I've been thinking about a dirt loop around the San Bernadino Mountains for a few years. I've done a good bit of riding around the Big Bear Lake area but haven't done much exploring outside of the valley so much of my planned route will be new terrain.
|The planned route. I call it The Trans Bernadino's.|
After a easy 1.5 hour train ride from Irvine to San Bernadino, I set out on Old Route 66 up the Cajon Pass to Cleghorn Road and the start of the dirt.
|Not the first time I've gotten my kicks on Route 66.|
Cleghorn Road turned out to be much more pleasant than expected. I've ridden quite a few OHV roads and most are just horrible. I was actually expecting steep, loose conditions and a bunch of hike-a-bike but found a well-graded road that was actually a fun climb. Making it into the top-10 on the STRAVA segment on a fully loaded bike is always a nice ego boost also. The views of the high desert and the back side of Mt. Baldy are fantastic once you gain the ridge.
|Great views on Cleghorn Ridge.|
|The top of Miller Canyon.|
|Exploring the moto trails north of Lake Arrowhead.|
I missed out on around 15 miles of my planned route due to the unplanned bus ride but I was in position for day three which would take me up and over Wildhorse Meadow road and then all the way down the Santa Ana River Trail.
|The climb up Wildhorse Meadows Road.|
The Santa Ana River Trail (SART) is a Southern California Classic. Miles of singletrack carved into the steep side of the canyon make for an awesome ride. Great views the entire way. Things were going great until Middle Control Road. Just after crossing the road there is a section that still has a bunch of downed trees and wash outs. This isn't too bad normally but lifting a fully loaded bike over trees gets a little old after 20 or 30 times. It also put me way behind schedule. I made it to Angeles Oaks just a few minutes before the restaurant closed and was able to get some food and water.
I also decided to make another route change due to the time and not wanting to risk running into worse trail conditions on the lower part of the trail. After a quick run down the Loch Leven trail, I was back on the road for the long run back to the San Bernadino Train Station. Three days, 135 miles, 13,000+ feet of climbing. Not bad for a quick trip to the local mountains.
|The start of 35 miles of downhill.|