Spring is perfect for mountain biking at Irvine Ranch – the mornings are cool, the hills turn green, and there are so many hiking trails.
We asked Jeff Tong, who has been mountain biking in and around Irvine for 25 years, about his passion.
Why ride mountain bikes? I’ve always enjoyed nature. It’s an excellent way to stay healthy, see good scenery, have fun, and hang out with friends.
What do you like most about riding local trails? I like the feeling of conquering uphill and going downhill. You can also cover a lot of territory by bike compared to a hike.
Favorite routes? There are many great hiking trails in and around Irvine such as Black Star Canyon, Santiago Oaks, Whiting Ranch, El Moro Canyon, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Peters Canyon, Quail Hill, and Bommer Canyon. The good thing about Irvine is that almost anything can be reached within minutes. From my home, I can walk any number of trails that provide a varied experience. There is no better place to live than Irvine for mountain biking.
What misconceptions do people have about mountain biking? A big misconception is that it is too challenging for most people. One good thing about the Irvine Ranch is that it has everything from easy, family-friendly trails to moderate and challenging trails. It’s an easy sport as there are many trails here.
Any tips for beginners? Don’t go alone when you start. Go with people who know the ways and act as guides. Try instructor-led rides with Irvine Ranch Conservancy. It’s a great way to enjoy what the Irvine Ranch has to offer. There are many good options. The best time is now because the mornings are cool and everything is turning green.
What’s your ride A 2010 Specialized Epic Expert. I sometimes wish I could get a new one, but it’s still good. It has a carbon fiber frame that makes it very easy to climb hills. The double suspension and the disc brakes make descents more comfortable and safer.
POPULAR PLACES TO BIKE
The Irvine Ranch offers varied mountain bike terrain. Here are three goals to try.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
See California as it has existed for thousands of years. From windswept cliffs to challenging trails, the 7,000 acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park takes you into one of the last remaining coastal canyons in Southern California. Forty miles of trails lead through oak and sycamore maple
Forests and on ridges with the ocean breeze to keep you cool.
The 7,000 acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park offers 60 km of bike paths.
Black Star Canyon
Black Star Canyon is a gateway to the Cleveland National Forest hinterland and the northern Santa Ana Mountains. It is known for its towering red rock cliffs that formed more than 20 million years ago overlooking Irvine Lake and the Pacific coast. Discover miles of hiking trails along extensive slopes with sage, bush, shore and grassland habitats.
Peters Canyon Regional Park
Peters Canyon is great for beginners to build confidence and stamina. It comprises 340 acres of hiking trails that stretch through coastal sage scrub and freshwater marshes. An 8 km long circular route offers some steep slopes and slightly technical sections. Otherwise, it’s an easy ride that rewards you with views of the mountains to the east and the sea to the west.