Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Here are some photos from my weekend ride on the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). SART is a classic SoCal mountain-bike trail, running from Big Bear to Mentone. Most riders bike the single-track section near Angelus Oaks. (Beginning or ending at the Middle Control Road just outside of town. Sixteen miles of pristine single-track lead to the South Fork Campgound near Seven Oaks road).
SART is a fantastic summer riding destination with abundant shade and cool stream crossings. Parts of the trail remind one of OC's San Juan Trail - albeit shadier, less technical and larger scaled. The single-track carves along tree-lined slopes and rocky washes. There aren't any extended steep hills, just a series of short rollercoasterish drops and climbs. The ridgelines are awash in Manzanita and offer postcard perfect views of the San Bernadino range.
The riding is fun, relatively fast and only moderately technical. Many sections of the trail are strewn with toaster-sized rocks - rugged enough to keep you focused - but there are no boulder crossings or rock drop offs. Look for fun berms on many of the turns as the trail winds in out of small ravines. There are also plenty of stream crossings, most of which are makable. Downed trees were a problem after last winter, but the Forest Service has done a good job of clearing and cutting the obstacles. As a tall rider I encountered plenty of low bridges, but I only had to portage twice in seven miles. There is a definite advantage to riding late in the season.