The Best Guide to Motorcycle Roads, Rides & Events

Ortega Highway (AKA "The Awesome 74 to Lake Elsinor") + ADD NEW ROUTE


30   in California California32 Miles

By Bill Belei
on July 1, 2005

4.1out of 5

9 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

The directions to this route are incredibly simple. Just get your self to San Juan Capistrano, CA and head east on route 74 or get your self to Lake Elsinore, CA and head west on 74.

Scenery

This road takes you through the Cleveland National Forest between San Juan Capistrano, CA and to Lake Elsinore, CA. You'll pass through some great mountain/valley scenery as you descend and climb through the national forest. In addition to mountains you'll see some lush plant nurseries and pass through some alpine forest areas. When you finally reach the end (near Lake Elsinore) you will truly be amazed at the breathtaking view of Mt. Elsinore as route 74 sits thousands of feet above the lake and its valley. 74 then quickly descends down to the lake and town.

Road Quality

The roads have a great combination of sweeping turns and twisties. It has a nice section that puts together a series of 180 degree turns as you quickly climb up a mountain. The part of the road near the end and dumps you down into the Lake Elsinoreis full of great turns as well. When I was out there, there were more bikes than cars as this truly is a favorite ride in southern California for bikes.

Roadside Amenities

There is not too much to do in the way off "Roadside Amenities" however there are two bar/diner places along the route that cater specifically to the bike crowd. One of them is called Hell's kitchen and it caters to the cruiser/Harley crowd and the other is the "Lookout Roadhouse" which seems to attract more of the sport bike guys/girls. Other than that the town of Lake Elsinore has plenty of places to grab a bite and get your tank filled up.

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) : Bill Belei

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By mooseariss
on July 26, 2011 2 out of 4 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2004

Motorcycle Make HD

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

This is a hell of a ride to do during the summer months. If you are lucky and get ahead of traffic going on this road, it can be clear all the way to your destination. Very very well conditioned roads, on the Orange County side. It appears that some major road work was done in the last few years, making this a very desirable ride.
Sadly, the road condition tends to become varied once entering Riverside County. None the less, this is still a very nice ride and a very beautiful run. would suggest any one who has not ridden it, to give it a try. A word of caution, a lot of woodland creatures tend to jump across the road. so don't freak out if a squirrel happens to jump out and try to mess you up.

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By Guest
on August 2, 2013 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2005

Motorcycle Make Victory

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

This is a fun, easy day trip or great weekend getaway to the beach. My wife, she drives a Vulcan, go the opposite direction from Lake Elsinore to San Juan Capistrano then spend the night in San Clemente at a comfortable and friendly Bed and Breakfast, Always Inn. Beautiful mountain and costal scenery. Easy road other than the initial ride up the Ortega Highway on the Lake Elsinore side. Spectacular views of the Inland Empire.

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By Guest
on March 7, 2011 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2011

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Nice twisties. Agreed, route is pretty short. Make sure you keep going after "The Lookout" and have lunch at "Hells Kitchen". Afterwards, you can keep going in to Orange County and do some beach crusing if you want to make it an all day ride.

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By Guest
on June 22, 2010 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2010

Motorcycle Make Triumph

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Beautiful ride in Southern California. Great scenery and tight turns. One huge problem is the amount of traffic. It is known as a very dangerous road as a result. Just too many cars.

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By Guest
on March 7, 2010 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2003

Motorcycle Make Suzuki

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Ridden this road a couple times and it’s a very nice jaunt between the 15 and the 5 on your way to San Diego. A lot of fun to ride, good curves, and if you catch it in the middle of the week, car traffic will be light. A little on the Short side though. Don’t get me wrong, the road is a lot of fun and the Lookout café overlooking Lake Elsinore is not be missed. It just seems that once you really get into it, it ends. Good for an afternoon but not a day trip.

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By Guest
on January 14, 2010 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2007

Motorcycle Make BMW

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

I have ridden this section of road about 5 times. It seems as though every time I try, there is a lot of 4-wheel traffic. So, it's a little difficult to open up and let loose. But.... If I could ever get a clean run, it would be a blast. The pavement from the county line (Riverside to Orange Counties) into O.C. was redone in 2007.

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By Guest
on January 3, 2009 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2002

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Touring

Although I didn't read it from stem to stern and didn't see the alternate name, it's also known to locals and more as, the "Ortega Highway". Just thought I'd throw it out there. Nice road though.

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By NetWatchR
on August 10, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki

Motorcycle Type Enduro

This is a great local ride for me. I do it about once a week with my daughter riding pillion. The views of Elsinore Valley are amazing. Besides the two restaurants mentioned there are also a couple of Mom and Pop convenience stores where you can grab a quick snack, a soda or purchase day passes for the Cleveland National Forest (CNF) hiking areas.

I'll add on for the Enduro crowd, at the top of the Ortega on the Elsinore side is where you'll come across Main Divide Road. South will take you to the Wildomar OHV area, camping and further thru the CNF and meet up with Clinton Keith up on the Santa Rosa Plateau. North will take you to a campground and the dirt roads that follow along the crest of the mountain towards Corona and beyond. Both roads are narrow without any lane markers and the asphalt sections will have dirt & gravel: NOT suggested for Sport bikes or Cruisers.

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By Guest
on December 28, 2009 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 06

Motorcycle Make Yamaha

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Made for a great day. Thanks for the heads up

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