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Old 03-24-2017, 09:29 AM   #1
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Trip Report Santiago Peak/Main Divide Truck Trail

Haven't seen much on this local Southern California Route so I thought I'd share our experience. We did this trip last weekend (3/18/17) and the gates on the Ortega Hwy side and Silverado Canyon side were all open for travel. Before doing this trip I recommend calling the local Trabuco Ranger District at 951-736-1811 to make sure.

Access to the trail is from the Ortega Hwy (Hwy 74). Turn North from the 74 onto Long Canyon Road and proceed past Blue Jay Campground and Falcon Group Campground. The trail head is just off the side of the road as it turns and is obvious with a large dirt staging area. The smaller dropped pins in the pics show the road off of 74 and the staging area general location.

The route is basically a service road for the antennas at the top of Santiago Peak (Saddleback Mountain) in Orange County, CA. There were some sections that were a little rough (almost 4x4) last year that seemed to have worked themselves out this year. Plan on about 3 or so hours for this 30 mile trail. We averaged just shy of 13 mph but stopped at the top for some snacks and a play session for the kids. If you do stop at the top of the mountain, the bugs are quite intense. Bringing repellent would be smart!

Be cautious of traffic on the trail is it is a highly used part of Southern California. There are mountain bikers, dual sport riders, and many people who should never take a car offroad populating the area. Going early in the morning is highly advised.

I am very willing to do this route again if anyone wants company!


Scott
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17342895_1490099424355569_7254033685704415723_n.jpg   17362454_1492157570816421_2661929572971043099_n.jpg   Ortega.jpg   Main Divide Road trail head.jpg   PhotoGrid_1489985857518.jpg  

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Old 03-24-2017, 09:50 AM   #2
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N Main Divide

Right on Redoval. looks like y'all had a good time. I'm so stoked those gates are finally open again.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:59 AM   #3
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Just a heads up...the Maple Springs gate is locked again. I think this is a temporary closure, maybe a week or two.

If anyone is ever curious as to the status you can send me a message. I live an 1/8th of a mile from the gate and can always check for you.

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Old 03-24-2017, 10:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by BrianBlair View Post
Just a heads up...the Maple Springs gate is locked again. I think this is a temporary closure, maybe a week or two.

If anyone is ever curious as to the status you can send me a message. I live an 1/8th of a mile from the gate and can always check for you.

BB
Thanks Brian, the Fire Marshall we did nearly the whole run with mentioned it would be temp closed for a few days, but did not have exact dates. Thanks for the update!

For the record, I actually spoke with Brian before this last trip and his info was spot-on...thanks bud!

Scott
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:11 AM   #5
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2wd?

Hey whats up there Redoval! I live in Laguna Niguel and recently bought a 2WD sportsmobile. Its got a 4" lift, bilstien shocks, and 33" BFG KO2s. I was thinking about attempting this in my van. I would like to test its "offroad capability". I've done it many times on my dual sport. Not sure it would be possible with a 2WD. I remember some steep, rocky sections on that trail where i was just pinning it on the dual sport. Were you able to do the entire trail with out 4x4?
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:29 AM   #6
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Hey whats up there Redoval! I live in Laguna Niguel and recently bought a 2WD sportsmobile. Its got a 4" lift, bilstien shocks, and 33" BFG KO2s. I was thinking about attempting this in my van. I would like to test its "offroad capability". I've done it many times on my dual sport. Not sure it would be possible with a 2WD. I remember some steep, rocky sections on that trail where i was just pinning it on the dual sport. Were you able to do the entire trail with out 4x4?

MRR918,

My van is 2wd with all-terrain 33s and a locked rear end. There were no points on the trail when I questioned whether or not 4wd would be necessary. Smooth throttle and smart driving solves many situations, even the hairy ones. To reinforce this, our group for this last trip consisted of two 2wd locked vans and a long travel locked Ranger. There were no issues to speak of.

I am happy to to try and do the run again if you want to schedule a time after the gates have reopened.

Scott
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:14 PM   #7
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Great report!

Oh man. I've been looking forward to doing this run ever since getting a lift/33" tires/rear locker 6 months ago.....but every time I've had a free moment, the rains came back into play and the gates were closed. Hoping to get up top and have a picnic there sometime soon! Thanks for giving us all the vote of confidence for doing it with 2WD / Locker.

One question, though --- I've mountain-biked that same run a number of times, so I know it pretty well.....there's that section not far above four corners where it gets somewhat rocky, did you guys air down at all to minimize the chance of punctures? In past years, I know a couple of those stretches were like big loose sliding piles of shale (not the most fun to power through on an MTB....)

In any event ---- thanks again for the report!
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:22 AM   #8
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Great report!

Oh man. I've been looking forward to doing this run ever since getting a lift/33" tires/rear locker 6 months ago.....but every time I've had a free moment, the rains came back into play and the gates were closed. Hoping to get up top and have a picnic there sometime soon! Thanks for giving us all the vote of confidence for doing it with 2WD / Locker.

One question, though --- I've mountain-biked that same run a number of times, so I know it pretty well.....there's that section not far above four corners where it gets somewhat rocky, did you guys air down at all to minimize the chance of punctures? In past years, I know a couple of those stretches were like big loose sliding piles of shale (not the most fun to power through on an MTB....)

In any event ---- thanks again for the report!

MountainBikeRoamer,

We always air down when offroad since it increases the comfort and traction capabilities so much. With that said, when we did this run last year I did not air down and still made it just fine.

We should setup a trip soon to do this run again. I have several other friends who are interested as well.

Scott
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:38 AM   #9
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Scott,

I'd really like to be included on the next run as well. Any issues with a long wheelbase van making the switchbacks?

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Old 05-10-2017, 11:19 AM   #10
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Scott,

I'd really like to be included on the next run as well. Any issues with a long wheelbase van making the switchbacks?

capn
capn,

No, the trail is mostly open and the switchbacks are quite manageable.

We should look into doing the run before the heavy fire season comes as they are likely to shut the area down if it gets too dry. I will have a look at the calendar and propose some dates.

Scott
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