Me and the wife will be moving back to CA in 10 months. I'm currently stationed at fort Campbell ky, and live in clarksville TN. I've always been a man that needs some trees and mountains in my life, out here I can go to turkey bay ohv park in land between the lakes ky. When I lived in CA before, I was in angelus oaks, and I wheeled in big bear a lot . I spent a lot of time in the eastern sierras and had a cabin by bishop creek lodge and southlake... Here's my dilemma, I'm going to be living in Orange County when I get out of the army. What does that mean for me and my passion for offroading and love for the outdoors? No snow, no mud, no pine trees or lakes... I used to live right down the street from some of the best wheeling in the country. What's there to do in orange county besides watch all the snooty ppl in their landrovers go to wine tastings?
What can anyone tell me about the 4wheeling in/around OC. I have barely spent any time out there.
[B][/B][I][COLOR="White"][/COLOR][/I]WHITE JEEP CLUB #171
I feel you man I hate this place because there is no good offroading locally. The only close place to go wheelin is Holy jims and santiago canyon, those get boring after the first run, its fun for stock jeeps but lifted is too easy and sad, its dry, no lakes/rivers, and no nice trees and stuff. other than that theres nothing till Azusa, Kern, or Big Bear.
Well, the closest you'll find to the OC is the Santa Ana Mountains, not much forest up there but there are forest service roads. A small OHV area can be found near Wildomar. The Santa Ana Mountains are nice for a cruise, but nothing challenging. You can drive up from the Orange County side and over and down east side when the roads are open.
Go further inland to the San Jacinto Mountains and San Bernardino Mountains and you'll find even more roads to explore within the San Bernardino National Forest. Pleasant pine forests, more miles to explore (some roads are maintained by local 4WD clubs and provide a little more of a challenge), and maybe some stream crossings depending on the season.
Unfortunately, here in SoCal you don't have too many open OHV areas where you are free to roam. Ocotillo Wells out near the Salton Sea, and Johnson Valley near 29 Palms are two areas that I know of where you can roam openly. Plenty of people go out these places to camp and explore.
Forest service roads here are subject to closure depending on fire hazard conditions.
Santa Ana mountain fire roads are close, and ok for a couple hour cruise, but there are no more challenging trails off of the main fire roads like there are in Big Bear. There are live oaks and pines, but they tend to be in the canyon bottoms and the more north facing slopes that don't get as hot. Holy Jim in Trabuco Canyon runs up a canyon bottom along a creek in the trees, but it's a pretty short trip. There are some good hikes in the area if you're into that.
There are a lot of other options, but nothing closer than about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or more on the road to get to any of them.