The Santa Ana River Trail can be done as an up and back ride and also can be extended with options like starting the ride in Big Bear or by including a loop by Jenks Lake or riding the lower half of the trail down to Mentone. This ride description, though, is for a downhill ride beginning at the Barton Flats.
This ride requires a shuttle. Leave your first vehicle in the parking area the top of Mill Creek Rd.
Optional Climb Out:
The GPS data and elevation profile shown here include a single track climb to the top. If you’re pooped when you get to the end of the Upper Santa Ana River Trail, and didn’t leave a vehicle there, ride up Mill Creek Rd to get back to your car at Hwy 38.
Optional End Point:
Leave one car at the small parking area at bottom of Mill Creek Rd. where it intersects the Santa Ana River Trail.
Getting to the Top:
Drive your other vehicle up to the Barton Flats campground area. Find parking across the road from it wherever there are no signs saying that parking is prohibited. The GPS track begins at the campground. NOTE: If you would rather not ride your bike on the highway to the top of the Santa Ana River Trail, you can park at South Fork and begin the ride there.
This route assumes that you’re camping at Barton Flats. You can shorten the ride by about 3 miles by starting from the Southfork Campground area where it meets Hwy 38. Also, this route assumes that you’re climbing up the single track at the end. You can make the ride a little easier by going up the Mill Creek Rd, but you still gain nearly 1000′ in just under 3 miles. (That’s about a 13% grade overall.) You can skip the final climb by parking a car at the bottom of Mill Creek Rd.