While the stairs of South Laguna are great for fanatical climbers, what about options for cyclists, skateboarders and Bullittaficionados looking to do a Steve McQueen homage? Orange County hosts its share of streets that rise and plunge around and over hills. The following five are amongst the more roller-coastery.
For three miles, Lemon Street passes through historic Anaheim and Fullerton neighborhoods built on flatlands. In its last half-mile, however, Lemon dramatically ascends over the Fullerton hills and then just as quickly drops into Brea in a winding, screeching loop that approaches the pinball fun of San Francisco's Lombard Street.
In the morning, Newport Coast residents like to jog and cycle up this gradually upward-winding road from its Crystal Cove start to the Mariners Church finish. At night, young lovers park along Newport Coast Drive's shoulder and embrace. This is one of the precious few places left in the county where total darkness is possible—and then headlights rush up on you from behind.
The infamous "Dip," a blind spot that suddenly, screamingly collapses from under you. We know of a guy who nailed his tennis shoes to a skateboard and pushed off from the top of the Dip. He finished his day at South Coast Medical Center, body badly bruised but shoes barely scuffed.
While the other streets on this list are evenly steep, Rose Street juts, then evens out, juts, then evens out, then just juts. Many an undercarriage has met a rude tapping when speeding southwards toward Orangethorpe.
This avenue leads from El Camino Real down through its whitewashed houses, swoops toward the beach, passes the San Clemente Pier and the beautiful Beachcomber Motel, then swoops back up and becomes Avenida del Mar. Jog it when the Amtrak rumbles by, with the Pacific in front of you, and there's no climb more beautiful in urban Orange County.