Best Place to Mountain Bike - 2008
Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
"Woods" features an extensive network of trails offering various types of terrain for all skill levels. There are so many ride options, legal and otherwise, that even the strongest ironman cannot possibly pedal everything in a day. This is why folks return, early and often—and why it can get mighty crowded on weekends. "Lower Wood" canyon is a wide, beginner, fire road with a small, slightly difficult single track called Coyote running parallel. For climbing, try the trails to the lower canyon, Rock-It, Lynx, Mathis or Cholla. Once you hit the upper ridge, ascend to Top of the World overlooking Laguna Beach. Once you've had enough of the view, follow descending rides such as Meadows or, if you're a really good rider, Telonics, which drop you into Laguna Canyon. Don't be surprised if you bump into the Rads, an Orange County and Long Beach mountain-biking club that often darkens these trails. Because of the popularity and skill-level mix of riders, conflicts do arise, especially among uphill chuggers who are not afforded their rightful right-of-way from crazy downhillers using the same trail as a bomb chute. Relax, people, there's enough room for everyone; just find a less popular route and start pedaling. The beautiful setting and pleasing ocean breezes make it worth such annoyances, but keep in mind it can get mighty hot. Bring water, wear shades, slap on the sunblock, and most of all, keep your cool.