Nested in the heart of Laguna Beach, California, lies an intricate network of mountain bike trails offering various levels of difficulty and terrains. The route in discussion is an 8-mile loop renowned for its complexity and technical challenges. Aptly labeled "difficult," this route tests both the skill and resolve of any seasoned cyclist.
To reach the trailhead, head south on the 73 freeway and take the Newport Coast exit (note: this is a toll exit). Drive up the hill and turn left at Ridge Park Road. Continue to the cul-de-sac at the end of the road. This is your starting point for the adventurous journey ahead.
Embark on this journey through a metal gate that leads to the first single track—Marie Calendars. This segment is technical and not particularly well marked, adding an extra layer of challenge right from the get-go. Note: As of September 2008, this part of the route is closed, and rangers are issuing tickets for trespassing.
After enjoying the roller-coaster sensation of ups and downs on Marie Calendars, you'll arrive at a fire road. Here, brace yourself for a steep descent followed by an equally challenging climb. At the fork, opt for the left path. Another left turn onto a fire road awaits just 50 yards beyond this point.
Ride approximately one mile on fire roads, and be on the lookout for an easy-to-miss, steep downhill stretch. Conquering this descent brings you to another fire road. Take a right and brace yourself for a strenuous climb.
Reaching the pinnacle of the climb, you'll encounter a T-off in the road. Turn left. At the next fork, you have two options. If you're running short on time, the right fork offers a speedy fire road back to the car, saving you around five minutes. For those in no rush, opt for the left path, which leads to the Fenceline singletrack. A series of gates and fire road crossings eventually brings you back to the trailhead, marking the end of this challenging yet rewarding loop.
For cyclists in coastal Orange County, this Laguna Beach trail offers a rich blend of technical features and breathtaking landscapes. Be prepared for a cardio-pumping, adrenaline-rushing adventure that only Southern California could provide.