Santiago Oaks Regional Park: Chutes and Chutes Ridgeline Trails

Posted: August 26, 2011 by Hans in Equestrian Trails, Hiking Trails, Mountain Biking Trail, Stonework, Trail building, Trail repairs

Project summary: Built a new multi-use trail parallel to the existing Chutes Ridgeline Trail and rerouted/repaired the existing trail. The new trail is called Chutes and the old trail is the Chutes Ridgeline Trail.

Project Location: Santiago Oaks Regional Park Orange, CA

Client: The Land Manager is Orange County Parks. The project was privately funded by local homeowners and trail user groups.

Project completion date: 2/1/11

Project details: Like most of the trails in Santiago Oaks Regional Park the Chutes Ridgeline Trail (previously also known as a continuation of Barham Ridge) was a fall line trail along the ridge. The scope of work, with mountain bikers in mind was to make this route sustainable but to keep it steep and make it slightly more challenging and fun to ride. A new parallel trail (Chutes trail) would be built to provide a multi use route to the top. The idea being that most mountain bikers would ride up the new Chutes trail. For those mountain bikers that found the Chutes Ridgeline trail to be too challenging they would have the option to ride back down the Chutes trail. Also most hikers and equestrians would go up and down the new Chutes though a few might prefer the steeper option of the Chutes Ridgeline trail.

The first step was to build the new Chutes trail. The new Chutes trail was built in August of 2010. The trail is approximately one mile long. The trail provided an easier and more enjoyable way for trail users to connect Irvine and Santiago Oaks Regional Parks and therefore has become very popular.

Work on the Chutes Ridgeline trail was completed in February 2011. Work included adding drainage features to the trail, rerouting of a few unsustainable sections, rock armored steep sections, adding mountain bike features and alternate lines and restoration of abandoned sections of trail. Restoration included the transplanting of several plants that were in the new trail corridor as well as the planting of 100 one gallon native plants.

New trail will run on the left side of the Ridge

The new Chutes Trail from Barham Ridge.

This is an old section of the original Chutes trail. This is what happens to a fall line trail over time. It is now around 15' deep and 15'-20' wide and still growing. This trail most likely started off as an old ranch road.

This is the old section of the Chutes Ridgeline trail. This trail was 8'-10' wide. Trail users trying to avoid the rutted section began to migrate further to the sides of the trail leading to a very wide trail.

This is the same section as previous photo. This section has been rock armored.

The new Chutes trail has bedded in nicely 6 months after construction.

View of new Chutes from Barham Ridge. Notice the grade reversals to help shed water from the trail.

Placing rock in one of the armored sections of Chutes Ridgeline trail with a high line.

Rock armored section of existing trail with alternate lines.

Old restored section of trail. This area had several braided and eroded trails.

More photos of this project can be viewed at: Santiago Oaks Regional Park: Chutes and Chutes Ridgeline Trails

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