OverviewLos Pinos Peak is located in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California. The peak, at 4,510 feet above sea level, is the fourth highest peak in the range that has a respectable prominence.
The peak may be approached from one of three directions:
-from the north over Santiago Peak
-from the southwest on the Los Pinos Trail
-from the southeast on the Main Divide Road
The post often biked as well as being the shortest way is the last option taking the southern approach up Main Divide Road. This is an out-and-back fire road totaling at somewhat around 4 miles.
The Los Pinos Trail is a 2 feet wide singletrack beginning down at the Los Pinos Ranch on the Ortega Highway (CA-74). The trail first climbs up to a 4500' hill where the true peak is first visible. It then descends a dangerous and steep ridgeline to a saddle between the peaks before climbing up to the true summit only 10 feet higher (according to GPS).
Getting ThereTake the Ortega Highway (CA-74) either west or east to just below the pass to the Main Divide Road junction. Head north on this narrow road up into the Santa Ana Mountains. After leaving the residential homes behind, the road comes to a gate and becomes unpaved. Fire danger depending, the gate may be locked or it may be open.
Unless you plan to skip the Main Divide Road section, park at the gate. If the gate is locked, look for a gap on either side of the gate meant for foot traffic. Walk the bike through the gap and begin grinding up the mountain!
When to BikeWinter is typically the best time to ride up here. Temperatures are cool and the air is clear. However, avoid riding immediently after a storm as the track will be muddy and difficult to get through.
At all costs, avoid biking during summer. Heat may approach extreme levels up to 110 degrees and threats of afternoon thunderstorms are common. Shade is very sparse, another reason to avoid this season.