San Juan Trail and Caspers Wilderness Mountain Bike Map
Guide to the best mountain
bike trails in the Southern Region
of the Cleveland National Forest including the San Juan Trail
Area Summary Location: San Juan Capistrano/Ortega Highway Best For: Advanced riders Suitable For: All levels. San Juan Trail and vicinity - Strong intermediates and better. Ground Cover: Brush-covered hillsides, meadows and riparian woodlands. Seasons: Fall through spring. Hot in summer.
The southern section of the Santa Ana Mountains is not for the faint of heart. This area includes the San Juan Trail, an often technical single-track that features some nasty fall-offs, as well as the Caspers Wilderness area, which can spook visitors with its ominous mountain lion warnings. Set those thoughts aside and you'll be treated to some of the best single-track in Southern California.
The San Juan Trail is classic mountain biking for advanced riders. Climbing 2,500 feet along an often slippery and sometimes exposed single-track, the San Juan Trail throws a little bit of everything at you. Riders who choose to do an out-and-back will negotiate tight switchbacks, nasty rock fields, steep fall-offs and, on crowded weekends, screeching downhillers. Use caution particularly if heading uphill on a weekend.
Caspers Wilderness is quite a bit more mellow, with easy and intermediate-level fire roads predominating. Because of an incident in the 1980s, mountain lion warnings are common here. As in all areas of California, know the drill for handling confrontations, but understand that such an occurrence is highly unlikely.
Cleveland National Forest is just one of the huge variety of mountain biking spots that Orange County has to offer. Discover more great rides.
Cleveland National Forest Bike Trails
San Juan Trail - Long, often technical single-track through chaparral and oak woodlands. Exposed sections - use caution.
Chiquito Trail - Technical single-track connects upper part of San Juan Trail to Ortega Hwy. Lower sections barely rideable.
Los Pinos Trail - Overgrown and extremely tecnical single-track. Provides loop potential with San Juan Trail for intrepid riders.
Caspers Wilderness Park
Bell Canyon Trail - Fire road through lush woodlands.
Oso Trail - Fire road climbs steeply. Great views.
San Juan Creek Trail - Easy fire road/single-track parallels Ortega Highway.
East Ridge Trail - Another moderate fire road.
Badger Pass Trail - Steep single-track through chaparral.
Directions to trailhead(s):
The Caspers Wilderness and the San Juan Trail are both located off the Ortega Highway (74) east of I-5. The main entrance for Caspers Wilderness Park is 7.5 miles from I-5 on the west side of Ortega Hwy. To reach the San Juan Trailhead, turn north on Hot Springs Canyon Road from Ortega Hwy. at a ranger fire station 12.5 miles northeast of I-5. Note: Parking here requires Forest Service Pass.
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