It’s a fine, sunny day in SoCal and the TrailBear is enjoying the views along the Castaways Trail atop the bluff overlooking the Upper Newport Bay and the Newport Harbor, plus mountains, fine homes, office towers and bit of this and that. There is a whole lot of overlooking to do on the Castaways.
@@@ TRAIL STATS FROM GOOGLE EARTH…
Length = 1.14 miles. You can make it longer and do a loop by using the bike/walk along Dover Drive.
Elevation gain/loss = 73.9’, – 46.4’ – and most of this is the descent to the parking lot. Basically, it’s flat.
Average slope = 2.2%+, -1.5%. Percentage slope is feet up/down per 100’ horizontal. GE claims a max slope over 34%, but this is not true. TB measures slope with an electronic level on his surveys and says, ”Not so and nowhere near.”
@@@ THE BIG PICTURE – CASTAWAYS AND THE BACK BAY LOOP
The Castaways Trail is one of the short Class I bike trail segments on a large “collage” trail called the Back Bay Loop Trail, which is a portion of another “collage” trail called the Mountains to the Sea Trail.
The loop is worth the ride. There are some miles of mellow bike lane on the east side of the bay. Traffic is restricted. Speed is limited and you are almost at water level. However, on the west side there are miles of bike lane up Dover Dr. and Irvine Ave. with four lanes of high speed traffic. Not the place for a family ride with young kids.
Looking at this Irvine Company web page, you will see that you can take the loop and join another 22 mile collage trail (which is all Class I bike trail) called the Mountains to the Sea Trail. You do have some riding options.
@@@ WHERE TO START THE RIDE?
If you are just doing the Castaways Trail, you can park at Bob Hart Park on Dover Dr. This is a full service trail head. You can also park at the little lot across the street and next to the church parking at the southern end of the trail.
Want a bit of distance and an 8 mile loop ride?
TrailBear starts his ride some miles north at his condo. At Irvine Ave. and University Dr. is the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve, with on-street and lot parking and restrooms and water in the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. There is a lot of bike activity here as the start of the San Diego Creek Bikeway and 45 miles of Class I trails in Irvine is about 1.7 trail miles away.
A short jaunt from the condo puts him on another segment of Class I trail which leads down to Irvine Ave. and Santiago Dr. At this point you can take the official Back Bay Loop bike lane on Irvine Ave. and play with cars. At this point TB turns left onto Santiago Dr. and rides it through Dover Shores to a spur which joins the Castaways Trail.
Dover Shores is a nice place to ride. It is laid out something like a maze for good reason. There are no really direct streets, so there is no through traffic. Instead you have wide streets, low traffic, gracious homes and a nice ride from trail to trail. TB often does this as an 8 mile out and back ride after work, ending at the Marine Memorial in Castaways Park. The two streets of interest are Santiago and Highland Dr. At Santiago and Polaris Dr. there is a short spur leading onto the Castaways.
@@@ ON THE CASTAWAYS TRAIL…
If you rode Santiago over, you turn left once on the trail and a short bit later you are out onto the edge of the bluffs and the northern overlook. Enjoy the views of the mountains, Spyglass Hill on the far shore, Fashion Island, the marina at the bottom of the Upper Newport Bay (Back Bay) and the lower harbor.
Ride along the bluffs. There are two more view points and then the Marine Memorial, dedicated to the 1/1/1 Marine Division. Circle round the flag pole and head inland. The trail divides up ahead. The right fork takes you down to the trail end and parking lot. Across the street is Bob Hart Park, with parking, water and restrooms. If you want to loop the trail, head this way and then up the bike/walk to the other trail end at Westcliff and Dover.
@@@ FROM CASTAWAYS TO BACK BAY LOOP…
If you want to ride the Back Bay Loop Trail, turn left at the junction. Now the trail heads steeply downhill and you are enjoined to walk your bikes. How you walk a trike is uncertain. TB rode his down at a slow bell. At the bottom of the slope you are on a wide bike/walk leading down to the Coast Highway. Follow it and turn left, taking the bridge over the channel.
Continue on to the light at N. Bayside Dr. The bike/walk is on the far side of Bayside. Turn left and ride it to the gated entrance at the end. Here there is another bit of bike trail passing behind the trailer park and the RV campground. It will take you to Back Bay Dr.
Go left on Back Bay and now you are on a scenic bike lane with low speed traffic to the top of the bay and the observation point at Back Bay Dr. x Eastbluff Dr. Here you pick up the trail at the top of the bay. There are Mountains to the Sea signs. Ahead is the junction with the San Diego Creek Bikeway and miles of Irvine trails and more.
TrailBear and his faithful trike “Slow Bell”
Keeping off those Irvine Ave. bike lanes.