- Friday, October 07, 2022
Southern California Trails
Johnsons Motorway - #JohnsonsMotorway
Socal - Ventura County - Chatsworth NickNames: #JohnsonsMotorway
Exit the 118 Frwy at Topanga Canyon Road. Turn right and then a quick left into a condominum development. Head through the developement until you come to a gated community. Park your car and gain admission by giving the guard your drivers license number and "registering."
To get to the trail head, pass through the gate (after registering). Turn left at the first street, then right at the first street. Turn left at the first street and then right at a "T" in the road. You'll see a wooden arch made of telephone pole like posts. Ride under the arch and you'll come to a fire gate with a worn metal post that says Johnson Lat. Thomas Guide page LA 500 A1
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- Trail UpdateJohnson Motorway-The trail is in good shape, a few sections getting a little sandy. I like the ride up this trail and it is always a contest to see if I can make it from the bottom to the top without a "dab" or a rest stop. Johnson wins again today with a single dab.
Jerry BOMB a 55 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Fuel Ex9.9
- Trail UpdateThe entrance to this trail has changed just a bit. There is no more wooden arch or signs. Where the dirt hill started, it is now paved. Follow the same directions and climb the new pavement for about 200 yards and when it curves sharply right, the dirt trail starts on the left. Its pretty easy to spot.
I rode up at night on 11-14-07 and it was about 75 degrees at the start -around 6pm. Winter?? not quite! The trail itself is as good as its ever going to be. 100% rideable with lots of rock gardens and short steep steps. I enjoy this seldom ridden trail that has many options at the top. Rocky peak, Chumash or hummingbird trails or one of my favorites, Devils cyn.
- Trail UpdateManaged to lug my fat clydesdale arse up Johnsons yesterday 6/13. Its still the same as mentioned before although the upper trail sections are starting to take better shape. I opted to take Rocky peak rd back for a faster, smoother, not so bone jarring downhill!
- Trail UpdateFinally got back on Johnsons on Sunday 3/6. After so much rain, it had been awhile since I was out here. Unfortunately, the development of the area continues. The lower 1/4 of the fireroad portion of Johnsons, has been graded flat. There is a property about 1/4 of the way up the fireroad, that is now graded in preparation for somebody to build a house there. This portion of the fireroad used to be really nice, very rocky and technical, but it is now gone. Graded so flat and wide, it might as well be paved (and maybe will be). Totally sucks. Anyway, the good news is that 3/4's of the fireroad, and the entire singletrack remain untouched. Unfortunately, there are a couple spots on the singletrack that have really been hammered by the rain. Very deep, narrow ruts have almost obliterated the trail in a couple spots. The way the trail is constructed in some places, the water has no place to go but straight down the trail. Carving huge ruts, and basically removing the trail along the way. This will definitely require some repair... Still fun, but needs work, and if only we could stop the developers...
Pilot a 32 year old
- Trail UpdateDevelopers Strike Again!-Man this sucks, here we go again. A few weeks back I noticed something alarming on one of my weekly rides on Johnsons. At the bottom of the fireroad, there was a sign laying in the bushes. It was a 'notice of proposed trail realignment.' Unfortunately, when I saw it the comment period had already passed. Well, in the last two weeks there have been markers put up on the bottom 1/3 of the Johnsons fireroad. These are the kind of markers I am used to seeing just before a fence goes up. Does anyone know what is going on here? From the very little bit of info that was on that sign, it seems that part of the Johnsons fireroad crosses someones property, and they want it changed. This really sucks. Especially since that lower portion of the fireroad just recently has gotten really rutted and nasty. Just when it was getting really fun, it looks like they are gonna go screw it up. At this point I guess we just have to wait and see what they do. But if anyone has some more info on whats going on here, lets hear it!
Pilot a 32 year old Racer riding a Spider SPV from Chatsworth
- Trail UpdateLet It Rain!-The rain has really done great things for Johnsons. Descended it the last two Saturdays, as part of a larger Rocky Peak loop. Lots of erosion on both the singletrack and fireroad, and it is a thing of beauty! I ride this trail often, so it has become a bit predictable for me. Also, it is a rough and fun descent, but it does not have any really tricky turns or obstacles. But now, it is seriously rutted and eroded, make it a bit more of a challenge at speed. In fact, when I was flying down it on Saturday, there was some serious courting of disaster happening! :) Threading the needle between big ruts, serious erosion holes around rocks, and going fast combined for some real fun! And the nice thing is, the singletrack has no blind corners, so you can go pretty fast, and still be safely in control. You won't surprise any hikers or horseback riders if you are paying attention. Anyway, if you drop into one of these ruts at high speed it could get ugly. Very fun conditions, it is the best I have seen it in the last couple years. The fireroad section is also pretty rutted and eroded, in some places I have to take new lines. Still very fast and tacky, though. Overall, the whole run is much improved. The sandy area on the singletrack is getting better, but still needs more rain to pack it down. The only downside, too much rain could erode this trail too much, in a bad way. But so far, that isn't happening, and hopefully won't... Oh yeah, and no signs of any motorheads in a long time. Fortunately.
Pilot a 32 year old Racer riding a Spider SPV from Chatsworth
- Trail UpdateSick, Sick, Sick-Wow, dude, replying to a post thats 4 months old. Thats sick. I hope I see you on the trail crashed. Then, I can laugh at you for being in a place you're not supposed to be. And why are you reading a MTB site if you're so MOTO.
Too ashamed to post my real name a 102 year old Racer riding a Walmart Special from Chatsworth
- Trail UpdateThe Mileage...-is about 15 1/4 for that loop. I haven't figured the elevation gain/loss. Don't know anything about the homesite, it would be interesting to know the story. I saw a motorcycle on Rocky Peak FR last year about a week after the fire, his tracks had come down Chumash about a quarter mile and turned around. Then we passed on RPFR between Chumash and Las Llajas cyn. Haven't seen any since.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 15.25 miles Elevation change:
AG a Cross-Country Rider from Simi
- Trail UpdateWhats Up With The Home Site-I am looking for info on the stone foundation that one can find on a short left fork near the bottom of Johnsons? It appears to have been a home with a prety cool layout and great view. Hard to imagine letting a place like that go. Thus the ???
Trail conditions: much loose sand and sand mixed with ash along the trail. Despite the descriptions below, descending the motorway did not seem overly technical. No huge drops or major craters, just an ever shifting line and much small scale chaos. Mostly fun. Todays loop, up chumash, down johnson, up road to rocky peak, up rocky peak fire road, back down chumash. Anyone know the miles or elevation gain for that loop?
Ride rating: Intermediate
I'm Vern a 41 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a blur from Simi
- Trail UpdateWTF?!-I hit up Johnsons last Friday (2/20) morning, for a quick ride up to Rocky Peak and back. As I was climbing the fireroad, I noticed a lot of tire tracks from vehicles. I thought that was unusual, as it had just rained the day before, and these tracks looked fresh. When I got to the singletrack portion of Johnsons, there were ATV (Quad) tire tracks continuing UP JOHNSONS singletrack!!! WTF?!?!?! I could not believe it, and I was imagining how the technical section at the top might be tore up by the Quad! Fortunately, the ATV tracks only went about halfway up (aprox. 1 mile) the singletrack section, before turning around.
I have been riding Johnsons motorway at least once a week for about two years now. This is the first time I have ever seen this sort of thing, and it is a real problem. First off, this was probably the work of a local resident within the gated community at the bottom of Johnsons. I cant imagine that an ATV would be let into the gated community from outside, unless a gate was left open and unattended. Either way, I can't help but wonder why there is not even a 'No motor vehicles' sign at the Johnsons singletrack?! Anyone want to see an ATV on Hummingbird or Chumash?! Well, if that guy had continued up Johnsons, he could have ridden that Quad on any one the Rocky Peak trails!
We need to do something about this!
Pilot a 31 year old Racer riding a Spider SPV from Chatsworth
- Trail UpdateAfter Fire-The fire blasted this area. Chumash and Hummingbird seem
really bleak until you come here.
The trail is in great shape, with no brush obviously. Post fire, all
the trails feel different; you can see much better, but it feels less
like a tight trail and more like a fire road.
Worth a ride soon just to see the moonscape.
Ride distance: 5 miles Elevation change:
LCS a 35 year old Cross-Country Rider from LA
- Trail UpdateRecent rains have changed this trail a bit.
Still wide & open in the beginning, but so much water has caused the trail to show the rock underneath much more. and of course, the beautiful views of RockyPeak & SFV, with much more traction because of exposed slickrock.
ET riding a Switchblade from Simi
- Trail UpdateJohnson's Motorway Loop-I rode down johnson's yesterday for the first time in about a year. The grading has "cleaned up" the old road up to the burned out house and didn't really change much except to fluff things up.
I suggest that when doing a loop with johnson's, after you get down to the pass road, turn left and go down the pass for about 100 yards. On the canyon side you will see a overgrown road with a cable across. (yeah it was a dirt road) Bush wack down the old road for about 50 feet and you will find a single track that goes up the canyon. As you get close to the old Spaun Ranch (now Church at Rockypeak) property you cross the creek and climb up the hill. Stay on this single track for about 1/4 mile untill you come to a dirt road. Turn left and climb up the dirt road for about 100 feet and then turn left onto what was the original Stagecoach road (I never could figure out why the other trails were named stagecoach when this is real one), anyway follow this old raod (now a single track) all the way up to the top of the pass.
Like I said yeasterday was the first ime in about a year i did this loop and this portion was pretty overgrown, with only a few mtb tracks visible. If more people would ride it it would get much better.
Lost coyote a 49 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Fuel 100 from Santa Susanna Knolls
- Trail UpdateDevelopment?-The bottom mile of Johnson's has been graded to
make room for what looks like an old lot that will
be developed. Currently the road is sandy and not
much fun to climb until you reach the delapidated
power line poles, where the grading stops. If the
surroundings are unfamiliar to you, ride up what
looks like singletrack when given the option to go
straight or veer right. The climbing gets reasonably
technical after the turnoff.
Hopefully this is as far as the grading will go. This
is by far the best way to get to the top of RPFR.
Be the ball.
- Trail UpdateJohnsons Motorway-Ok, now for a posting thats actually about Johnsons Motorway... Rode up Rocky Peak fire road first. I have been riding up the fire road almost every week for the last few weeks, and the conditions are getting worse. The really sandy part near the beginning (maybe 1/3 mile up?) is really bad. And it is only going to get worse. Oh well. Anyway, got to the top, mellowed out and enjoyed the view. The whole area of this ride is really incredible. The sandstone rocks everywhere make this a very unique and beautiful place. Now it was time to put the suspension to the test, and bail down the rocky playground of Johnsons Motorway. I love this trail, it is just a lot of fun riding on this kind of terrain. Long rock chutes with all kinds of drop offs and ruts to make it somewhat technical. As for some of the previous comments, I have ridden down this trail on my full rigid CroMoly steel bike, and I can still fly down it. Any decent mountain bike will work if the rider is up to the challenge. Today I rode down with full suspension, which makes it even funner and faster. Also, I personally would rather climb up via Chumash trail or Rocky Peak fire road, and then descend Johnsons. I am sure it is a tough and rewarding climb, but it is just too much fun to descend it. If you do climb up Johnsons, I recommend you descend back down it! ;) I just wish this trail was longer. The first 1.8 miles down are the rocky singletrack, fun part. After that there is another mile or so of fire road that is presently very sloppy loose dirt. This means you have to go a little slower than you otherwise could on this kind of downhill fire road. Bummer. Maybe next year we will have a lot of rain, and all the loose dirt on the fire roads in these areas will get packed down. That would make this section, and the fire road up, a whole lot more fun. But all that aside, this is a really great area for scenery and riding. Go do it.
Ride distance: 9 miles (or so) Elevation change:
Singletrack=30% Dirt Road=60% Paved Path=10%
MikeM a 29 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Sugar 2 from Chatsworth, CA
- Trail UpdateI WENT THERE, AND HOLY CRAP.-YOUR TRAIL WAS OUT OF SIGHT. THANKS.
MIKE JOHNSON a 19 year old Weekend Warrior riding a HAND ME DOWN from SIMI VALLEY
- Trail UpdateMountain Man-You should take "KAMAKAZI BEND" now this trial will put hair on your privates. Just take the 101 east till your reach the Benton Off ramp. Hang a right, go down to the Shell Station, then go left, three miles down you will come you will see a fork in the road. Take the left road. Go 2 more miles till you come to the big oak tree, turn left down Powtell rd. then go 1/2 miles till you reach the Mason Country Drug Store it will be on your right. Hand a left on Brownstone, go another 2 miles, and you'll come to two big huge pot holes in the road. Turn down the fire trail after the 2nd pot hole, and you'll come to a Andy gump missing a door. Go past the andy gump, and up the fire road till you come to a big field with apple trees. 14 tree's in you'll come to picket fence. Go thru the picket fence, past the old Barn, and on the right you will come to a big pine tree with a sign on it. The sign reads: YOU ARE TRESSPASSING. Forget the sign, the house burned down back in the 70's. Go past the Pine tree, and you'll see where the pass begins. This trail, has 60 verticle drops, 12 foot jumps over 30 ft gorges, dirt mogels that tears bikes up. Down hills that are so steep, you would have to be a nut to go down. 7 miles of hell. Yes sir. This bike trail makes what that other Putz was talking look like a Yellow brick Road. Take this trail if you can? But I warn ya. I hope you have a good HMO.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: Elevation change: 7000
Singletrack=45% Dirt Road=72% Paved Path=45% Truck Trail=24%
Mountain Man a 72 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a BRANDILLI from TEXAS
- Trail UpdateUp Vs Down!!!-Route: Start: off Yosemite at the bottom of Chumash (or you can start at the bottom of Hummingbird), up chumash (about 2.75 miles), right on rocky peak, left on to Johnson (I usually put the seat down a notch and let er rip!) - definately better on full suspension, but I've been with some guys on hardtails - at the bottom (houses), turn around and head back up (great work out, a little short of 3 miles up), left on rocky peak to hummingbird, down hummingbird (don't cut the switchbacks). At the bottom of Hummingbird, go out to the paved road, stay north of 118 (the freeway is on your left), take one of the trails around the hill - the one in the middle goes through the valley, the one to the left (closest to the freeway) goes up a hill - both connect to a fire road - go right - in about 1/4 of a mile, rip down a hill - then take the old ripped up paved road, and then up to the water tower - and down to your car.
There's another route back from the bottom of Hummingbird, a little more work - if you look up on the hill on the right once you get to the paved road, you can see the trail along the side of the hill. Fairly nice climb with rocks, etc - at the top of the climb, go straight and take a singletrack down to the ripped up paved road, water tower, etc.
For a little more fun, at the bottom of Hummingbird, when you cross the concrete culvert, take an immediate right. This short trail has a couple nice switchbacks worth trying and brings you back to the dirt road area.
This is nearly 16 miles, and great fun. Don't skip going down Johnson's on a full suspension - if on a hardtail - accept your limitations - or go buy a full suspension and get on with it. Can't imagine getting off and walking down any of Johnson, even on a hardtail - support your local dentist!!!
Intermediate to advanced ride - depends on how much you rest.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 15.6 miles Elevation change:
Singletrack=65% Dirt Road=35%
JB a 41 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized from Agoura
- Trail UpdateMore Enjoyable Going Up!-I took GravityGods advice and decided to go up this trail, and I'm glad I did. It is definitely more enjoyable as an ascent.
I rode down the pass and turned into the Rich Man's Housing Community. Got a nice piece of eye candy and one of the rich men was walking out accompanied by his wife/mistress/girlfriend wearing hot pants and a top that left most of her tanned midriff bare. Followed the green line from one gate… to another. What is this, some kind of joke? I rode back up the street looking for the trailhead, found a spot that looked promising, with a sign that said "lot 43 - 5 acres." Started down the broad dirt road only to find it ended 1/4 mile later. Rode back out and tried another trail that got me nothing but scratches on my legs from the weeds. God down to the paved road and finally located the trailhead.
This trail was perfect for me, as it was steep enough for a workout but not enough for a heart attack like Rocky Peak. Going up I could tackle some of the rocky rutted sections I would have passed up if I was going down. I continued riding up the trail until I reached the top. Then it was down Rocky Peak to the trailhead. A good workout for a Saturday evening.
Ride rating: Novice
Ride distance: 3 Elevation change: 1000
Singletrack=90% Dirt Road=10%
Bald Biker a 43 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a GT Slipstream, Diamondback Response from Simi Valley URL: Tim the Bald's personal web site
- Trail UpdateJohnson Mtwy - Wimps II-
What's up Bald Biker? I 100% agree with your interpretation of descending Johnson Mtwy: "the Johnson single track, suitable-only-for-full-suspension Rockway." I ride a hard tail with a Marzocchi and once down this trail was enough to tell me that this trail is better climbed. Here's my suggestion.
Ride up and over Santa Susana Pass and turn left at the first entrence to The Church At Rocky Peak (I believe this is where you came out). Get your self to the trailhead and begin the climb. It is brutal at times, the sandy beginning and during parts of the rocky areas, especially when you are tired near the top. This is a much nicer trail to ascend than Rocky Peak FR. It isn't just one big fire road as you found out. Wide, narrow, sandy, rocky, but most importantly, sort of sadistically fun. The views are much better and soon you are at the top.
From here I usually will turn right and continue on Rocky Peak FR to Chumash. Descending Chumash makes the climb worth it. Living in Simi, this probably puts you somewhere near your house. Personally, Chumash is one of my favorite five descents in and around the San Fernando Valley/Simi Valley area.
If you are looking for something a bit more challenging turn left when you finish climbing Johnson and make your way to Hummingbird.
What I am trying to say is: if you don't have a full suspension ride then Johnson should really only be tackled as a tough but fun climb. Unless you're one of those people who enjoy getting hammered on your decents, and I don't mean with alcohol.
Gravitygod a 28 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Cannondale cross country set up from Winnetka
- Trail UpdateWimps On Bikes, Part II-Saturday became warm enough to justify another foray at Mountain Biking by this author. I decided on Johnson Motorway, which another esteemed contributor to this board had told me about. I determined to ride down the motorway and avoid any trouble finding the trailhead in the gated community.
Now, I already knew that Rocky Peak is a challenge for me. I figured what the h***, I am just going to start up it and use my "ride and rest" method, which consists of riding as far as I can, then stopping and resting until my heart rate goes down, then riding again. This is exactly what I did, after all, I am doing this for exercise and to loose weight, right?
Met some hikers as I slowly made my way up the trail. Surprisingly there were no other bikers though the day was quite pleasant. The "ride and rest" enabled me to enjoy the flora and fauna that is quite beautiful this time of year, as I doubt I could have enjoyed it pedaling uphill all the time.
After about 2 miles from the Rocky Peak trailhead you come to a steep long incline as the trail goes past Rocky Peak. Here, I was finally defeated and got off the bike and walked it up the grade. At the top I began searching for the Johnson Motorway. After a short distance I found the beginning, just a big steel post in the ground with rocks on top. Turned the bike east and begin descending.
Who glorified this trail with the name Motorway? It should be called "the Johnson single track, suitable-only-for-full-suspension Rockway." The trail was solid rock, not smooth rock you could easily ride down, but rutted, bumpy rock, making it necessary for me to dismount over most of the places. "No problem," I thought to myself, "surely in a few feet it will turn into that broad, smooth, gently descending motorway." No such luck, as mile after mile passed over the same bumpy, treacherous rock. The thing is, it wasn't that steep, the trail descends a broad canyon and the grade is not that steep. Some potential annoyances are the underbrush and the flying insects, less of a problem were the fire ants present seemingly the entire length of the trail. Anyway, by this time I had no choice other than to continue my descent. Finally the trail began to turn more into dirt than rock, and I could ride more. Some sections also contained asphalt, apparently, once in the far distant past, this had been a paved road. There were some inclines, most of which I could ride over, then finally the broad dirt road and soon after, the rich guys' housing development. Found the green line and followed it to the gate. I thought I would have to cross a portion of the San Fernando Valley, but the place I came out was actually one of the driveways of the Church at Rocky Peak. I came out on the Santa Susana Pass road, blessed, smooth, gently inclining Santa Susana Pass road, that I once was so afraid of, and now go up without even thinking about it. Got to the top, raced down to home. That was the end of my second foray into Mountain Biking.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 8 Elevation change: 1000
Singletrack=95% Dirt Road=5%
Bald Biker a 43 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Diamondback Response from Simi Valley, California U.S.A. URL: Tim the Bald's personal web site
- Trail UpdateET-First mile has been bulldozed for looser & softer ride up, better for horses, but less slick sandstone rock for Mtb'ers. Rest of trail is same, Excellent view of rock formations in second half. Enjoy!
Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=30%
a Weekend Warrior from Simi
- Trail UpdateJohnson Trail To Rocky Peak-
a Weekend Warrior URL:Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association
- Trail UpdateJohnsons Motorway-From the Trailhead continue up on the well worn trail for some great singletrack, exciting views and hairy uphills. You can either return the way you came or head down Rocky Peak Trail to Santa Susana Pass road and back up Topanga Canyon to your car or continue climbing until you see the Chumash trail for another great down hill. You'll have to head back to Santa Susana Pass road and then back to your car. The trail is steep and often rutted. It affords beautiful views of the area and the mountains. There is a stretch of loose gravel and step at the top that is a challenge for us weekend riders--but it can be done.
Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=20%
Ron a 35 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Univega Alpina from CA