High on Mountain Biking | the trail adventures of a mountain biker

Caspers Wilderness Park

Caspers Wilderness Park

Finally, my first USA ride for 2011. After waiting 4 weeks for a repair, I finally hit the road again. First stop was Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Caspers Wilderness Park Map

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Trail Stats & Information

 

Nearby Town : San Juan Capistrano
Length: 9 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically  demanding
Duration
: My time was 02:23:53
Elev Gain
: 1,166 feet
Top Elev : 1,471 feet
Min. Elev : 371 feet

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Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Caspers Wilderness Park Trails, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :

>> The Trails I connected were : Bell Canyon Trail, onto Cougar Pass Trail, onto Oso Trail, down Badger Trail and back along the San Juan Creek Trail.
All the trails I took were really fire roads, except Badger which was singletrack. The Bell Canyon Trail is pretty flat and easy going, but once you veer onto  Cougar Pass Trail, it’s a long brutal climb until you reach Badger, then it’s a mental but fun downhill singletrack. Once you’ve recovered from the downhill buzz, it’s a flat but rocky and sandy ride back to the Trailhead along the San Juan Creek Trail.


 

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My Experience

I really under estimated this loop, I don’t know why, but I thought it was gonna be an easy relaxing ride, boy was I wrong. The first 10 minutes on the Bell Canyon Trail were what I was expecting, a nice flat easy scenic trail. The trouble started on Cougar, where it starts climbing. The first climb is short but bitter, and I actually made it all the way without stopping.. but when I reached the top I was knackered, and had to sit down for 5 minutes. It wasn’t just the climb, it was the sun and lack of any cover. Once I got back on my steed things went fine until the REAL climb started on the Oso Trail. From here I would guess it’s about a solid 3 mile climb, technically very easy, however physically very demanding!. I ended up walking  quite a bit on this climb. It was HOT! with no cover or shade at all.
To be honest, I had planned to continue to the Cold Springs Trail, and head down that one, but I was burnt out by the time I reached Badger, and although I cannot speak for the Cold Springs Trail, the Badger looked absolutely mental, sweet singletrack heading straight down.
I rested for 10 min. at a lean to at the top of Badger, before heading down. The trail is extremely fast, and certain sections are loose baby heads, and I nearly took a dive, but luckily I made it down in one piece.

Conclusion

All the Trails I did are easy to follow, and the free map from the rangers office is adequate to use. It gets really hot here, so take some sun screen and plenty of fluids.  It’s a long and tiring climb, but the Badger makes it worth your while. Take it easy on the Badger, it’s very fast and there are lots of loose rocks and huge thistles actually on the path. For a quick exit back to the Trailhead you could follow the road, I followed the San Juan Creek Trail back, but it was not much fun at all.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : No one, but it can get very busy during weekends
Wild Life : Too tired to notice any wildlife. [ Remember you are in Big Cat Country ]
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : from San Juan Capistrano take the Ortega Highway to Caspers Wilderness Park
Other : You are in Big Cat Country, both mountain bikers and hikers have been killed here [ read more ]

 

My Trail Rating : 6.5 / 10 

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