I’ve been mountain bike riding in Crystal Cove in Newport Beach, California for more than 5 years now
and I’ve resigned myself to it being a grinding, rather boring training
ride. Going to Crystal Cove has been
good training but fairly sparse in the excitement-and-white-knuckle-butt-puckering-downhill
category (frankly, it's been sparse in single-tracks in general).
…until now. New trail riding buddy David showed a couple of us a brand new trail starting from the top of Newport Ridge. After a mile-ish ride along Bommer Ridge Road we jogged left and dropped into a sick-and-fun single track that parallels the I-73 toll road.
What the ride is like
This stretch of single track starts out with some moderate drops that will test your suspension and quads, then flattens out into a great slalom-y tight trail. Watch out for the many, many tree branches grabbing at you like a drunk sorority girl.
…all good things must end, and after about a mile and a half of this the single track ends in couple of sharp switchbacks (unless you can climb like a mountain goat you're probably going to hike-a-bike) and then an easy fire-road climb. When you get to the top you’ll abandon Crystal Cove and move along into the Laguna Coast Wilderness for about a mile.
Next, you drop off into a steep-but-smooth single-track that lasts about a half a mile. I’m not sure who maintains this trail, but it’s in fantastic shape – smooth and there are cushiony shoulders on every turn to keep you on the trail and out of the foliage.
At the end of this second single-track session you’ll grind through about a 1.75 mile climb to the beginning of the Fence Line single-track. It’s a fast cross-country single-track of about a mile that finishes out on Bommer Ridge Road – and you can climb up to where you started again.
Note that I’ll update this page as I learn more trail names.