Off-Road Trails in Southern California’s National Forests | Discover the Best Routes - REVER

Discover and ride Southern California’s best off-road trails! Create custom routes, track and share your rides, or try one of our expert staff selected picks to enjoy the best OHV trails in Southern California.

Southern California OHV Trails

There are few places in the world where you can ride both proper desert and snow-dusted mountain ridges in a single day, let alone in a single morning. Southern California is one of those places. 

With many of the region’s trails and riding areas having been enjoyed by motorcyclists for over 50 years, Southern California’s wilderness is hallowed ground for dirt riders of every discipline. Generations of off-road enthusiasts have ventured into these deserts, mountains and forests on their two-wheeled machines since before “dirt bike” was even a commonly understood phrase. Much has changed since those early days of riding with an open-faced helmet and boots made of little more than leather and a steel shin guard, but the love of ripping through a whooped-out section of trail on a Sunday morning remains the same, and finding said whooped-out trails is easier than ever...

Finding the Best Off-Road Trails in Southern California

Our goal is to make discovering, planning and logging your next ride as convenient as possible. The REVER App is free to use and makes finding a state’s best off-road trails as simple as browsing the map using Discover and choosing what routes you want to ride and explore. 

Points of Interest in the National Forests of Southern California

There are six National Forests in Southern California, they are, in order from south to north, the Cleveland National Forest, the San Bernardino National Forest, the Angeles National Forest, the Los Padres National Forest, the Sequoia National Forest, and the southern end of the Sierra National Forest. Each of these national forests contain their own unique terrain and environmental factors, which in turn provide unique riding and recreational experiences. 

The Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake area of the San Bernardino National Forest is arguably the gold standard of off-road recreation on Southern California US Forest Service land. Here you can camp, swim, fish, and ride some of the best off road trails in the entire state. You also have the option of descending into the desert on the east side of the mountain via Arrastra Creek OHV Road 2N02. This route, an ideal option for dual sport and adventure riders, provides a rapid change in scenery and terrain, as well as access to a huge area of federal land near Yucca Valley that is essentially a giant off-road playground. (Pro tip: Stop in at the wild-west-esque desert town, Pioneertown and grab some food and an ice cold drink at Pappy & Harriets, you won’t be disappointed). 

Trail Riding Options in Southern California

The Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake Area are home to a number of legendary off-road routes, such as Redonda Ridge OHV Trail, Holcomb Valley OHV Road, and John Bull OHV Trail, the latter of which will give even experienced enduro riders a proper challenge. This area of the San Bernardino National Forest is also home to a number of great routes for adventure bike riders of all experience levels. Coxey OHV Road 3N14 is an ideal choice for new adventure riders who are looking to get some scenic dirt riding under their belt. 

Located just north of Los Angeles, the Angeles National forest contains a number of great riding areas that are just a short drive away from the concrete jungle. The Rowher Flats OHV Area provides more than enough trails and open riding area for a weekend of fun. Bring your adventure bike or your dual sport - You’ll find suitable options for every combination of off-road bike and skill level. Buffer OHV Trail is a flowing and scenic route that will give you a good idea of what to expect from the area.

Further to the northwest of Los Angeles, the Los Padres National Forest’s Frazier Mountain OHV Area and Ballinger Canyon OHV Area provide a plethora of off-road riding options. Give Frazier Mountain’s Tejon OHV Trail and Snowy OHV Trail a go if you’re seeking some challenging single track, or check out Alamo Mountain OHV Loop for a more leisurely off-road adventure.

The truth is, Southern California’s six National Forests contain more off-road trails than you’d care for us to go on and on about here. Want to see all of your National Forest riding options in California? Simply use the REVER app to view the map area, tap the binocular icon on the top right to activate Discover and select your desired trail type(s), then explore your riding options. Tap on a trail to learn its name and difficulty along with any other important information, and to offline or navigate the trail.

Camping and Lodging in Southern California’s National Forests


There are a number of options for those looking to camp during their visit to Southern California’s National Forests. Dispersed camping areas and campgrounds with amenities can be found at both lower and higher elevation areas, allowing visitors to tailor their experience to their preferred camping style and the season during which their visit takes place. Maybe you’re planning to hit Big Bear with a larger group of riding buddies? The San Bernardino National Forest has a number of group campsites that are available by reservation. Maximize your multi-day riding trip to the Big Bear / Lake Arrowhead area by renting a cabin or house near the lake, providing you and your crew with both comfort and proximity to trails and the lake. 

It’s clear why Southern California has served as the global epicenter of off-road motorcycle riding for generations. Desert, mountains, year-round riding and a local culture that “gets it” all come together to make Southern California an ideal place for hitting the dirt on two wheels.

"You don't stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding."
― Anonymous

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