SPORTS & RECREATION

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Posted October 4, 2012 in Feature Story

BEST BIKE TRAIL

Santa Ana River Trail

Just think of the Santa Ana River Trail as the 91 Freeway of bicycling. The 30-mile bicycle path—which starts in Corona and follows the 91 and the Santa Ana River all the way to the PCH—gives you beach access on two wheels instead of four. Then, if you still have some pedal power left, there’s easy access to more trails in all directions. (R.K.)

www.santaanarivertrail.org

 

BEST BOWLING

Empire Bowl, Redlands

If you don’t mind a little noise with your playtime, you can take in the joyous sounds of pins smacking the lane at Empire Bowl. The fun is family-friendly, but there is also a full bar in case daddy needs to sharpen up his backswing with a little something on the rocks. Play is spread across 24 computerized lanes, where you can bowl with your buddies from the office or you can join one of the 2012 winter leagues if you feel you’ve really got striking power. (R.K.)

940 W. Colton Ave., Redlands, (909) 793-2525; www.empirebowl.com.

 

BEST CAMPING

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead has long been one of the most picturesque camping sites on the West Coast. Those retreating to this San Bernardino National Forest getaway can pick and choose. Dogwood Campground boasts hiking trails, modern restrooms and showers, with the alpine-y Lake Arrowhead Village only 5 minutes away. North Shore Campground might appeal to those who want to be further away from the signs of civilization. (R.K.)

www.lakearrowhead.com

 

BEST MOTORCYCLING

The Ortega Highway

Its sharp curves and scenic heights may be intimidating to drivers, but they make the Ortega Highway ideal for motorcyclists. Officially known as State Route 74, the highway stretches all the way from Palm Desert to San Juan Capistrano. It’s tons of hairpins are scary in a car, but just require a little leaning for a bike. The tree-lined mountainsides make it one of the most scenic strips of asphalt in all of Southern California. (R.K.)

www.theortegahighway.com

 

BEST FISHING

Diamond Valley Lake

A celebrated hot spot for its bass and striper fishing, Diamond Valley Lake draws anglers from all over Southern California. Also known as The Metropolitan Water District’s largest reservoir, DVL also hooks fishermen in with its stock of trout, catfish and various panfish. The competitive anglers will find lots of contest action. Hook up. (R.K.)

www.dvlake.com

 

BEST GOLFING

Goose Creek

Tucked away in the Santa Ana Wildlife Area, Goose Creek offers a par 71 course along 6,556 yards for novice and expert alike. The course gets kudos from golfers for its fast, well-kept greens and good fairways. Reviews are positive— golf website greenskeeper.org lists Goose Creek as a “Great” value. The course’s solid rep has helped it to host several PGA events. (R.K.)

11418 68th St., Jurupa Valley, (951) 735-3982; www.goosecreekgc.com.

 

BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT WITH YOUR DOG

Oltman Dog Park

Ask any good dog owner, and they’ll tell you that playtime for their pooch is as important as playtime for their own offspring. Hemet has one of the 951’s best: Oltman Dog Park. Its half-acre is one big playfield. There’s no separation, so keep in mind big guys can hobnob with small fries. Fido can cool off with special doggy drinking fountains, while you can kick it in the gazebo. (R.K.)

Cawston and Eaton Avenues, Hemet; sanjacintovalley.info/dogparks.html.

 

BEST HIKING

Mt. Rubidoux, Riverside

The landmark that’s about as Riverside as it gets, Mt. Rubidoux is also one of its best places to take a stroll. Scaling the trails, either slowly or briskly, makes for a great workout. Or, you can let your eyes do all the exercising by enjoying the native vegetation on one side and some of Riverside’s ritziest backyards on the other. (R.K.)

www.mt-rubidoux.org

 

BEST JOGGING

Pacific Electric Trail

If running through nearly 20 miles of vineyards, commercial corridors and residential neighborhoods gets you goin‘, then get goin‘ to the Pacific Electric Trail. Mirroring the path of the railroad by the same name, the concrete and crushed rock trail courses through Fontana, Cucamonga and other Inland cities, and will in the future hook up with other popular trails, such as the Santa Ana River and San Gabriel River trails. (R.K.)

www.traillink.com/trail/pacific-electric-inland-empire-trail.aspx

 

BEST KART RACING

K1 Speed

Want to race but you’re not brave enough for NASCAR? You don’t need to be. The 20 hp karts at K1 Speed might be more than enough for you. Drivers can giddy-up their karts to speeds up to 45 mph. You can round the curves against other drivers (beware—the inexperienced ones can muck things up) or compete against the clock. You can also earn points and compete against racers nationwide. (R.K.)

5350 E. Ontario Mills Pkwy., Ontario, (909) 980-0286; www.k1speed.com/ontario-location.html.

 

BEST MOUNTAIN BIKING

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Sycamore Canyon features well-maintained trails to challenge novice and expert, cross-country and free riding. There are some big drops and steep climbs, which make for quick speeds, so a little advance scouting may be a good idea. The park offers a great view of Riverside, lots of creek crossings and good chances to see wildlife. Though a popular destination, the park has plenty of room for all. (R.K.)

www.riversideca.gov/neighborhoods/neighborhoods-sycamore-cyn.asp

 

BEST OFF-ROADING

Angelus Oaks

The knolls and lodge pole pines make Angelus Oaks one of the most scenic off-roading destinations in the land. Twisting along the Santa Ana River, you can take in many kinds of views while putting along on the twisty single-track. Do plan on bringing bug spray—it’s reported to be a gnat’s paradise. (R.K.)

 

BEST PAINTBALLING

Code Red

Feeling a little trigger-happy? Well, at Code Red you can not only get away with shooting at your friends and family, but they get to shoot you back! Paintball shooting—known officially as airsoft—is good fun, though not necessarily clean. Multiple playing fields include an acre-wide simulated World War I trench, a recreation of District 9 and more. Even with play guns, safety comes first—rules are enforced and there are even misters for the hot summer months. (R.K.)

600 W. Agua Mansa Rd., Colton, (760) 241-9097; www.coderedairsoftpark.com.

 

BEST TENNIS

Day Creek Park

With four well-maintained courts, Day Creek has become a well-liked destination for tennis players. Since it’s a public park, it’s free, but bring change if you hit the courts at night— there’s a small charge to keep the lights in. If the kids want to do something else, no prob. They can get out of your hair. But since it is public, that means it is first come and, yes, first served. (R.K.)

12350 Banyan St., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 477-2765; www.cityofrc.us/cityhall/cs/parks/loc/daycreek.asp.

 

BEST ROCK CLIMBING

Hangar 18

It always looks so cool on TV, but not all of us can just up and drive to the nearest cliff. Hangar 18 boasts over 50,000 square feet of textured climbing terrain and routes up to 70 feet high. With two IE locations, Hangar 18 promises the best indoor rock climbing around. The courses run the gamut from easy for chickens and beginners to more difficult for experienced climbers. (R.K.)

6935 Arlington Ave., Riverside, (951) 359-5040; 256 Stowell St., Ste. A, Upland, (909) 931-5991; www.climbhangar18.com.

 

BEST WILDLIFE SPOTTING

UCR Botanic Gardens

You can see a lot of plant life—duh—but the garden is also a primo site for watching wildlife. Nearly 200 bird species are known to inhabit the area. In addition to the ubiquitous IE critters like coyotes and cottontails, gray foxes and bobcats have also been sighted. If you’re more into icky things, many types of reptiles, amphibians and insects also call the area home. (R.K.)

UC Riverside, 900 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 784-6962; gardens.ucr.edu.

 

BEST SHOOTING RANGE

Rancho Magnum Range

A popular place to get your Second Amendment on, Rancho Magnum Range offers several shooting lanes and a knowledgeable staff that’s easy-going and casual. If you’re not strapped, fear not, RMR has different kinds of guns for rent, including the infamous AR-15. The range also has on-premise instruction, gunsmithing and will hook you up with ammo (or allow you to save money by bringing your own). The range recently installed Super Trap backstops, which cut way down on ricochets. (R.K.)

9049 9th St., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 987-1299; www.ranchomagnum.com.

 

BEST SKATEBOARDING

Fontana Skate Park South

Strictly for true-blue skaters, the park has all of the requisite rails, bowls and ledges that any P-Rod wannabe might need. From beginners to intermediate skaters, Fontana South has all the park features you need to start your X Games training. (R.K.)

16581 Filbert Ave, (909) 823-8751; www.skatefsp.com.

 

BEST SKIING/SNOWBOARDING

Mountain High

If Southern California gets old, you can always hit the slopes at one of the region’s most popular snow sport destinations, Mountain High. The reasonably-priced resort sports all manner of slopes and terrain, from beginner to advance, but without that whole scary mountain driving (a real drag when it’s cold or snowy). Nearby village Wrightwood offers much the same in a smaller, more intimate setting. (R.K.)

24510 California 2, Wrightwood, (888) 754-7878; www.mthigh.com.

 

BEST SWIMMING

The Cove

The Cove at the Jurupa Aquatic Center is one-stop for all kinds of splashy-splashy fun. Smaller than some of the more well-known water parks, The Cove nonetheless features a junior Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving, and attractions like Riptide Reef and the Ne’er Endin‘ River. You can watch a giant bucket slowly fill up with water . . . or just snooze away on your floaties . . . (R.K.)

4310 Camino Real, Riverside, (951) 360-1974; www.covewaterpark.org.

 

BEST WORK OUT

Fitness 19 in Yucaipa

Fitness 19 has become one of the most popular gyms over the last few years. The chain’s basic approach appeals to those who want flexible hours and all of the requisite machinery one needs to tone up or lose the belly, all at reasonable prices. Weekly readers voted the Yucaipa location as the best of the best—and we can’t blame ’em. There are lots of TVs to take your mind off the screaming muscles and they offer—wait for it—Zumba here. (R.K.)

34448 Yucaipa Blvd, Yucaipa, (909) 797-6595; www.fitness19.com/centers/yucaipa.


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