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Tour Guide: Hans Rey's Laguna Beach

Aug 20, 2015
by Dan Severson  
www.danseversonphoto.com

Nestled tightly on the shores of Southern California, lies a unique beach town where the ocean meets the mountains. Located roughly between the city of Los Angeles and San Diego, the city of Laguna Beach sits on prime beach real estate and is only accessible by two highways.

With crystal clear water and tide pool filled lagoons, this scenic beach village has been a major attraction for the artist community since early 1900's, and in later years these shores and coves would provide ideal filming locations for the Hollywood movie industry. The late 1960s and early 1970s would see Laguna as a major hub for the hippie counter culture, and a meeting place for open minded individuals. As the times changed, Laguna Beach began to fill in with a new generation of home buyers and savvy business owners, and would capitalize on the resort and tourist business as well as prime California living.

Despite all the shops, restaurants and art galleries that draw in visitors, for the mountain bike community there is a special side to this town that the average tourist will never see. Part of a multi-park system, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Area is a 7,000 acre space which backs up against 4 other protected park areas in bordering cities. With an approximate 20,000 acre area, the trail combinations are seemingly endless. The trails vary drastically from mellow scenic ocean views, to screaming downhill shuttles of high consequence. The trails that spread off of Top of the World and across Laguna Canyon have also provided countless photo and video shoots for bike brands and also serve as a training ground for local and international racers. Some of the wildlife you may see on these trails are deer, coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, and a variety of birds.

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It's this special environment that has brought notables in the bike industry such as Hans Rey, Brian Lopes, Richie Schley, Troy Lee and countless others to call this place home. We got to spend a day hanging out with local legend Hans Rey, to see what trails and locations make this place so special for him.

Here are a few of his favourite spots, and insight to why he calls Laguna Beach home.

bigquotesMany refer to Treasure Island beach as one of the nicest beaches in California, it is right across the street from where I live and it is surrounded by one of Americas top hotels, The Montage. I often go to the nearby park there with my wife, dog, SUP or a bottle of wine and sometimes practice my trials skills there as well. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

bigquotesHeissler Park is one of my training spots for trials riding, in So Cal, I know every rock and section of the terrain there. The park is located north of Main Beach. I remember many great training sessions in this park, mostly alone but also with Ot Pi, Kevin Norton, Dave Wonderly, Libor Karas, Kenny Belaey or Dominik Raab. I also filmed many of my early videos on the rocks, walls and picnic tables of Heissler Park. Many photographers and TV crews have shot at this scenic spot as well. It was almost impossible to ride and train there on weekends because of the massive crowds watching and asking questions. Recently Italian Roadbike Trials rider Brumotti filmed there for his latest Roadbike Freestyle Clip. It is not rare to see whales, dolphins, pro surfers, incredible sunsets and all sorts of beach culture. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

bigquotesLaguna Cyclery is now the only major bike shop in town. They are also helpful with rental bikes and riding tips. It's one of the places where they truly embrace the cycling culture. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

bigquotesCrank Brothers has been a long time sponsor of mine who started their business in Laguna Beach and their HQ's and store are still in Laguna only a few blocks from Main Beach on the Canyon Road. Most of the people who work there ride bikes and often they organize group rides and other cool events. They have been a big supporter of my charity Wheels 4 Life and are also currently promoting many other noble causes with their #CB4Others campaign. That is what the CB (temporary) tattoos are all about that many of the racers are sporting these days. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

bigquotesLa Serena is one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants in the area. Many people that I have introduced to the place go out of their way to travel through Laguna to eat one of their burritos or drink one of the many tap brews. Wahoo's is another local Mexican place with great food that has always embraced the action sports culture. Eva's Caribbean Kitchen is another favorite restaurant. For nice ocean view and drinks or dining, try out the Rooftop Bar or Hotel Laguna. Breakfast is great at Cafe Zinc, The Orange Inn, Cafe Heidelberg, or grab a Sambazon Acai Bowl at one of the restaurants. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

bigquotesLately, one place that has become one of my favorite lunch spots is Adonis, a small Gyros place near Main Beach. They are located on a small side street between Main Beach and the Library. Their Chicken or Beef Gyros are golden. Hans Rey

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bigquotesLaguna has many trails but it is not exactly beginner friendly due to the nature of the terrain. Steep uphills and even steeper downhills but offers great views of the canyons and coastline. I've been riding and roaming these hills for nearly 30 years. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com

bigquotesLately, the park has finally started to embrace bikers a bit more. Until recently we were merely tolerated on existing fire roads and deer trails. There are many illegal trails in Laguna, and some irresponsible riders are pushing it too far and also promoting the trails on strava and social media. These hills are also the home of the legendary Laguna Rads, the original freeriders - a group of hardcore riders that have been roaming these hills on a weekly basis for 33 years. Some of the more popular or famous trails and spots include: Top of the World, Car Wreck, Rock-it, Meadows, Telonics, Lizard, Camario Gap and BVD just to mention a few. Hans Rey

www.danseversonphoto.com
  Trail conditions are typically loose, dry and dusty. Take your eyes off the trail and you may find yourself making friends with the native plant life.

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  The herd of goats have been spotted from time to time in various locations up in the hills and are there to graze to reduce fire hazards. Feel free to get a closer look, but watch out for the electric fence!

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  Many of the trails in the area offer panoramic views of the coastline. Popular ocean activities are surfing, skim boarding, Stand-up paddle and spearfishing.

www.danseversonphoto.com
  Although the majority of trails require a significant amount of climbing most suitable for a standard trail bike, some trails and terrain will require a DH bike for the average rider to survive and have the most fun. For high speed thrills, start your shuttle runs from the trails splitting off of Top of The World, but be aware that Summer and weekend traffic could cut back a few laps.

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www.danseversonphoto.com

www.danseversonphoto.com

It's always nice to wrap up the evening ride with one of Laguna's famous sunsets.

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For more info on trails in the area visit: ocparks.com/parks/lagunac


MENTIONS: @danyul / @GTBicycles / @iXSsports / @adidaseyewear / @crankbrothers



Posted In:
Stories Hans Rey


Author Info:
danyul avatar

Member since Nov 30, 2010
37 articles

57 Comments
  • 45 1
 The guy is 49 and still killing it. He and guys like Peaty or Missy show me that I will be able to ride 'til I am old and rusty. I truly love this sport.
  • 6 0
 Monarch87, some of us think that makes him still a kid.
  • 1 0
 cable tie for dropper cable is real.
  • 1 0
 No wayyy
  • 35 9
 I'm just gonna let you know that Remy Metailler is invited for Rampage !!!
  • 6 0
 Really ? Not sure how that is going to go
  • 1 0
 euuuh check fb Wink
  • 5 0
 So the whistler crew gonna build a A-line at Utah.
  • 15 0
 Laguna is not exactly a secret. Many of the remaining print magazines do stories like this about riding spots all over the US and Europe. I don't think they are "blowing up" those spots by doing that. Perhaps we may get some more traffic, but it's not a bad thing from my perspective. It's good for business and legitimizes our presence for one. Besides, you still have to get here. It's a pain the ass to get to Laguna if you're from LA or SD. If you live between there, you're already riding here anyway. If you're in those areas or beyond, you probably have your own spots. And, if you had to really travel to get here, you probably would opt for a proper resort. Just seems unlikely that a story like this will create an unwanted surge.
  • 5 0
 I was going to say the same thing. I visited there in January and as awesome as it is, I can't see many people going just because of this article. It's a major pita to get there. Also props to the guys at Laguna Cyclery, super accommodating to our group when I had a mechanical, wicked vibe all around.
  • 4 0
 I would agree. I visited my buddy going to school in LA (near Pasadena) and we decided to check out Laguna for the first time. It was a trek to say the least, had a lot of fun riding the trails but definitely was a trek
  • 3 0
 yep, there are tons of great trails in the santa monica mountains right in Santa Monica/Los Angeles where Curtis Keene rides. I have buddies that go down to Laguna from time to time, but when you have a busy weekend, its far easier to stay in town
  • 14 0
 Laguna beach Pro Retirement home ! Ha ha just kidden these guys still Kill it! Sweet Spot!
  • 11 0
 It's really weird to see such a detailed profile of a place I am lucky enough to call home. I've run into Hans a time or two at LaSirena and elsewhere (as well as a dozen other mtb royalty). It's no joke about STRAVA and the dramatic increase of traffic on the "off menu" trails of Laguna. That and the proliferation of very capable, fun trailbikes and their owners looking for challenges.
  • 6 0
 The lack of tree cover seems just as much a contributor. Without trees, everything is visible. I got to ride there couple weeks ago and found lots of awesome descents by just keeping my head up while climbing. Our local off-menu trails are much harder to find since the trees hide 'em. And the lack of trees also makes those climbs f'n hot!
  • 14 0
 The whole steep uphill and even steeper downhill is no joke
  • 9 0
 Hans Rey on a beach. My first thought was Pasific Blue, who remembers that?
  • 6 0
 "....are there to graze to reduce fire hazards, and provide tasty snacks for the local Cougar(Mountain Lion) population"
There, fixed it for ya!
  • 8 1
 Saw this on Cholla few last week: www.pinkbike.com/photo/12587586
  • 3 1
 I miss the cholla climb. But I have Oregon trails to focus on now...
  • 4 1
 All of SoCal is F@#$%^ and has been for awhile. I spent 2 hours driving 20 miles just today. Good luck trying to get trails approved, hidden from others . . . whatever. MTB dollars aint worth sheet compared to the deep pockets of developers, the international investors (read ASIA if talking about SoCal) and greedy politicos. Late . . . this is old news.
  • 6 4
 This post highlights my biggest issue with the mountain biking community. All these people trying to hide trails and not sharing the love.. You should be encouraging other riders and promoting the sport! "Oh but I don't like it when there's another two riders on my trail" Man Up!!!
  • 8 0
 It's not the riders trying to hide trails in Laguna to keep them from other riders, it's the fact that there are over a dozen governing agencies that have a say in how the land is used, and few of them are inclined to approve mtb trails. Thus the trails are "illegal" and you can get a hefty fine for riding them. Turn off your STRAVA if you ride these trails please!

The risk is that mtbs could get excluded from the parks altogether. We are working diligently with OCParks, Federal and State Fish and Wildlife authorities, the Coastal Commission and the other agencies to develop a positive relationship with the hikers and other trail users - plus respect the plant and wildlife within the parks. Ironically, if a few of the off-menu trails were embraced and made legal, hikers wouldn't have to share with as many mtb-ers on their favorite routes.
  • 2 0
 The idea of Strava is great. Unfortunately it causes more problems then its worth. I'll be honest, I was victim of looking for KOMs on my descents for a few years. If you need to time your self stick to your watch or Iphone. Laguna and Aliso is great riding, but there are so many trails where its illegal. I run in to marshals all the time looking for poachers or hikers that arent ready for you to blow by them at 6am
  • 3 0
 Hans is still a beast on a bike. Articles like this make me realize I'm so blessed to call SoCal home and have been able to grow up here. If you haven't been i recommend stopping by.
  • 2 1
 I don't get what everyone is freaking out about Laguna trails being so crowded. It is my local spot and I ride there every other day mostly during weekdays and I have no problem finding trails that I can ride all alone. Now if you ride on the weekend I'm sure it's crowded, it's the weekend. No different than going to any of the beaches here in the summer on the weekend it's gonna be crowded.
  • 3 0
 How come no shout out to or pic of the Troy Lee Designs retail store right in downtown Laguna? The museum in the basement is alone worth the visit. Very cool!
  • 4 0
 Probably because they aren't one of his sponsors?
  • 4 0
 "Crank Brothers... Most of the people who work there ride bikes"

oh... well good!
  • 1 0
 I was fortunate enough to see Hans a few times back in the late 90's when he used to do his traveling shows with Team GT. With that said, it's awesome to see Hans still riding hard and great article on Laguna, a place I'd love to go visit (and ride) at some point.
  • 1 0
 does anyone can recommend somebody that organizes 1 day trip around L.A. I will be spending 1 week there ( with no bike unfortunately ) and hoping to try some of those great trails. will have 1 day only to "sacrifice", so there will be not much time to discover on my own...
  • 1 0
 Man, tough room... Hans is an original legend that took the sport in new directions and continues to grow the sport today. His passion and skill are limitless. He has ridden with the same sponsors and the same bike Company, but he could definitialy Rock tHe klunker bike at whistler.
  • 3 0
 Man, no shout out to our group trials rides? Only kidding... great photos as always Dan.
  • 3 0
 a true legend and probably the most loyal rider around. has the same sponsors today that he started with ages ago.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a great place to live and ride, the lack of trees would get to me after a while though. Always great to see Hans in action. He's been there on GT since the day I started MTB, legend
  • 1 2
 I rode here a few years ago and was not impressed. Seemed like the whole area was double track width with very steep climbs, and very steep, but not very interesting downhills. I didn't run into anything that was challenging on my xc hardtail. Maybe I didn't know where to look? It's a pretty vast area... I'm sure I'll be back, mother in law lives nearby. I'll have to find someone to show me around.
  • 1 1
 Yep, double wides, blown out, sunburns, mean hikers...a total waste Smile
  • 3 1
 Ot Pi sounds like Hot Pie
  • 1 0
 that was his nickname hah
  • 2 0
 Was hoping to see him hit the cliffs down to Table Rock beach...
  • 2 0
 My backyard!!!! So lucky...
  • 1 0
 Hans has been sponsored by GT for 28 years. That must be a mountain bike record.
  • 21 24
 I love and respect you Hans (no homo) and I guess you as well Dan Severson because I see all your beautiful pics everywhere -- but come on...

"There are many illegal trails in Laguna, and some irresponsible riders are pushing it too far and also promoting the trails on strava and social media."

The main trail you are riding (featured 4 times) in this post is on private property and most definitely illegal. Pinkbike, just delete this post all together and a lot of locals will thank you for it. This post is "irresponsible" and has "pushed it too far". Stop selling out Laguna on a global level. It's too crowded as is, especially w the limited amount of legal trails there are.
  • 17 4
 All the pinkbikers in the world are getting to Laguna Beach and shred it until there's nothing left! muhahaha Big Grin

At some point everyone has to return something back to help grow the community - for illegal trails more riders means more exciting trails and also increasing chance that stuff you built will get legalized one nice day in the far future.
  • 8 0
 I don't think it's an issue, hell its taken me years to finder hear about some of those trails!
  • 2 0
 @brandwinnie, the average reader, unfamiliar to Laguna-which this article is written for, can only infer from this article that the trails he's riding (beside the beach) are one of the trails he mentioned. Riding on the beach may be illegal tho, not sure.
I hope people dont strava, utube, ride illegal trails, esp. without picking ur bike up and walking in/out, not to leave noticable tracks.
  • 11 1
 DRAMAAAAA. I live in Laguna and fully support this pinkbike post! Hans is the man!
  • 6 0
 "oh and get off my lawn!"
  • 4 1
 You sound like one of those territorial local surfer dudes that my co worker from cali (ooh woops i forgot us non californians supposedly are not allowed to call it cali) always rants about. I am sure there are a lot of cool people out there and it is a really cool place, but from what i have heard California is not in short supply of entitled douche bags.
  • 4 0
 the upside is that those dbags often make it publicly known that they're raging a-holes because it's a source of pride. the explicit douchery makes it easy for the rest of us to recognize and then avoid. kind of like how strava people can't keep secret trails a secret, because pride trumps discretion.
  • 1 0
 Leyend he come TO Ecuador Few years before
  • 1 0
 Its so weird to see Pinkbike portray a spot I live 15 minutes away from
  • 1 0
 Laguna is the best
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