It’s summer in Southern California, and the snow has receded from all of the local mountains, leaving thousands of fresh alpine trails ready to break out those areas mountain bikes.
Mountain biking has become a popular summer activity in Southern California, and that’s no exception locally in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Ronaldo Ibarra and his 12-year-old son Jeremy started mountain biking when they moved to Newhall a few years ago.
“Just looking at the hills as you drive through Santa Clarita, we knew we’d have to try it; then, before we knew it, we were hooked,” Ibarra said. “We try to go out at least twice a month now, but often end up going more.”
Since then, the Ibarras have begun to branch out, hitting some of the nearby mountains to get to more difficult terrain.
“It’s been so fun to be able to advance alongside my son,” Ibarra added. “We’ve been able to give each other tips — and laugh when we (fall). We’ve gotten better and better and sometimes even venture to the advanced trails now.”
Whether you’re new to the mountain bike scene or a seasoned rider, there’s plenty of mountain biking options nearby.
With 12,000 acres of open space and trails that traverse the SCV’s hillsides, along with a newly opened city of Santa Clarita Bike Park, SCV residents don’t have to go far to mountain bike on some great terrain.
“Santa Clarita is awesome because the terrain is here, and it’s also awesome because of the community,” Trek Store Manager Alasdair Fraser said. “There’s plenty of places that have this terrain and don’t have people who are willing to give up their evenings and weekends to dig trails.”
Fraser was referring to the SCV Trail Users, a committee of the nonprofit Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association, that works year-round to not only create new trails but also maintains existing ones.
And with grading on the city’s new bike park at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex complete, mountain bikers will also have another option that is set to include a track with combination jumps.
Trek Bicycle is located at 24727 Railroad Ave., Santa Clarita. For more information on biking in Santa Clarita, visit bikesantaclarita.com.
Though its name can be deceiving, Snow Valley doesn’t just offer winter activities, but is open in summer months for alpine activities, like mountain biking.
As the snow melts, the team begins preparing for the bike parks opening, raking miles of trails of debris, like pine cones and rocks, so they’re in pristine condition for bikers.
This is Snow Valley’s fourth year running its bike park, which is the closest to the SCV and features lift-served, downhill mountain biking chairs that carry four mountain-bike riders per chair, the most in Southern California, according to Bike Park Director Gavin Burke.
The park has more than seven miles of trails for all levels of mountain bikers, with a handful of main trails going from top to bottom and an elevation gain of 1,000 feet.
“We have a mix of terrain, from beginner friendly to a trail with some large jumps on it,” Burke said.
While many of the trails intersect ski runs, the resort creates a trail network designed specifically for mountain biking, using natural features, as well as wooden berms and dirt jumps.
The resort also offers free outdoor movie nights surrounded by pines under the stars on weekends through the summer, if you’re looking for some relaxing after a day of riding at the park.
Snow Valley Bike Park is located at 35100 Highway 18 in Running Springs. For more information, visit snow-valley.com or call 909-867-2751.
Big Bear Mountain Resort
Just a bit further up the mountain from Snow Valley, Big Bear Mountain resort’s lift-served bike park features an extensive network of trails and terrain for riders of all disciplines and abilities.
The resort offers more than 60 miles of cross-country trails at the Summit Bike Park, with 19 rideable miles and its longest trail being 2.5 miles.
The park also permits class 1 pedal-assist electric mountain bikes on certain trails.
Summit Bike Park is located at 880 Summit Blvd. in Big Bear. For more information, visit bigbearmountainresort.com/summer or call 844-GO2-BEAR (462-2327).
If you’re looking for more challenging terrain, Mammoth Bike Park is a four-hour drive north.
Mammoth’s park is the premier destination to mountain bike in Southern California, with more than 80 miles of singletrack and a vast beginner zone for newbies.
Adventure seekers will also find plenty of jumps, berms and drops on some of the more advanced trails.
This mountain also permits class 1 pedal-assist electric mountain bikes on certain trails.
In addition, bikers can visit the Mammoth Adventure Center at the Main Lodge, which offers an adventure course, complete with zip line and bungee options, as well as guided mountain climbing or scenic gondola tours to the mountain’s peaks.
Mammoth Bike Park is located at 10001 Minaret Road, No. 2110 in Mammoth Lakes. For more information, visit mammothmountain.com/summer-activities or call 800-MAMMOTH (626-6684).