For our 2020 calendar we are straying from our European roots to explore further afield, with other tours in the Americas and Asia also added to our schedule. Please contact our experienced team if you have any questions or would like to express interest.
From arid deserts to mountain lakes, there are many reasons that Southern California is the off-season base for so many of America’s pro racers; the remarkable climate, Santa Monica Mountains, and world-famous beaches to name but a few. The LA to San Diego Southern California Raid pieces together celebrated sections of the pro Tour of California and lesser-known routes designed by our local riders.
Starting in the beachside town of Santa Monica, just north of Los Angeles, we begin the riding on the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway 1 with uninterrupted sea views on one side and quaint beach towns on the other. The riding continues towards the City of Angels, through L.A. landmarks such as Studio City, the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park.
After the glitz and glamour of L.A. the tour moves into an area well known to pro cyclists for winter training, culminating in a climb of the great Mount Baldy, named after the large ‘bald spot’ on its south-facing side. Up next, we visit the San Bernardino Nation Forest, a forested mountain range with villages and reservoirs nestled in its valleys. We then arrive at Lake Arrowhead, a tranquil oasis with charming restaurants, scenery and wildlife to spend the night next to the water.
For the final 3 days of the trip, the group will explore more of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, including sites such as Big Bear Lake and the magnificent Panoramic Highway. The trip’s last ride incorporates Mount Palomar, which has been compared to Alpe d’Huez thanks to its 21 switchbacks, similar gradient and 1850m peak.
If you want to join La Fuga and explore Southern California just like the locals do, check out our full itinerary and route maps on our Itineraries page. If you’d like to find out any further information on this fantastic tour, or to book in, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team .
Other Unique Destinations
Check out our other unique cycling tours with the relaunch of our Norway Raid.
- Excellent accommodation at each location
- All breakfasts and evening meals at the hotel/restaurant
- On the road lunches freshly prepared daily
- Experienced guiding team and dedicated support vehicle on each ride day
- Local language guides
- La Fuga welcome pack
- GPX files and route maps for each day of riding
What's Not Included?
Please note tour deposits are non-transferable and non-refundable. Therefore please ensure you have the appropriate travel insurance in place should you have to cancel at the last minute.
Arrival day at our hotel just north of Los Angeles, in the beachside community of Santa Monica. We will prepare your bikes and have an evening meeting to review the week’s riding.
DAY 2 – MALIBU TO PASADENA – DISTANCE 144km // TOTAL CLIMBING 2454m
19 km – Piuma (669m)
23.5km – Saddle Peak (717m)
132.5km – Clear Creek Vista (1117m)
Today we start along the famed Pacific Coast Highway 1, before climbing into the Santa Monica Mountains. We take in remarkable ocean views and have the chance to cycle many of the well-known cycling routes visited by various European pro teams for winter and spring training. We crest the mountains and descend into the San Fernando Valley, making our way past Studio City, the Hollywood Hills and through Griffith Park, before skirting around Burbank on our way towards our final climb of the day, Big Tujunga Canyon Road, in the Angeles National Forest.
DAY 3 – PASADENA TO CLAREMONT – DISTANCE 115km // TOTAL CLIMBING 2454m
Glendora Mountain Road (14m)
Mount Baldy ski station (1877m)
There isn’t an American pro cyclist who hasn’t trained on these roads. The famed Montrose Bike Ride passes each week through Pasadena and along the Rose Bowl. Our ride starts out casually, as we head east towards Glendora before we attack Mount Baldy.
The peak featured on the penultimate stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California when Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner made it a RadioShack one-two atop Baldy. We begin our own climb at kilometre 36.4, and from here ascend steadily for 41.8km with almost 2133m of elevation gain. The last five kilometres include many switchbacks and averages 10%, with the last 800m a brutally steep 12-16%. The locals call this final section ‘The Bowling Alley’. It’s a fast descent into the small town of Claremont, where a great Belgian alehouse and our wonderful hotel await.
DAY 4 – CLAREMONT TO LAKE ARROWHEAD – DISTANCE 162.54km // TOTAL CLIMBING 3973m
Dawson Saddle (Angeles Crest Hwy) (2409m)
We depart early this morning, before the heat of the day, making our way back into the Angeles National Forest past the San Gabriel reservoir. We climb steadily for 40 kilometres before summiting the heavily forested mountain range high above the valley. We pass through the mountain village of Wrightwood, before our descent of Lone Pine Canyon Road at the summit of Cajon Pass. Cajon Pass marks the dividing point between the Mojave Desert and the Greater San Bernardino Area. We climb gradually, stopping just shy of Big Bear, along the shores of Lake Arrowhead.
DAY 5 – LAKE ARROWHEAD TO IDYLLWILD – DISTANCE 190km // TOTAL CLIMBING 3657m
Onyx Summit (2573m)
Oak Glen Rd (1493m)
Idyllwild Village (1893m)
We leave the shores of Lake Arrowhead for the higher shores of Big Bear Lake. Surrounded by the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake sits at nearly 2133m and is exactly 160km from Los Angeles. Snow is common at this time of year so we will be prepared for cool weather. We then summit Onyx Pass, at 2572m, before descending into the San Gorgonio Pass. A gap on the rim of the Great Basin desert, between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains, it was created by the San Andreas Fault and is one of the deepest mountain passes in the US. From Banning, we begin our 48km approach to Idyllwild, along the Panoramic Highway.
DAY 6 – IDYLLWILD TO JULIAN – DISTANCE 165km // TOTAL CLIMBING 2385m
We leave the San Jacinto Mountains and the Strawberry Valley, heading towards the warm desert along the Pines-to-Palms Scenic Byway. We veer north towards the small town of Hemet and pass through fragrant orange orchards. We will stop for lunch at the Shadow Mountain Winery for a much-needed break. Our last push up the Banner Grade brings us into our destination for the next 2 nights, Julian.
DAY 7 – JULIAN TO JULIAN, MT PALOMAR CLIMB – DISTANCE 118km // TOTAL CLIMBING 2149m
Palomar Mountain (1622m)
We gently climb out of Julian on the Sunrise Hwy, then take a side trip up the remote Pine Canyon passing Lake Cuyamaca on the way. We traverse downtown, arriving at the iconic hillside mansion community that overlooks the old town. We swing back through Julian before riding through Mesa Grande en route to Mt Palomar. We then summit Mt Palomar, often compared to the great Alpe d’Huez. Palomar has 21 switchbacks and is similar in elevation, gaining 1318m in just over 20km, at an average of 6.5%. We then descend a different way off the mountain towards Lake Henshaw before returning to Julian via the apple orchards above Wynola.
DAY 8 – DEPARTURE DAY
Your bikes will have been packed up by our mechanics the night before, and you will have time to enjoy your last morning in California before taking the transfer back to the airport after an incredible week of riding! Transfers will be going to San Diego International Airport & Los Angeles International Airport.