The Maple Springs to the Motorway route is a ride you can do pretty much all year-round, rain or shine, day or night. As such, it’s often a “back up” ride whenever local area county and state parks are closed. And although the starting point is fairly remote for anyone living in Orange County, and especially those outside the county, it’s worth the drive to experience at least once in your lifetime.
The first 7 miles is a gradual and consistently steep climb all the way up to “Four Corners”, about a third of which is a paved road. The key to enjoying this whole ride is pacing yourself and not blowing all your energy on that first climb.
From Four Corners, you make a left and continue on the Main Divide about another 6 miles of up and down fire roads, some sections of which are pretty loose, steep and rocky.
At about the 13 mile mark, you reach your reward: a sweet 3 mile single track section that drops you straight back down to your car. It may seem like 13 miles, and several hours is ridiculous for such a short trip down the mountain, but trust me: it’s worth all the pain to experience the Silverado Motorway.
This ride is not technically difficult, but because the whole trip can take about 4-5 hours, is not recommended for beginners. There is no water available except at the bottom where you cross a few streams. Most cell phones DO NOT WORK in this area. Bring all essential tools and supplies with you (including at least 100 oz of water and lunch!)
If you’re tired when you reach Four Corners, it would be a good idea to turn around because once you pass that point, you’re committed to finishing the ride! And if you think the grueling climbing is over, you would be mistakened. Be mentally and physically prepared!
Parking / Directions:
This ride begins and ends at the end of Silverado Canyon Rd in Silverado, CA where it turns into Maple Springs Rd in the Cleveland National Forest.
There is very limited parking outside the gate, which is often closed. If the gate is open, there is plenty more parking available. A Forest Adventure Pass is required to park in the outside lot, and anywhere within the gate. If no parking is available at the lot or past the gate, back track on Silverado Canyon Rd and park anywhere that is safe and not a designated no parking area.
Photos of Maple Springs and the Motorway