Irvine Regional Park, a 160-acre park in Orange, California, became Orange County’s first-ever regional park in 1897. It is also home to Santiago Oaks, one of the better mountain biking routes in the entire county. This trail is not for the beginner rider, but the intermediate and advanced riders are going to enjoy the challenge, according to our team of bike enthusiasts.
It features many technical, rocky descents that will test how well you can handle yourself on a difficult trail.
The Santiago Oaks trailhead is at the Roadrunner Loop (aka Blair Witch), a system of singletracks around the main trail. From Irvine Regional Park, enter the Blair Witch. The trail descends into a dry creek bed at a kiosk. Chutes Ridgeline begins on the other side. Chutes splits to the right and is a technical downhill trail we strongly advise against climbing.
Stay left and you will encounter some tight switchbacks and short, steep slopes. At the top, a double track, Barham Ridge, crosses in both directions. Go right and ride to the downhill entrance to Cactus Canyon on your left. Then, climb the mildly rocky Barham Ridge for a half mile. Take a moment to enjoy the view of the bowl-shaped hills.
On your right, you will see Deer Trail, a fun intermediate singletrack. It reaches a low point in Weir Canyon Loop and climbs out with tight switchbacks. Once the trail connects with another, make a hard left to Anaheim Hills Trail. Continue the path where you will encounter a few switchbacks and rocks.
It will return you to Barham Ridge. From there, turn left and ride uphill. Ride past the Coachwhip and Deer Trail entrances, retracing the earlier path to Cactus Canyon. Navigate through a few easy rolling jumps and switchbacks into the slot at the bottom of Cactus Canyon.
Climb Bumble Bee to trail convergence uphill. Then, ride left on Grasshopper for about 100 yards and left again on Hawk, a singletrack that tumbles down some rock falls. Keep left on the dirt road below Hawk. Then, make a left on Santiago Creek Trail on the next dirt road.
Immediately on your left, you will find Mountain Goat Enhancement Trail’s entrance; get inside and start climbing. The trail twists through more vegetation than other trails on this route. Mountain Goat connects with Barham Ridge again at the top, beginning at the end of your ride.
Ride towards Chutes Ridgeline, which starts opposite the top of Mountain Goat and drops down a tough rock fall. After navigating the jumps, rock falls, and steep, loose slopes, cross the creek into Blair Witch, and you are done.
The Irvine Regional Route trails feature many technical, rocky descents, making them suitable for the downhill crowd. This park may not be an ideal option if you are no fan of downhill rides.