Orange County Branch Newsletter

July 2022

President's Column

Summer Bike Rides

By Remi Candaele, PE | ASCE OC Branch President

Summer Bike Rides

My friend, Sam Ali, P.E., recently wrote a story on bike trail connectivity in Orange County. The article was published in the ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine. Since Sam and I share the same passion for cycling, I thought I would seize the opportunity to share a few enjoyable rides of mine in our OC backyard. Bicycle rides bring a healthy balance of physical activity, fresh air, much-needed mental rejuvenation, and an occasion to expand our knowledge of Orange County historical landmarks. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) references all trails and routes in a single map that I have found very useful over the years.

  • Black Star Canyon to the Waterfall (~5 miles RT).  In 1769, Black Star Canyon and the Silverado Canyon area were named “Canyon de la Madera” by the Governor of Lower California as timber cut from the canyon was used to build the San Juan Capistrano mission.  Later, unfortunate events earned the canyon its reputation as one of the most haunted canyons in Southern California.  Today, you can bike then hike to the waterfall, where you may distinguish the remnants of a former silver mine and learn about mining in the area (Black Star Mining Company). 
  • Beeks Place (~15 miles RT).  Past Black Star Canyon Waterfall, if you keep climbing Main Divide Truck Trail, you may notice an old cabin offering a panoramic view of the San Gorgonio Mountains inland and Catalina Island offshore (even San Clemente Island on a clear day).  The old cabin is named Beeks Place after California Secretary of State Joseph Beeks, who had the family vacation cabin built in the 1930s. Joseph Beeks notably established the Balboa Island Ferry, which to this day transports locals and tourists between the Newport Peninsula and Balboa Island.
  • San Juan Lollipop (~22 miles RT).  The trailhead is located starting just north of Caspers Regional Park on Ortega Highway. The trail will take you to an alpine meadow with a perennial flow, which is certainly worth the trip.  Next to the trailhead sits the San Juan Hot Springs, which were historically appreciated by Native Indians.  From the 1870s until its permanent closure in 1993, amenities were constructed around the hot sulfur springs to offer therapeutic treatment to vacationers.
  • Santiago Creek Trail (~20 miles RT).  Starting with the historical dam at Santiago Oaks Regional Park, the trail alternates segments of dirt, decomposed granite, and paved surfaces to its end by the Discovery Cube of Orange County.  By the way, the rock cement dam along Santiago Creek was built in 1892 by the Bixby Land Company to collect resurfacing groundwater and support growing agricultural farming (City of Orange).  The ride to Grivalja Park and Old Towne Orange is rather enjoyable, especially when motivated by a weekend lunch or coffee at the destination.  Occasionally, I would extend the ride to reach the Santa Ana River Trail, but urban traffic between the two trails remains challenging.

There are many more routes that we could write on, but, as a starter, I’d like to think that you will be tempted by one of the routes above. And you, what are your favorite rides? Why? Feel free to share them with me.

Since we are on the topic of active transportation and cycling, I couldn’t close the topic without mentioning the Fall and Spring bike rides organized by Nathan Forrest, P.E., and our proactive Orange County Branch Sustainability Committee.  Keep an eye on the upcoming dates by signing up to our newsletter.

That’s a wrap. I hope everybody enjoys the outdoors this summer.  ‘Til next time, take care of yourselves, and please reach out with any questions or suggestions.


About the Author:

Remi Candaele, P.E., M.S., QSD/QSP, M.ASCE, is a Stormwater Professional at Q3 Consulting and the 2021-2022 President of ASCE Orange County Branch. Remi can be contacted at


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