bottom portion was soooo much fun as well. It was exactly the type of trail I've been looking for. The trail was empty except for a young couple hiking who were friendly and heard me coming so they let me pass. Finished it off by cruising down the access road back to the truck at the canyon mouth. the road has a slight downhill to it and you can get going pretty fast. overall the best ride I've had in a long time. Just enough mileage and just enough elevation to make it really fun, with no pavement sections and mostly single track and oh yeah the feeling that you are actually in the mountains. This will defintely be a regular ride for me. Saw the flyer for the Warriors Club Vision Quest race, sure looks like a good challenge, anyone here done it?
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 25+? miles Elevation change:
Singletrack=65?% Dirt Road=45?%
Jon, single track affeciando a 23 year old riding a Klein pulse hard tail from South Laguna
- Trail UpdateHoly Trail Maintenance-I rode Holy Jim today. The weather was SoCal perfect - about 75F and sunny. It appears some workers have been busy doing a significant amount of trail work recently.
Erosion control has been done on the switchback section. Stones have been lined on some of the corners and ruts have been dug along the outside edge of many of them. It's now harder (for me anyway) to clean the switchbacks since one must ride a tighter radius due to the ruts. However, I'm sure this will help the trail withstand future rains.
But, in the name of all that is Holy Jim, why did the workers sanitize a few of the creek crossings? The most technical creek crossing (the last one before the waterfall trail intersection) used to have a series of boulders and rocks randomly positioned on both slopes and across the creek. It was virtually unrideable. But that was part of its appeal. Every time I walked this section, I imagined the skill and strength it would take a rider to clean it. I also imagined the broken collarbones of those who may have tried it unsuccesfully.
Anyway, ALL of the boulders and rocks have been removed from both slopes. In addition, a tight bridge of rocks has been constructed across the creek. There are now NO obstacles at all. It would still take some strength and traction to climb the steep slopes in either direction and to maneuver the S-turns. However, it is certainly cleanable for a good percentage of riders, which it was not before. Moreover, I would think that the smooth dirt on the slopes will soon be sporting ruts down the center from all the Barneys dragging their rear brake as they try to control their descent into the creek. That can't be good for erosion control.
The same thing appears to have been done at the top of Holy Jim at Main Divide. There used to be rocks and a strategically positioned (for possible decapitation) piece of scrap metal on the drop-in. It has also been sanitized. Although it's still steep, the dangers have been removed.
What's next? Removal of the midpoint rock gardens? Trail workers, thanks for your hard work maintaining a popular trail but please don't make Holy Jim any easier.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 10 miles Elevation change: 2500 ft
SS a 35 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Chumba Wumba Mamba from OC
- Trail UpdateHoly J...-First time on this baby. Did it as an out an back. It did NOT disappoint but then again, very few mountain biking trails do! Next time, I think I'll try climbing Holy Jim and descending Trabuco. I've climbed Trabuco a few times before and I found it to be a bit more punishing than Holy Jim. I wanted to keep cruising up the fireroad to Santiago Peak but it looked too steep and I'm a wuss so that was that. Some truly great riding here...
Andy a 33 year old Die-hard Enthusiast from LA
- Trail UpdateToad Festival Pre-Ride-Grant (aka "G") and I rode the Toad Festival route yesterday morning. Our 7:30 start was met with cool temps (55 degrees per G's supercomputer) and clouds. We set off up the wash road and on past "Cussin' Jim's" cabin. We made good time up HJT to Main Divide... in fact, I kept watching for the cross on the side of the trail (about 2/3 of the way up) and before we knew it, we were at Main Divide. We enjoyed the views along Main Divide for approximately 7 miles to Trabuco Trail, passing West Horsethief on the way.
The ride down Trabuco Trail was spectacular, as always. I don't have a computer on my bike, but I know we were really moving! The rock gardens at the bottom of the trail have become increasingly negotiable, with good lines worn well into the boulder fields.
I'd strongly recommend bringing a light jacket along, and maybe a pair of extra gloves, as it did get a little cool up top. This is an exceptional ride, balancing a challenging climb, moderately technical obstacles and a great sense of being "out there," despite it being so close to civilization. We didn't see one single other biker, hiker or equestrian all day.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 25 - 27 miles Elevation change: lots
Singletrack=60% Truck Trail=40%
Chris a 28 year old riding a DiSS from Aliso Viejo
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim / Trabuco Creek-First off, not sure what the previous poster heard, but would like to speculate that it was Senior Lico's himself , doing what is best left to the imagination. Anyway, did the Holy Jim/ Trabuco creek loop yesterday for the first time. Started late, about 1 p.m. I have never seen the creek so dry heading up Holy Jim. This set the tone for the whole trip, HOT and DUSTY. Thank god for the shady spots. Saw very few bikers ( I think only 3) and a few hikers. I was pretty tired by the time I made it to the main divide. Took a long break, cooled down and headed down the main divide over to Trabuco Creek. The main divide is pretty easy fo a while, then there is what seems like a death march up to a pass. Then you drop down to the West Horsethief area, and then over to Trabuco Trailhead. Both trailheads are cleary marked. Trabuco Creek trail was worth the grunt. This trail is fun as a downhill! Lots of rock beds, creek crossings, some slightly hairy stuff, it's allllllll good. Only saw two hikers the whole time. At the Trabuco trailhead ran into some guys that stocked me up on some juice. Thanks guys!! If you decide to do this loop, I would recommend an earlier start because I was feeling like a California Raisen by the time I was heading down.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: ~20? miles Elevation change: maybe 3000 feet?
KujoWabo a 40 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Stumjumper FSRxc from Laguna Niguel
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim Trabuco Loop-First time here. Started in the parking lot at Live Oak Rd and the dirt road and proceeded to the trailhead. First, we heard an ungodly type of animal yelling at the start. There must be an animal sanctuary of zoo of some sort close by. Pretty weird stuff. I wished I had an audio recorder; it was that strange. Next, The model plane enthusiasts were entertaining. After some confusion as to which fork in the road went to Holy Jim (it's the left one going uphill, not the far left one going downhill), we finally hit Holy Jim. Great trail! Much like San Juan but with coverage. I thought the grade was steeper, but I'm not sure. The switches are easier. The creek crossings are generally tough and about half are unrideable the whole way through, i.e the uphill transitions are steep and rocky. Main divide TT is long with a few steep parts, but really nice visually. You can have some fun too on the descents, but you gotta go up again. Trabuco is a blast to drop. Eminently rideable with speed, just tricky enough at the creek crossings to keep you thinking. It also has some Noble Canyon like xposure sections. Nice. After the singletrack ended the ride down to the car was a fun fireroad to blast down. I think it took us about 45 mins with 7 min.s included to repair a flat to descend the whole way. It was great. I heard that this is the Toad's Festival route from another guy on the trail. Lots of fun. I'll be back; maybe reverse the course?
Mike Kim riding a grey superlight from Carlsbad
- Trail UpdateTo Santiago Peak And Back-Rode to the peak from my house in Laguna Niguel on 6-1-02. This is the third year in a row I and my friends have done this. Tom and Jesse rode from Laguna Hills and back. This annual ride is part of my birthday celebration and this year I'm the big Four 0hh !!
The conditions were a little dry, but the wild flowers were out and the moon was in the sky. The temperature was in the mid seventies, there were nice breezes, and the bugs were not too bad. Got a lil Poision Oak on the left leg dispite the preventive lotion.
The ups were hard, the downs were loose and chunky, I had two small falls, two flats, and my friend Jesse met the ground with his head. All these problems were minor, we had a great time, and rode home. It felt good to look back one last time from Laguna Niguel and think "wow I was just up there".
F.Y.I. 26 miles from my door step to the peak
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 54.8 Elevation change: 6,163
Singletrack=30% Dirt Road=20% Paved Path=50%
Eric Young a 40 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Diamondback Hardtail from Laguna Niguel
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim/Trabuco Canyon Loop-Did the loop for the first time this morning. In my opinion, this is one of the best loop rides in Orange County. Parked the car where Live Oak Road meets the Trabuco Creek dirt road. We used the extra 5 miles for warm up, as I din't want to drive my car through this bumpy road. The climb up Holy Jim was nice and we only saw a family of friendly hikers. Took a break at the top of Holy Jim and made a right on Main Divide for about 7 miles to the top of Trabuco. This section of Main Divide was in good condition. It is mostly roller coaster with one stiff climb at the beginning. The Trabuco Canyon singletrack is awesome. It's covered by trees for the first couple of miles and the surface was excellent. It reminds me of some of the trails in the San Bernardino Mountains. The second section is rocky and lose, kind of like Silverado Motorway, with a couple of exposed sections, but not too dangerous.
At the bottom of the trail we cruised back to the car along a muddy Trabuco Creek Road.
If you haven't done this loop, I highly recommend it.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 27.5miles Elevation change: about 3000+?
Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=60%
Pilas a 33 year old Cross-Country Rider from Irvine
- Trail UpdateIndianTT To Holy Jim And Back-I've gone up from the Indian Truck trail (off of I-15) to Holy Jim and over back down Holy Jim and then retraced my route.Doesn't sound like much but I enjoyed it.Really isn't as hard as some might think.It's got some miles to it,but Indian TT is mostly fire road.The dog likes this trail the best for some reason.Maybe because of Holy Jim being lose at the top we go fairly slow.Anyways it's a good cardio type workout.I might mention that I haven't done this for about 4 months so it's not really an update just a suggestion.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: a lot of miles Elevation change: not sure
Singletrack=50% Truck Trail=50%
Pain Freak a 46 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized F/S M4 from Fontana,CA
- Trail UpdateNo Motos-I think motos aren't legal on these trails at all, other than Main Divide....does Deranger know anything about this?
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim / Trabuco Loop-Inkpad, ASDFER, The Don, and myself did this loop for the first time on Sunday. I have to say that, for me, it's the best XC loop I have done anywhere. The weather was perfect. It was around 60 degrees, and so clear you could see the Ocean. You forget you live in Orange county when your climbing Holy Jim. When you look out, all you can see is rolling green hills. I had been up Holy Jim a few times before. It's the best way to get to the main divide from the bottom. To me, it's very much like climbing San Juan trail with more coverage. There are lots of easy to make switch backs, and some pretty technical rocky climbs and turns. The trail was in great condition. One of the first stream crossings has a plank over it now, so you can ride it with a little northshore skills. The rolling up and down jeep road seemed to last forever, but there is no really difficult climbing. There is one long up hill that is a lot like climbing up Mustard hill in Whiting Ranch. Coming down Trabuco trail was a blast. The top is covered in a canopy of trees and the ground is covered with leaves. The trail is pretty wide open with big banked turns in places. We were having a blast until we encountered 3 moto bikes coming up our way. We sat off to the side in disbelief, as these three rude moto riders twisted there throttles by us. I must say, I felt like pulling them off their bikes and throwing them off the side, but that wouldn't have accomplished anything. We tried to educate them, but they couldn't hear us over the sound of their engines. After 30 sec. of blasting down Trabuco, all had been forgotten. The trail suddenly exits the trees and you find yourself on a ridgeline close to the edge. The trail is covered on flat shale like rock. The rocks just poor to the outside line as you push your bike thru the turns. I was putting my poor Santa Cruz Chameleon thru pure hell trying to keep up with The Don and Inkpad on their FS rigs. Following their lines lead to a blown rear tire just as we ended Trabuco at the creek crossing. After a five minute break/tire change, we were off to assault the river bed. I followed as The Don and Inkpad set out to break a new speed record back to the car. The river bed leading back to the parking lot is filled with rock sections, nice fast turns, dry creek crossings, and lots of little, jagged rock drops into fast single track. I followed The Don as he took the gnarliest lines, jumped what ever was humanly possible and hit ever caved the turns like it was a Thanksgiving turkey. We made it back to the car without any more flats! I don't see how that happened? Once back at the trucks, we loaded up and made the long 4 mi. trek down the crappiest road know to man. Me and Inkpad had a bit too much testosterone flowing as we tried to reenact the opening scene of Chain Smoke II on our way back to Live Oak. We slowed for all on coming traffic.:) I can't believe both of our trucks are in one piece after that. I won't be doing that again........ever! Well?, at least until I get a bit more suspension.:) Anyway, if you're looking for a good 20-25 loop, you couldn't do much better than this.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 25 miles? Elevation change: a lot
Singletrack=65% Dirt Road=10% Truck Trail=25%
DHRipper a 29 year old Downhiller riding a Santa Cruz Chameleon from Portola Hills URL: The Bike Company
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim-I am a Sierra Club member and i can assure you that the national Sierra Club wants hiking only trails and would love to close all trails to anything else.
Sierra club has been around for a long time and because of this we have a lot of support, connections and funds. some of us are mtn bikers also but are ignored as we are the minority.
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim/Trabuco Loop-I did this ride on Wednesday in perfect 60 degree weather. It is easier to ride up Holy Jim. It is alot smoother and less steep. I had said in an earlier post, that Trabuco was better to climb, but it is too rocky and loose. It took me about an hour and a half to climb Holy Jim. Broke my chain twice though!
It was totally clear when I got to the top. Views of the San Bernardinos,Laguna Hills,and Catalina Island.
I rode the 5 miles over to Trabuco, which is all up and down on jeep road with great views the whole way. Seemed like it took forever to get over there. Ate my last Apple Fritter and then bombed Trabuco. What a blast. Really rocky and loose in the middle, and the bottom 2 miles is sweet, curvy, and rocky. The ride took 4 hours, that is with rests and broken parts. This is a great ride, and worth the drive up the dirt road. Be sure to bring your Adventure Pass, and no matter what anyone says, be nice to Sierra Clubbers.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 16 or 17 miles Elevation change: lots
Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=30%
Donut a 28 year old Weekend Warrior riding a DeVinci from Hermosa Beach,CA
- Trail UpdateSierra Club, No Thanks-I'm glad to hear you were courteous with the Sierra Clubbers, but make no mistake about it, they are the enemy and are hellbent on closing San Juan and other trails in the area to mountain bikers. Next time you see one may I suggest...oh, never mind...
Heckler from San Diego
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim @ San Juan Trails...-We did this trail and the San Juan Trail last weekend. It was quite a big weekend of riding! Trying to climb Holy Jim really sucks. I've done Trabuco to West Horsethief before and I think Trabuco was easier to climb than Holy Jim. It was a blast coming back down though. I will definately try the Trabuco/Holy Jim option next time. Wish you didn't have to drive all the way in there on that dirt road, though. This is a great place to ride, because there are very few people riding out here and it's a gorgeous place. Watch out for Rednecks. San Juan Trail was fun as always. The trail seems to have benefitted from some of the rain. Lots of people on the trail, including some Sierra Club Hikers that we were very courteous with. The trail has alot of ruts on the bottom switchbacks and needs some work. It would be a damn shame if we lost this trail. Get out there a ride, it's Thanksgiving!
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 10-22 miles Elevation change: alot
Donut a 28 year old Weekend Warrior riding a 1x1 and DeVinci Dual Susp. from Hermosa Beach, CA
- Trail UpdateDEFY-REFUSE AND RESIST THE SIERRA CLUB,THEY WANT TO CLOSE ALL THE BEAUTIFUL SINGLE TRACK IN THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST.THIS CAN NOT AND WILL NOT HAPPEN!!
E-MAIL CALL ANNOY ALL LOCAL ,STATE AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENT.GO TO THIS SITE AND BE HEARD!!!
- Trail UpdateThis trail could soon be closed to mountain bikers. Check the posts below and take action.
a Cross-Country Rider
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim Trail-Holy Jim is in as nice a shape as I've seen it. There has been some trail work. The switchbacks are less rutted than usual, althoug still plenty challenging. There is a lot of water at the bottom and most water crossing require a dismount for all but the most expert trials riders. The upper section is still a bit brutalized with washouts and rocky in sections, but 90 - 95% ridable. Today, while the valley below stayed overcast all day, it was sunny and bright above the 2,000-foot level. Wildflowers all over the place. A great ride today. Note, the poison oak is quite prevalent on much of the trail.
Distance (up and back), elevation below given from starting point at the beginning of Trabuco Canyon Road, about four miles from the beginning of Holy Jim.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 20 miles Elevation change: 3,500'
Singletrack=85% Dirt Road=15%
RangerJay a Die-hard Enthusiast from RSM
- Trail UpdateHoly Jim Trail-Starts as mentioned previously with several deep, rocky water crossings that are cause for dismount. Once clear though you can expect a fairly steady ascent through a good amount of canopy, a few areas of rocks but mostly just climbing. Switchbacks become the main task for a good hour of the climb with few areas to relax until reaching the main divide. I'm an amatuer at best with a Mongoose DX hardtail and it took me nearly two hrs. to make the climb. From there I went on to Santiago Peak which for me, was as exhillarating a day as I've had on a bike. Needless to say, the ride down was nothing but high speed, thankful for disc braking, fun!! Climb is a bear, but the ride down was well worth it!
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: Elevation change: 3600
Singletrack=80% Truck Trail=20%
Tim Aldridge a 35 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Mongoose DX from Wash, D.C. .mil
- Trail UpdateWater, Water Everywhere...-
The trail is in really good shape, but the creek crossings are DEEP! Got Fenders? Trabuco Creek Road (the bumpy Jeep trail) was full of yahoos tearing it up in their pickups and SUV's, so I drove up to the trailhead, rather than providing them with a lycra target...
The first section was pretty challenging - wet rocks, many dismounts, and creek crossings made
it tough to get momentum, but after the final creek crossing, the switchbacky climb began. Up, up, up with a steady but manageable grade, nice and warm (as usual, I've overpacked 8-))...
As time was short, I just hit Main Divide and then dropped back down. I only saw ONE other rider the whole trip. If you want a nice green singletrack with a lotta solitude, Holy Jim's the ticket.
Ride rating: Intermediate
(Chris) riding a Wet, muddy FSR Enduro...