Laguna Beach is an incredible place in so many ways and different to many of its Orange County siblings with its own individualistic tendencies. But behind all of the glitz and the glamour associated with the OC lies something very special indeed – Laguna Canyon. This place has a network of trails that makes it a must for all travelling mountain bikers. Coupled with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and great weather, this makes winter training here an absolute blast!
The trails themselves are like nothing I’d ridden before, starting with the sheer speed of them – everything is so fast here! No matter what the trail is doing, you find yourself constantly going flat out. But don’t be fooled by this, as the trails are still technical, with large slabs of rock. These tend to be the main features of the trails and whether you’re weaving your way through them or jumping from one to another they contribute hugely to the flow. The desert-like conditions make the dirt extremely hard and fast rolling, which also contributes to the trails' high-speed nature.
Here’s some footage of one of Laguna’s more mellow trails:
Neither side of the canyon has a set loop. Instead, there are multiple ascents and descents that allow you to mix and match trails to suit your preferences. This element opens the trails up to all abilities and like most places, there’s a mix of public, sanctioned and secret (insert ‘illegal’) trails. The public ones can be found on a map, whereas the secret ones might require some local knowledge. My top three recommendations would be T&A, Hawk Drop and Car Wreck.
George hitting the rocks!
Here are some useful tips that might make your trip here a bit easier:
- Take an all-mountain bike with you – anything else will have you missing out!
- As far as working out how to find trails, there are a few options. Troy Lee Designs have a store in the heart of Laguna where they have a ride every first Saturday of the month. These are a great way to find some trails and meet other like-minded people.
- Laguna Cyclery is a good local bike shop. They’ll happily point you in the direction and help fix any problems you have.
- If pedalling up gets too much, you can (for less than a dollar) get a bus that runs from downtown to the top, and from there you’ll find a choice of three downhill trails that take you back into town.
- Finally, if you don’t find anyone helpful (which is fairly unlikely) every trail is listed on Strava (even the secret ones).
So if you ever get the chance, I urge you to visit Laguna Beach. I promise it’ll live up to the hype!
A view many of us have only seen in pictures and videos – Laguna is steeped in MTB history!
Dry, dusty and flat out – how good does that look?