Probably one of the most popular trails in all of the Santa Ana Mountains, the Santiago Truck Trail to the Luge route begins and ends at the corner of Live Oak Canyon Road and Santiago Canyon Road in Trabuco Canyon, CA.
Parking is usually ample along Santiago Canyon Rd, Live Oak Canyon Rd and in an overflow dirt lot provided courtesy of Cook’s Corner. You should park as far to the back of these lots as possible to allow easy access for the bar patrons! And by the way, if you’ve never been to a biker bar before, you may have a preconceived notion that such places are dirty, with dirty people. You’ll be surprised to find that Cook’s Corner is a very family-oriented establishment. Mountain bikers and their families are most definitely welcome there!
Santiago Truck Trail to the Luge is a great night ride and also holds up well after rain. But if you happen to ride during the rain, be careful on the Luge as it can be quite slippery. Care should be taken to not skid around corners. Skidding equals out of control. It causes erosion, and ultimately destroys the trail.
On the way up, you’ll notice a few off-shoots that run somewhat parallel to the main trail. These “bonus” sections, as we like to call them are tougher ridge-line climbs. If you’re with slower riders, you might consider adding a few of these sections to your ride to balance out the level of the group.
During the first 1.75 miles of your ride, you’ll be on the pavement and gain 500′ of altitude. Don’t worry, the rest of the ride is not that steep! Over the next 2.5 miles, you’ll gain another 700′, reaching the high point of the ride at 2,352′. Except for a 100′ climb at about the 4.8 mile mark and a small but steep climb at the end of the Luge, it’s pretty much all downhill from there. At about the 6.5 mile mark when you reach the pavement, watch out for cars! You can easily ride 30 MPH down the last paved section to Cook’s Corner, so it may be wise to take up the entire lane, avoiding obstacles on the side of the road.
Photos of Santiago Truck Trail and Nearby Areas:
Check out some real Garmin stats for this ride: