- Thursday, June 13, 2024

Southern California Trails

  • Chilao Campground - #ChilaoCampground

    Socal - Los Angeles County - La Canada/Angeles Forest NickNames: #ChilaoCampground

    Drive the I-210 Fwy. to Angeles Crest Hwy. (CA-2) in La Canada. Go north on CA-2 about 40 miles to Chilao Flats CG Road. Go left here and park in one of the day-use parking spaces along this road.
    From the Palmdale area, go south on Angeles Forest Hwy. to Upper Big Tajunga Road. Go left and take Upper BT to CA-2, then go left and take CA-2 to Chilao. Thomas Guide page 4647

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    • Trail UpdateNorth of Chilao is ok-not in the burn area.South-Charlton Flats,Vetter Peak is a no-go,in the burn area.


    • Trail UpdateAre the trails up there now open? Last time I was up there, signs were posted everywhere saying to stay on the road...not the case anymore?


    • Trail UpdateChilao-Rode 3N14 to Mt Hillyer uphill then down Mt Hillyer trail-love this trail-big rocks,good technical.Then over to Silver Moc and back to Chilao.Getting warm ride early. Aprox. 10 miles.
      Hawkeye a 55 year old Weekend Warrior riding a SST from La Crescenta


    • Trail UpdateCharlton/Chilao-Awesome place to ride but we got lost about ten times. We started at the abandoned building on Angeles Crest at the Charlton turn-off and ended up at the fire lookout. Then back down to Silver Moccasin and up through Chilao campground to the highway. All the trails were in great shape. Next time we will look at the maps more closely.
      old gringo a 55 year old


    • Trail UpdateGreat Condition-Rode this trail last weekend and it was in near perfect condition. Some areas where I've hit sand in the past were all packed hard for good riding. A couple of trees have fallen on the trail in sections but they are in areas wide enough to get around. All around good conditions and WARM weather.
      GlenG a 27 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Rocky Mountain Element from Bakersfield


    • Trail UpdateChilao Solo..-Chilao's going off the silver moccie is the most technical I've ever seen it.
      Just updated the trail photo section also, have a gander.
      baloo a 31 year old riding a something dirty from Big Chino


    • Trail UpdateMt Hillayer Loop-We took a new guy up to ride the chilao fire road up to Mt Hillayer a few weeks ago. The singletrack to Horse Flats is awesome! I haven't been there for a few years and man was it good to get back. The silver moccasin section is soooo technichal with the boulders and water bars. It is fun but a trip over the bars is always a possibility. Can't wait to go camping up there for the weekend with the club and hit all of the rides in the area. Vetter is killer!!!
      tonkadog a 34 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a gary fisher cake deluxe from saugus


    • Trail UpdateChilao To Pacifico Campground-Team T.K. has been talking about this one for a while and finally made it happen on sunday. Took the Fireroad to the top and droped down the paved road to the fireroad that starts off to the left. Climbed that up to Pacifico Campground. Great views of Palmdale from the top, heat was not a factor 83deg+
      of course silver moccie is in great shape the little sandy parts are ride able. Getting your butt kicked for this is totaly worth it, so go out and try it.
      Maybe 15 miles.
      T.K. Castle a 98 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a liquid something from big chino


    • Trail UpdateDid The Short Route-The fireroad climb is in perfect shape (what would you expect from a fireroad) and even with the heat,it's a real easy ride on up.My thermometer said 97 degrees,but it didn't feel that hot,although we were sweating a lot.We took the usual route and found it to be a little changed.There are even newer lines to try out that stay within the trail and for the most part you just go over rock instead of where the trail used to be.That one little uphill grunt to the campground is now makeable(is that a word?)but not by me.We then took the pavement to the Christian camp and started our descent down Silver Moccasin from there.This part of the trail is in fairly good shape.A lot more difficult to ride then years past,but that's what makes it that much more fun. We all had our difficulties here,but I can't wait to give it another go. Some parts are getting a little too sandy and will soon probably be a hike-a-bike section,but they're few and far between.

      Still high on the list as one of my favorite trails.

      Pain Freak


    • Trail UpdateWhat A Ride!!!-Rode the trail on Saturday. The trail is in great shape. It was a little hot out there though, started to overheat on my way up to Vetter Lookout Tower, Downhill's fast and smooth everywhere except coming back down from Mt. Hillyer on Silver Moccassin, but what fun. Uphills smooth and in great shape. Go early beat the sun. What a ride! Everybody (hikers, rangers, bikers, marines) were all friendly. Even ran into some Marines doing some GPS training(search and evasion). Enjoy
      SS Barby a 26 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a 2004


    • Trail UpdateVindication-

      First off, I didn't say Chilao had 10 feet of snow. That would take a small ice-age and downtown LA would feel like Fargo. The upper elevations of the San Gabriels recieved 10 feet. The snow levels dropped to 3k and 4k ft. two days in a row. Chilao is above 5k ft.

      Second, we must be talking about two different places. I was just up there today and the 5k feet marker on Angeles Crest is in 3inches of snow. There were families sledding at Charlton Flats and most of the ground had 3-8inches of snow cover depending on the shade and drifts. I guess it's good riding if you like to ride around in the parking lot of the campsites...Of which only Charlton Flats is open and cleared but Chilao is not.

      I just thought maybe people were riding on trails that extended into higher altitudes such as Vetter Mountain and Hillyer Mountain. They have snow on them.


    • Trail UpdateWent Up Yesterday-Patches of snow. But not a lot. Very ridable. The storms this year have been very warm and Chilao gets a very warm air current on it. There has not been 10 feet of snow in Chilao in the last 20 years. So get out and have a blast. Happy riding.


    • Trail UpdateAre You Kidding?-
      There was snow up their the last time I road this trail. That was in October. Before the snow levels dropped to 3-4000ft. Before 10 feet of snow fell on the range in one week.

      So, I dunno the answer to this question, but I'd let my money ride on yes for anyone taking the bet.
      FoeJay a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Foes FXR


    • Trail UpdateAre You Kidding?-
      There was snow up their the last time I road this trail. That was in October. Before the snow levels dropped to 3-4000ft. Before 10 feet of snow fell on the range in one week.

      So, I dunno the answer to this question, but I'd let my money ride on yes for anyone taking the bet.
      FoeJay a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Foes FXR


    • Trail UpdateAny Snow Up There?-Any snow in Chilao?
      Matt W a 45 whew! year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized Enduro Expert-Spynergy Disks from Santa Clarita


    • Trail UpdateT.K. Brothers guillen ripped Chilao-Horse flats loop.
      Great cond. even in the rain, parking area closed and campground. Charleton flats closed due to pesticides.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 5 Elevation change: ?
      T.K. MUNCH a 26 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Fisher Cake Pimped out-Schwin Moab from Hollyweed


    • Trail UpdateWent up the paved road from Three Points to 3n17 to the dirt 5n04 into Little Rock Canyon. Some snow and ice on the road (and some fresh blood on the left knee of my sweatpants), but clear beyond Alder Saddle. Little Rock Creek crosses the road just before the Alimony Truck Trail intersection, and man was the water flowin deep and fast over that concrete slab, so I turned around rather than risk a swim for my bike and myself. Nine miles up a fireroad, adjacent to the San Gabriel Wilderness, with the closures and restricted access, you'd think I could've TCB without interruption, but three dudes walked in from Little Rock to do some camo-clad fishing...

      Just for the record, it's only 26 miles between Foothill Blvd. and Chilao.
      Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change:
      Dirt Road=75% Paved Path=25%
      Big Bad Ben a 36 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Raleigh M-20 & an '02 Honda XR250R from Hollywood


    • Trail UpdateRode up 3n14 from Chilao Campground toward Alder Saddle; there were a few washouts and one big landslide (with a tree amongst the rocks), and the snow became too deep to deal with at about 4 miles up. I retraced my tracks and tried again from Three Points, but by the time I got there it was 2:30 and I had to split to catch the Patriots/Steelers game.
      Dirt Road=70% Paved Path=30%
      Big Bad Ben a 36 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Raleigh M-20 & an '02 Honda XR250R from Hollywood


    • Trail UpdateSnow-...Lots of it.We went there today and at the turnoff to enter the area was a sign saying closed due to pesticide spraying.So we ventured further up the rode and went in at Upper Chilao.No signs here.Started the route the usual way but about a mile or so from the top the snow got to thick and we had to hike it up the rest of the way.Temps today were just about the best you could ask for.Got to the asphalt part rode up to the singletrack and there's another freekin Danger-Pesticide sign.We decided to go up the asphalt and start over by the 3 points turnoff.Jump on Silver Moccasin here and rode through some snow.Hard to get any kind of flow going because of it and the trail has changed quite a bit.The snow was covering some of the old lines we used to take and on top of all this I brought the singlespeed, which made for even a more difficult downhill, although it was still a very good downhill.We skipped the upper section that has the boulders because of the signs.As we were going down we did some more trail maintenance and made some unrideable areas rideable.The rock section with the switchbacks has got a little chewed up with a lot more lose rocks now.It has taken the difficulty level up a couple notches.I ended up going OTB 3 freekin times,but most of that was due to not having my fork set up properly and riding poorly.But it has some new stuff out there that will take you off your bike real quick.Fun level has gone up too.This trail is going to need some TLC to reset some waterbars and rebuild some other sections.Out side of the snow,it's well worth doing.If the weather holds the snow will be gone in a week or two anyways.The ranger told us they were spraying for the bark beetle with some new pesticide and people were going into the closed areas anyways.They aren't enforcing it at this time.It lists the chemicals they are using. Sevin 803 and Corbyl.The ranger said they seen a swrm of the beetles leaving the area so they might be onto something.
      Pain Freak riding a Surly Turner from The 909


    • Trail UpdateMt Hillyer-The trail is in great shape. The rain has done its job. All the loose sand is gone. Some of the sections have developed shallow ruts. The final short climb into Horse Flats has a very nasty rut. You can carry alot of speed into this section, so be careful. Get out here and have some fun.
      Mother a 41 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Giant AC2, TCR TEAM ONCE from EagleRock


    • Trail UpdateVetter Open! (sort Of)-Was out there a few days back and discovered the Forest service is allowing "thru traffic" only. It used to be closed to all use, but now they are not cutting, so reopened it... so you can ride there, but not picnic there I guess. Had a great 27miler there. Mt.Hilliar ST is in such awsome shape and has a great flow to it right now. Silver Moc is kind of sandy but still in good shape for this time of year... that and someone has taken a lot of time adding new water bars and rerouting a couple washed out areas. Vetter mtn is about the same.. always have to do this one 2x now as I usually have a dab the first go around, and perfectly clean is the only way I can leave this trail. Go out and RIDE!
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 26.8miles Elevation change: 3300
      Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=20% Paved Path=10%
      mtnbikeman a 29 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Giant NRS from Long Beach


    • Trail UpdateVetter-Chilao-Horse Flats-Howdy Peeps,
      Went with Aosty and rode Chilao yesterday. Much like the week before, driving up the 2 was liberation from the brown air we have had lately.
      We parked outside Charleton Flats Picnic area, the inlet was closed for some reason.
      We started up Vetter Mtn. trail. Obviously no one has been around this section, the trails were covered heavily with pine cones and needles. It was also sandy, which made the climbs just that more demanding at altitude. Finishing up the initial climb to Vetter Mtn. lookout, we were warmed up. The fireroad after the singletrack was nice and hardpacked. We shot down Vetter Mtn. Trail. It was rocky, sandy, and full of roots and off camber turns. Perfect. This goes on and on until you come to the inlet for Charleton Flats Picnic area. We headed left into the land of "The Most Gigantic Pine Cones Ever". We flew down Puke hill and met up with the Little Pines/Chilao singletrack. It was funny cuz Aosty and I had just commented how we hadn't seen a soul and just as I came over the ridge of the S/T, there were two guys. Still only 2. Climbing up this section proved tiring. It was sandy, rocky, and full of big rocks. I had to have a rebate on the techy switchback which I cleaned happily. More sand up to Chilao ensued and the fast descent to the Silver Moccasin trail is always fun, though there was one tree down that we had to dismount to get across.
      We proceeded to climb the Silver Moccasin Trail up to Horse Flats. Forget that fireroad stuff, we want some techy, demanding, high altitude climbing. We made it up to Horse Flats with very few dabs, and took the short cut up to Vazquez's hideout. The trail up was sandy, of course, and I didn't even come close to cleaning the last switch before the land of boulders(though I was trying to imitate Aosty[ss'er} and not go granny in back or front) due to being so spent. Traversing the boulders is so much fun. We took a little extra credit, and lots of air. The trail is in prime condition here. Going down to Chilao was a blast. The trail is nice and techy, with a good number of lines possible.
      We arrived at Chilao and started our backtrack to Little Pine/Chilao campground. That intial climb is always a lung buster, and it was also sandy at the top. After the nice litte downhill section we climbed a bit until we past the campground and started the descent with the water bars where we had seen the 2 other riders when we climbed it. What a blast going down that section is. The grunt up Puke Hill wasn't that bad, actually it was quite mild from what I remember. Aosty and I passed the spooky, old red cabin and the rock bridge to the gate at the bottom of Charleton Flats picnic area. We then retraced our tracks up Vetter Mtn. Trail until the West Fork Trail intersection. This is a very nice, piney S/T that leads you back to the top of Charleton Flats. Its a much nicer way than the pavement, and at some points fast, and other, kind of a grunt. It's a great way to finish up the ride. After 2 1/2 hours, it was time to eat. Praise the trail gods!!!!
      This is still on of my favorites, and of many other riders as well. It's easy to see why.
      Paz Afuera
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change: 1500-2000?
      Singletrack=80% Dirt Road=15% Paved Path=5%
      Papisimo riding a Bike


    • Trail UpdateStill Closed?-Ok this is kind of annoying... the area is still posted closed, but the NFS web site actually has an "invitation" for people to come see vetter mtn lookout starting Memorial day weekend! So the web site says its open, but once I drove up there the signs were still showing "closed to public use".. so I did the little ride around the Chilao area... Mt.Hilly singletrack is in great shape, and so is silver moc. Was still a great ride, just bugs me that there is no real information on this closure... like how long, and if they are not clearing brush why can't it be reopened? Guess I'll wait till the end of the month and try again... maybe check out all Strawberry, since it seems to be the thing to do recently??
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: a few Elevation change: yes
      Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=50%
      Mtnbikerman a 27 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Giant MCM Team from Long Beach


    • Trail UpdateVetter Mtn CLOSED-Rode here yesterday. Normally start at Charlton and ride up to Vetter Lookout down the Vetter singletrack then over to the Chaliao area. Was booted out by a Forsetry cutting crew chief was told the area was unsafe for public (never mind I can hear the chain saws miles away and am not stupid enough to be in those areas but whatever) He informed me the area is closed likely untill May or June. I headed back out to the car and started my ride a bit further up at the Silver Moc. trail where it crosses the road around Chilao. Was still a fun ride, had extra energy so did Mt.Hilliar 2X, that ST is in the best shape I've ever seen, then crossed back over to Silver Moc and even took the little side trip towrad the Pacific Crest Trail (no Bikes) then came right back down to the car. Even with the double back riding could barley get 20 miles out of this ride, but its still got some great fun technical ST riding. Weather and trail conditions were perfect!
      Ride rating: Novice
      Ride distance: 22miles Elevation change: ???
      Singletrack=60% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=10%
      Mtnbikerman a 27 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Giant MCM Team from Long Beach


    • Trail UpdateThe Best-traction I've ever seen up there.That one mother of a climb at the end of the climbing was fairly do-able this weekend.More then I could do, even after a couple of attempts,but a few others that tried it made it.The little bit of snow we got up there has melted and most is dried with a few wet spots left.You couldn't have asked for better conditions then what we had this last weekend.We did the loop added a little more extra credit then went over and did Vetter down a little from Chilao.What a great little piece of singletrack coming down.This was one of the very first trail rides I did as a group years ago and I was amazed at what I used to consider technical.Virtually no technical sections here except a few ruts and switchies.The view up at the Vetter lookout was worth the trip in itself.I'll probaly add this little section everytime I do Chilao, as Chilao is a little short and this section makes for a fair day of riding.Man, I love CA, temps were in the low 70's and you couldn't even see what you were breathing.
      Pain Freak from The 909


    • Trail UpdateCharlton/ChilaoTour-We had planned on starting at Charlton but the gate was closed. So we drove up to Chilao Rd & started there. We started the ride by heading back towards Charlton. There is one tree blocking the singletrack but otherwise the trail was in great shape. Very tacky. We continued on to the Mt Vetter tower. Very cloudy (& cold), so we headed back down towards Chilao. Usually, we ride the Silver Moc up towards Mt Hilyer but this time we took the fireroad, (my 1st time taking this route)& even though it was cloudy it was still very scenic. After looping Mt Hilyer, we headed back down the SM. This section is a blast. Lots of railroad ties to launch off of. Back to the truck & done for the day. Beautiful day & beautiful ride.
      Ride distance: 20 or so miles Elevation change:
      Elab riding a Stinky


    • Trail UpdateBark Beetle-Did the figure 8 on Sunday, Aug 31. Arrived at Charlton, planning on starting with Vetter. Found Vetter was closed to entry, due to tree cutting. Spoke with a Ranger, he said they hoped to have it open again in a week. The years of drought have left the trees vulnerable to the bark beetle, which has caused havoc. Many dead pine trees can be observed throughout the ride. Sad sight, and creates a big fire hazard. Hopefully the forest service will get all the dead trees cleared, and we will get some steady rains over the next few winters. :) As for the trail conditions... A great ride, as always. A bit sandy in spots, typical for this time of year. Also quite a few gnats, also to be expected. To make up for not being able to do Vetter, I doubled up on Mt. Hilyer. After going down the Hilyer s/t the first time, I climbed up the upper portion of Silver Moccasin. Heading up to the Christian Camp on Silver Moc is not the best trail for climbing, lots of sand, unclimbable waterbars, and gnats. It would make a good descent, though. Anyway, once up at the rode I decided to go up the road and do Hilyer again. Rest of the way back to Charlton was great riding, Silver Moc is in great shape.
      Pilot a 31 year old Racer riding a Sugar 1 from Chatsworth


    • Trail Update6 Hours-Buddy if it took you 6 hours to do this ride,you might want to rethink doing Vetter or Hilyer, this is typically a 3 hour max ride.Even with the extra credit.
      a Cross-Country Rider riding a from


    • Trail UpdateChilao/Silver Moccasin Figure 8-What a fun loop. The trail has it all, rolling fireroad, cool downhill signletrack and a couple of killer climbs at the end. Started and ended the loop at Charlton Flat campground. Did the loop in about 6 hours today. Weather was very hot so bring plenty of water and food!! Not much shade on the ride so wear a lot of sunscreen. The trail was very sandy and dry in many sections with steep rocks at the top of the figure 8. The singletrack sections were also sandy with rocky sections and tight switchbacks. It really tests your technical skills. It is a classic Angeles National Forest ride. Beautiful mountains, clean air and tall pines. Very few other MTBers and hikers. Did not do the Vetter or Hilyer Mountain side trips. Saw a rattlesnake in the middle of the fireroad less than 2 miles up from the Charlton Flat campground so you may want to bring a snake bite kit if you have one.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 15 miles Elevation change: +- 1100 Ft.
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=50% Paved Path=10%
      Double C's a 31 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Mountain Track from Woodland Hills


    • Trail UpdatePerfection Again-Anyone else ride this trail recently? Perfect as always. Worth every minute of the long drive into the backcountry. Trail is in good shape, the downed tree 3/4 way up the fire road is gone now. Lack of rain=sandy again. Was nice and tacky for 2 months but loose now. Puke hill is very rideable, not as loose as usual. Steps and drops are getting bigger on the SM trail, more to wheelie drop. Switchies are great as usual. This is a great loop to do 2 or 3 times, climb is not brutal and mileage isn't too long. Love this place...it's why I love to MTB.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 10 Elevation change: less than most
      Singletrack=60% Dirt Road=40%
      mtb a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Jekyll from OC


    • Trail UpdateChilao Perfection-rode the loop last sunday, day after a good dusting of snow at higher elevations. could see mt. waterman got some and could see all the way over to baden-powell and baldy. backcountry is heaven on earth this time of year. after the fireroad climb, all s/t has been greatly improved by the rain. tacky conditions and still great rock riding. the loose stuff is no longer and makes the s/t climbing actually fun. the boulder still intimidates me though. do you know the one? about halfway through the back s/t, ride up and over the log, drop into a chute, then you can go left or right around the boulder...or over it! have seen many people endo here...sit over your back tire and go for it. switchbacks on the silver moccasin are killer. had a great endo on the 3rd one, first digger in a while felt pretty good.
      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: 10? Elevation change:
      Singletrack=60% Dirt Road=50%
      mtb a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a cannondale jekyll from OC


    • Trail UpdatePuke Hill No Longer Pukey....-
      Puke hill, the climb from the bottom of Silver
      Mocassin up to Chalrton Flats, is now paved for
      your climbing pleasure.

      Endo Verendo riding a Nother Turner from The Valley


    • Trail UpdateStill My Favorite.-Hooked up with a couple friends(Paul and Raul)from TOTAL MTB and we made the drive to Chilao Sunday 09-22-02.It was HOT! Met some others at the campground who were looking for some trail directions,we told them we'd give them the tour.As always we took off at a fairly good pace,not blistering just a little fast as the trail starts with some downhill and only a moderate amount of climbing.The thing here is you haven't climbed hardly at all and all of a sudden your winded.The elevation.I always lose sight of that here.As we regrouped at the bottom before we climbed up,some of the other riders were still filing in.See Paul we ain't the slowest.Well, we preceded to do the easy climb.All did quite well here,but we still had some stragglers and Paul had to leave a little early.We all made it to the steep part with the switchback that hardly anybody makes and they gave us the green light.We gave them directions on the rest of the trail and they wanted to take their time and take some pictures so off we went.All I can say is I'd climb twice as far to do this downhill section.I love it.Not to much technical stuff and not to little.The first time through we did pretty good.Raul wouldn't take "no" for an answer,everything he didn't make he'd go back and try again.I think eventually he cleaned 99% of the trail.We climbed to the Christian camp this time and then came down Silver Mocassin.At one loop Paul left and Raul and I did another loop.Again we would not be denied we tried and then retried everything on this trail.It was just to much damn fun.Finally as the day was moving on we ran out of water and it was getting late as we had got a late start so we packed it in and called it a day.Man,I love this place.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 23miles Elevation change: not too much
      Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=50%
      Pain Freak a Cross-Country Rider riding a Renrut 02 from Fontana


    • Trail UpdateChilao-La Cuca and I finally made it to Chilao and it was impressive. Parked one car at Switzers, drove the second up to Charlton Flats. Started by biking around Mt. Mooney, an easy .6 mile middle ring uphill warm-up, then a fast descent to Hwy 2. Rode through Chilao and up the fire road to Mt. Hillyer trail. We were riding in the middle of the day, so it was hot but not unbearable. The fire road is easy middle-ring, and big ring in some areas. The Hillyer and Silver Moccasin singletracks were technical, very loose, but lots of fun. With so many sandy areas, keeping your front tire on the proper line is critical, or you'll wash out. As this was our first time on these trails, we were glad to have met up with 6 other riders and followed them through the twisting singletracks. I would recommend riding this trail with someone who's been here before, as I can see now how easy it could be to get lost at times. After riding back to our car at Charlton, we then drove to Red Box for a 4 mile dessert down to Switzers. There is still just that one section about half-way down that we can't seem to clean- maybe next time.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 20 Elevation change:
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=50% Paved Path=10%
      Murphy a 31 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Sugar 3 from Valencia


    • Trail UpdateErnmaster & Jagger-
      Once you enter the campground, park to the left on the first intersection before entering the actual camping sites, and make sure to display your forest adventure pass! This is a very fun trail, about 6 miles of technical single track duplicating Colorado's scenery. The 4 miles of fire road offer views of Strawberry Peak, Mount Wilson, Vetter Mountain etc. At 5500 feet, the air is clean, not much chaparral but lots of pine trees, and as big-as-a-house-boulders! Awesome views indeed.

      Take the trail directly opposite to the parking area, climb & drop down to the lower campground area on a great short single-track (about 1/2 mile). Notice how beautiful this trail is, it is a sign of more great trails to come! Turn left on the paved road and turn right at the Y, or the first paved road to your right. Follow the paved road until it turns to dirt. You’ll pass a school, and forest service houses. This fire road offers the best views of the L.A. Crest backcountry. Bring a camera. Approximately 4 miles later you’ll hit the Santa Clara Divide, it’s a paved road. Turn right up the hill. Approximately ¼ of a mile later you’ll see the trail that leads to the right. Follow and climb steeply for about a mile. This is very steep and loose. Some hike-a-bike may be necessary. However, you have a great view to go along with it. It eventually will level off. This is where the fun begins!

      About a mile later, you will be coming to the boulders and big pine trees, as well as huge pinecones (this is where the helmet really comes into play.) You will need to negotiate the technical single-track trail and fly over obstacles and limestone. There is even a log jump. At this point you are surrounded by hundreds of huge boulders and caves (some folks rock climb in this area.) The scenery duplicates Colorado riding. After you have so much fun, you should cross a stream (may be dry) and end up at a paved road at Horseless Flats campground (cool place to take a break and get ready for the rest of the fun.) Turn right here and follow the Silver Moccasin Trail as it takes off to your right about 50 yards away. You will reach a junction shortly. Follow the trail to your RIGHT (Turning left & up will take you to a Christian Camp.)

      Follow the trail as you negotiate an awesome trail filled w/ rocks, obstacles, jumps, logs-stairs, and switch backs. There are some great stair-steps that are up to 2 feet high. Enjoy this for a while as you drop down to the Chilao lower campground area. You’ll end up at the paved road you had taken earlier and connect to the trail that is practically across the road and this will take you back to your car (this is the single-track that you took from the parking area). To the die hard, you can park at Charlton flats and climb to Vetter mountain, take the trail which will take you to the lower Charlton flats campground. Turn left and descend the fire road that eventually will turn into a great single track to end up at Chilao upper campground where the Mount Hillyer ride begins. Follow the directions above. Approx mileage w/ this option is 18+

      The date we rode was June 25, 2002. It was awesome! Cool views, clean, fresh air (it even smells like pines,) and of course, excellent single-tracks. Because of the altitude, you may have a bit of a hard time adjusting to the thin air. After an hour or so, you’ll be okay. This is real-mountain biking folks!! You are in the backcountry and it’s beautiful. The fire road can get hot. Bring plenty of water. The trail is a bit sandy in some parts and loose in some of the climbs but overall you can ride it 90% of the time. Silver Mocassin is super technical in some parts with killer stairs, jumps, loose terrain, and big rocks. We just loved the top of Mt. Hyllier. It has great views and huge boulders to explore. Definitely, this trail has plenty of photo opportunities. While in the middle of the boulders and rocks, on top of Mt. Hyllier, it may be tricky too find the trail, make sure to follow the bike tracks, not the foot tracks only. One of the best trails I’ve ridden in So Cal. Fun 10 miles loop, although you’ll feel like you’ve ridden 20. Go for it, and check it out. Bring some food and refreshments for after the ride, you’ll be glad you did.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 10 miles Elevation change: 1500'
      Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=25% Paved Path=5%
      Ernmaster a 36 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a GIANT NRS2 from Burbank, CA


    • Trail UpdateA DAY FULL OF NECTOR-hey folks,
      I rode out of Charlton Flats picnic area and took a single track up to Vetter Mountain lookout. The view was outstanding. The climb up started on single tracks with pine needles and met pavement for just a bit, then came the climb to the lookout. It was a nice warmup for the downhill. I believe it is called Vetter Mountain trail. This was full of switch backs, roots, and nicley banked curves.There's nuttin like single track covered with pine needles and views. The signs kept saying Chilao. While on this single track I crossed 2 roads and then took a fire road that was very fast to another marker which was marked Chilao. This single track was a little softer and rockier, but it will get you huffing. I saw some tents and when I got to the top I shot down to Chilao.
      I the took the fire road and completed the loop. This section was really sandy, yet still very fast in some sections. The fire raod around the mountain was not demainding, the downhill was awesome from Horse flats. It was pure singletrack. The boulders were great fun. I went back the same way I came down from Charleton Flats when I finally got back down to Chilao from Horse Flats. So I don't know if this is the traditional figure eight I've read about or not.
      The weather was great, but best of all,the air was so crystal f*&%ing clear and pure. I kept looking down at the toxic blanket that covers LA. My smile was huge, and I was happy I made the effort to head there. I can't believe there was not more people. I saw about 4 mountain bikers(they all had huge grins themselves).
      If you get the chance and you like piney stuff, give this one a try!!!
      I'm going back soon. prabaly two weeks from today.
      peace and love ppl,
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 22 miles Elevation change: don't know
      Singletrack=75% Dirt Road=20% Paved Path=5%
      Papisimo a 26 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a specialized m-4 hardtail mofo from La


    • Trail UpdateSilver Moccasin Trail 1/12-This is why we live in So Cal. The Santa Ana winds have dried up all the snow. The trail is a little loose in spots but overall, in great shape. Temps in the low 70's, clear skys and only two other riders. If you can get there before the next storm, go.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change:
      Mother a 38 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Giant NRS1 from EagleRock


    • Trail UpdateChilao In White-Called the ranger and asked about snow on the
      Silver Moc trail. We were told is was only patchy.
      The climb was almost all snow and ice. It was very
      rideable due to frozen snow which was very cool. It
      was definite Hike A Bike from the upper road to the
      peak though. The drop was awesome. The snow
      added a whole new challenge. Unless we get
      something to melt the white, Chilao is done until
      spring. Go now if you have been putting it off. Only
      saw one other biker...Gotta love it..
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: Elevation change: 1000
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=50% Paved Path=10%
      MBM a 43 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Schwinn Homegrown XT from Westminster


    • Trail UpdateCharlton To Chileo Figure 8-piece of advice -- get a map at ranger station! this is a great trail, reminiscent of gooseberry trail outside zion national park. but the books' descriptions can be misleading at times once you're on the singletrack portion. some of the "clearly marked signs" aren't all that clear after all. and the trail lines can become confusing amidst the rock formations when the ground is wet and tracks are hard to see. (we rode in the rain.)

      expert riders only for the first half of singletrack. the rest is intermed.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 20 miles Elevation change: 1100'
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=30%
      Stock a 30 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Trek from L.A


    • Trail UpdateChilao-A bunch of us rode the loop (ride 41) described in the book Mountain biking Southern California:the Best 100 rides. First time at Chilao for all of us---long overdue. I have to say the book gives a good decription of the ride and if you follow the mileage it's hard to get lost. For those who haven't ridden this ride my impressions of the ride from the start at Charlton Flats: The fireroad climb up Mt. Mooney is easy--definitely middle ring. Once at the top you go left a mile and a half down a silty fireroad--given how loose things are currently try to stay at the head of the pack to avoid catching "the exhaust". A little way up the 2 and left into Chilao than a right on the Silver Moccasin trail.I found this stretch to be moderately technical with the most technical stretch being the downhill on a narrow loose singletrack with some minor exposure onthe left plus a large tree root that popped me out of my clips--pretty impressive given that they're Shimano 858 death traps. This stretch reminded me a little of the McGill trail at Mt. Pinos. A little bit of pavement to 3N14. This fireroad is about as easy as they come even though it's a good 2 miles. Very smooth fireroad with nice views. Rode it up in the high middle ring averaging a good 10-12 mph. Once up to the paved road a right and short ride to a dirt turnout. Lots of sand and silt here though it starts out OK than gets steep with a left than a right switchback--the right is particularly tough as your breathing hard and conditions are real loose. It's makeable if you're strong. Finally up to the rocks. This Mt. Hillyer singletrack is something else with loose tight turns and some very tough rock drops. There is some narrow chutes you have to hit or else.I particularly liked the chute right down the center of a big boulder. This is definitely for advanced riders and even solid intermediates will be over there heads here.Definitely the potential to get lost as at times it appears you could go left or right but you'll figure it out. The bottom part of this stretch is not so rocky but more loose than anything and certainly easier. As for the ride from Horse Flats down the Silver Moccasin, more advanced riding with tons of rocky drops and waterbar drops all over the place including in the midst of the many switchbacks. Definitely need to be in the zone here. Back down to the pavement again and over to more of the Silver Moccasin trail and this part is more intermediate though there is a rocky left turn that's pretty tough, otherwise a fun and fast descent. On to the Vetter Mountain lookout. There is one steep pitch of fireroad than a lot of boring pavement riding and than some more fairly steep fireroad(will it ever end?) until you finally get to the lookout. Not sure it was worth the climb until we went down the Vetter singletrack--lot of fun. There are a number of switchbacks at first but there several steps down technically from the Horse Flat Silver Moccasin stretch. Frankly, a little intermediate singletrack was fine at this point given the grunt up Vetter. Finally back to the cars after 19.5 miles. I would certainly agree it's an epic ride. Only downside for this loop is a little too much pavement riding but the singletrack makes up for it. Conditions are very loose in spots and a couple spots had more sand than most beaches.One of the guys had an altimeter and this loop is 3000 feet of climbing.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 19.5 miles Elevation change: 3000'
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=30%
      Dan from T.O. a Die-hard Enthusiast


    • Trail UpdateShortcut/Rincon Extension-First of all, don't do it. I thought I could make the ultimate ride by extending the Chilao/Hillyer/Charlton loop. I started by climbing to the top of Alder Creek trail (climb the paved road just west of 2 and Tujunga junction). The goal was to take the trail for a 3.5 mile downhill, cross Big Tujunga raod and then continue on the trail towards Loomis Ranch. From there you can climb to 3N14 and continue the classic loop. The final goal was to hook up with Silver Moccasin near the top of Vetter and take a sweet single track back down to Shortcut fire station. But, like I said, DON'T DO IT. The Adler Creek downhill has many blow downs, one in particular will be a ride-ender for most. If you get through the blowdowns the brush that follows is virtually impassable. I trudged through anyway hoping things would get better (lost my cyclo-computer and several ounces of blood in the process). Things do get better and the rest of the downhill is SWEET!!! But, the trail to Loomis is 4" deep sand and only rideable in parts. I personally know that the single track from Vetter to Shortcut is awesome but my attempt to catch it as part of a trail loop just ain't worth it. Those who have tried it are sure to agree (and we can laugh together in our misery). Those who haven't can spare themselves the pain. I recommend squeezing more single track out of the loop by simply doing the Hillyer/Horse Flats loop several times.
      Ride distance: many miles Elevation change:
      Chaz_tw a 34 year old Weekend Warrior riding a S-Works M2 from Long Beach


    • Trail UpdateMt. Hillyer/Mt. Vetter Loop-Rode Chilao 3-29-01 with Dabreeze, Endo, Tom Kenney and I, parked @ Charlton Flats near the 2nd restrooms.
      Rode out of Charlton across the highway and up then down the fireroad till we hit Chilao campground, hit the little single track that knocks off a mile or so of paved road, ran into a couple of deep patches of icy snow that still hasn't melted.
      Climbed up to Vasquez rocks, along the way, Endo, I and Tom K. tried to climb that last steep switchback right before Vasquez rocks, first Endo made the switchback but stalled 1/2 way up the hill after the right hand, ditto for me and Tom K. got a little further than us but also stalled due to mud on the trail.
      Had lunch at the rocks, we looked for the coffee can to sign in, but it no where to be found, too bad.
      Lowered seats and bombs away, the trail is in great condition, I don't think any riders have been up here yet, I think we popped the cherry on this one this spring. In some places the brush was overgrown and scratched the shiiit out of our arms and legs and there was also lots of tree debris, pinecones, broken branches from heavy snow, etc..
      Hit Chilao and climbed up to Mt. Vetter to the fire look out point, along the way there was a few down trees and allot more snow patches on this north facing side than Hillyer, a few hops a few walks.
      The views from here are spectacular, so panoramic.
      Mt. Wilson to the south, Mt. Baldy to the east, Mt. Pacifico to the north and the Tujunga mtn. ranges to the west.
      The Fire look out point was obviously still closed, it's not fire season yet, I'm sure in a few weeks they'll clean the road up and all this will be easily accessible.
      The single track down was somewhat fun, although it started becoming tiresome to walk snow patches that were impossible to ride through, believe me I tried and endoed twice, front tire sticks like cement in 2 feet of hard icy snow and tossed you odb.

      Back to car and down to Pepe's to scarf, great ride, great scenery, fresh air, Chilao is spectacular.

      Get out and ride it!

      JoeTruth a 37 year old riding a Ellsworth Truth from Altadena


    • Trail UpdateChilao / Charlton Area-
      Similar ride to Airbear's below…

      My local trails are also the Santa Monica Mtns, I hadn't been up to the Chilao / Charlton since last year to ride and we were looking for something a little different, something with the smell of pine trees!

      Sunday 8/27 after a 45 mile drive from WLA arrived at about 4pm, beautiful weather and only one family picnic going on in Charlton. Placed our "Adventure Passes" in the window, saddled up and clicked in…

      …crossed Hwy 2 and started up 3N15 towards the observatory. When we got to it there were two guys working on the scope. They asked us if we'd like to check it out… Really cool, they were doing some work on the electrical system. Asked a few questions, thanked them and we were on our way. Back down, through the white gate and back on 3N15 towards Chilao. Crossed Hwy 2 and road into the first (southern) entrance to Chilao, picked up Silver Moccasin and headed north towards the northern part of Chilao. Jumped on the pavement north through the forest service buildings and fire station. Continued along as the pavement turned to dirt (3N14). Quiet and peaceful, not a soul in sight. Reached 3N17, where you would pick up the single track to Mt. Hillyer, munched on a few Fig Newton's and did an about face - the sun was getting low in the sky. Flew back down 3N14, through the forest service area and picked up Siver Moccasin heading south. Cranked along up and down through some great ST, about 3 miles, just really fun! Down, down, down over some great jumps (water bars) and onto the DT that brings you back to Charlton Flats and your car. Overall mileage was about 18mi, just about right for a Sunday afternoon cruise. Hope to get in a few more rides up that way this season. Need to head back up to Roundtop Mt. and Mt. Pacifico. Next time we'll add in the climb to Mt. Hillyer and continue back along the Silver Moc. All the trails were in great shape, get out there and ride!

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 18 Elevation change: Hard to say
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=40% Paved Path=20%
      Like the RUSH song says a 33 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Ventana El Saltamontes from Culver City URL: Team Fearless Descender


    • Trail UpdateMt Mooney-Did the ride Dusty describes below on Sunday, which is one of my old favorites. What a blast! Added a bunch of ST and climbing to it as well. After more than a year off the bike for shoulder and knee reconstruction, I’d been riding my local Santa Monica Mtns a lot to recover. Having done every option several times, I was bored and stifled by the thought of another monochromatic summer death-bake. My buddy flaked, so I left messages unreturned, and headed solo for Charlton Flats and a much-needed San Gabriel scenery fix.

      Already late at 8:30 am, I prepared for a scorcher, but was pleasantly surprised by the cool mid-morning air at Charlton. Started climbing 3N15 from the trailer dump station just across Angeles Crest Hwy from the entrance to Charlton. Rode the left ST at the top to Mt Mooney, and the road right past the white gate to Stoney Ridge observatory. The thick LA haze obscured my ocean views, but the San Gabriel Wilderness below to the East was beautiful and inspiring.

      Dropped left down 3N15 1.5mi, then right at the turnout and wood posts, past the old dump and up Ancient Trail, for more SGW views. Dropped Ancient left back to 3N15, then right up ST to Cal Trans, and left and across AC to Chilao. Climbed to Mt Hillyer & the rocks, and had lunch while enjoying the views of Mt. Pacifico. The sun was hot, but in the shade it was 75 and quite pleasant, even so late at 11:30a.

      Tons of sweet ST later, I arrived back at Charlton, pleased with all the trail work and signage done since my last visit. Now time for a few more miles of ST! After a left off 3N86A onto pavement and over the bridge, I made an immed. right and headed up Silver Moccasin Trail. After a quick left at the junction of Vetter Trail and a climb to the pavement, I looked across to Mt. Wilson longingly, imagining the miles of ST I could do by continuing on the Moc. My gnawing hunger and lack of a second car snapped me back to reality though, and I turned right and headed up to Vetter. The hot afternoon sun cooked me, but I persevered on this last open climb, for the 360 degree view from the fire lookout. Then 2 miles of great ST back to the car. My new Stinky 5 climbed the last steeps so well, even with my fading legs, that I was inspired to come back in a few days to do an even more epic ST loop, and secret sections that I have not hit in many years.

      Have Fun! --Airbear

      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: 21 Elevation change: 3500
      Singletrack=85% Dirt Road=15%
      Airbear a 33 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Kona Stinky Five from Santa Monica, CA


    • Trail UpdateVasquez' Hideout-First of all, when driving up Angeles Crest Highway be sure you have your headlights on in the daytime. It's the law and was being strictly enforced the last 2 times I went up the grade. CHP's waving people over by the dozens.

      Parked at Charlton Flats to get the climbing out of the way in the beginning, only to find that there really isn't much climbing on this ride, unless you like to get lost like me. Made it to Chilao, hung a left, cruised through the campsites, amphitheater, and past the fire station. The temp was no higher than 75 probably due to elevation. Continued on the paved road which eventually turned to dirt, meandered a couple more miles upward. When you hit paved road again be sure to hang a sharp right, or do what I did...go left, descend about 3 miles, figure out that your lost and climb back out! Nothing like tacking on some extra mileage when you're suffering from "I'm Lost" anxiety. Made it back out and continued to climb. Your next sneaky turn is on your right where the wood posts block car entry and a white post reads "no shooting". I decided to miss that one and tack on even more climbing miles. Finally, after enduring the last sandy, super steep, switchbacked, grade I hit the top and ate some lunch.

      The top is littered with impressive rock formations where the infamous bandito Vasquez hid out before hitting the lowlands near Palmdale now called Vasquez rocks. He picked a great spot as this place would make for an ultimate paintball battlefield. The descent has you twist and turn over, under, and through these rocks monuments making for a fast paced slalom course. Keep an eye for the trail as on more than one occasion I got too interested in rolling over these giant rock slabs and lost the trail entirely.

      Onward to the Silver Moccasin trail for some high speed chutes broken up by nice rocky switchbacks. Down, down, down to Chilao campgrounds continuing on mocassin over pine needles until you hit a nice steep climb and ultimately end up at Charlton flats at the car.

      I have a question for anyone famiilar with this area. There is another leg of the Silver Mocassin that continues to connect with HWY 2. Is this rideable? It looks as if there might be a giant climb out of a canyon at the end. I ask because it might be epic to leave a car at JPL, drive to Chilao, and do Chilao to silver mocassin to the highway to red box to gabrielino to arroyo seco to JPL. Is this possible or am I just a nut case? Leave any replies or info on the message board.

      Good luck to you.
      Dusty Bottoms


    • Trail UpdateCharlton Flats and Chilao can be combined to create a great single track loop. Here is a brief description and consult your map.

      Park at Charlton flats picnic area and ride towards Vetter Mtn. lookout tower. Locate the Single track trail that connects to the lower campground. Take the fire road to connect to the Chilao and turn right and climb the single track. Once you reach Chilao, ride the single track trail to the lower campground, and turn left on the paved road and turn right to until you hit gravel. Once on gravel, locate the single track to Mt. Hilyer. and connect to the Silver Moccasin trail. You will end up at the Chilao's lower camp ground.

      The ride through Mt. Hilyer is exciting and tecnical. This entire ride is fast paced and fun. Just another option. Email me if you need directions.
      Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=30%
      Charles a 30 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized fsr comp from Pasadena


    • Trail UpdateChilao Flats To Pacifico Mtn.-From the Chilao Flats parking area, ride northwest on the paved road through rolling hills covered with oak and pine forest. The pavement ends just past the spur roads for Chilao Flats CG. Pass some Forest Service employee houses and continue up the road. Climb gently on a sunny southwestern slope, passing a road to a historic ranch on the left. After a while, the road levels off and traverses a shady stretch of oak and pine forest. Soon the intersection with the Sulpher Springs Road is reached. Go left here and descend to a saddle, where the Pacifico Mtn. Road goes west. Go left on this dirt road, and traverse the southeast side of Pacifico Mtn. There is little shade here, but there are springs and trickles which provide water in winter and spring months.
      The road gains a ridge where it intersects with the spur road going north to the summit of Pacifico Mtn. Go right on this road, climbing steeply to the summit of Pacifico Mtn. and the Pacifico CG. See the other "Pacifico Mtn. Road" trail description on the Trails list.
      Dirt Road=80% Paved Path=20%
      Tom Kenney a 30 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Klein Pinnacle from Reseda, CA URL:Tom's Page


    • Trail UpdateManzanita Trail-If you can do it, this trail will provide some great scenery, as well as some great wildlife, if you're lucky. In the winter months, the trail adds a whole new dimension. At the top you'll find snow. It's a great ride, but a hairy one. Anyone other than the more experienced riders should plan on walking the bike up! As I said before, this trail is not for the fainthearted. It's all singletrack with some pretty big drop-offs. Once you scale the first phase it's mostly intermediate to advanced riding. There's a way to bypass the first part of the trail, but I've never done it, so I don't know how the drive there.
      This trail is treacherous from the very beginning and doesn't let up until you've reached the top. It's mostly a hiking trail, but provides a killer ride both up and down for the experienced rider. Once at the top there is another campground (Manzanita, I think) picnic tables. From there you can ride the trail as far into the mountains as you dare to go.
      Tim a 27 year old weekend warrior from La Canada/Flintridge {spltmastr@earthlink.net}


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