- Thursday, July 25, 2024

Southern California Trails

  • Gabrielino/Arroyo Seco Trails - #Gabrielino/ArroyoSecoTrails

    Socal - Los Angeles County - La Canada NickNames: #Gabrielino/ArroyoSecoTrails

    >From the I-210 Fwy in La Canada, exit at the Angeles Crest Hwy (CA-2) exit and go north on CA-2. Park at the turn-out on the right where the road narrows from 2 lanes to 1. If you're lazy, have someone drive the rest of the way to Red Box ranger station, 9 miles up CA-2.

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    • Trail UpdateHas anyone been up in awhile? What are the trail conditions?
      King Solomon


    • Trail UpdateGreat Ride 11/24 Redbox To JPL-Had an amazing post thanksgiving ride. This was a great ride. About 12 stream crossings and some hike a bike. Beautiful trail. Don't be scared off by some of the reviews about getting lost, this was my first time up, took a map and went, pretty easy to follow all in all. The trail was empty, could not have asked for anything more. Be adventurous and head up there
      Sailcal a 23 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Enduro from newport beach, ca


    • Trail Updatereal easy


    • Trail UpdateRedbox To Jpl Via Gabrielino-rode the rebox shuttle today. RIDICULOUSLY HOT. started early too, but it was 115 up there by noon. trail conditions were fair. Lots of overgrown vegetation in the tight singletrack in the upper sections. lots of hike a biking below sitzer. not too much poison oak, it comes in little sections but is fairly avoidable. overall it was a great ride, but i would suggest starting at 6:30 to avoid the heat
      klausmeyer a 28 year old Weekend Warrior


    • Trail UpdatePOISON OAK POISON OAK-Trail is in good condition from Red Box to Sitzer,after that the trail is very over grown.Beware POISON OAK is everywhere in the canyon bottom.Water crossings not rideable.GOOD LUCK!
      a 36 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Giant from Lakewood


    • Trail UpdateBetter Buy A Jug Of Tecnu Before-Trail is not too overgrown considering the recent rain... except for plenty of unavoidable poison oak. Rode it up from JPL to near Switzer on 5/14 and found it to be in good shape- aside from the oak. Steam crossings still full of water and in poor shape and unrideable from last year's rains. Maybe a couple more years of drought and they'll be rideable again.
      donopro a Racer


    • Trail UpdateRB To Switzer's-THANK YOU!!! for the trail maintenance. The trail is in excellent condition! We decided to go up first this week, kind of difficult on a big bike! The streams are getting a little bit deeper, but thats normal for this time of year...
      JTRMX a 28 year old Downhiller riding a RMX w/888 from Pasadena


      OGBUENO a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a KONA/STINKY-PRIMO*W/MONSTER-T from TURNBULL (WHIT*CA)


    • Trail UpdatePost-christmas Ride-So i'm back in socal for a while, and decided to try Gabrieleno with my dad. we did it as a shuttle ride with one pickup at red box and one pickup near jpl on windsor off the 210. pretty cold, foggy day, but good for riding in. first 4.2 miles from red box to switzer's picnic area were excellent. a few minor technical sections but nothing too big. one or two rideable creek crossings. after leaving switzer's lower picnic area and semi paved part of the trail, things got a little difficult. probably about 10 creek crossings, only 1 was rideable. some very large rocks in this area plus it appears some recent parts were washed out. reached the top of switzer falls and got a little lost before we found the trail that climbs upwards. that trail was in ok condition, pretty narrow as previous entries have said but several little slides seemed pretty recent. the downhill section to the intersection with ken burton could use some work too. after intersection ken burton, gabrieleno continues crossing the creek bed countless more times where again there appeared to be some rain damage and high water levels. forget about keeping your feet dry. got lost off the trail at one crossing and took a different trail which brought us to the edge of a 100ft dam waterfall surrounded by boulders. pretty amazing but upsetting also since we had lost the main trail. so we backtrack about 1/4 mile and find the trail again. continue riding through the creek setting past shangraw picnic area and a few others. saw 2 ruined bikes just thrown off in the bushes here. hit little arroyo at the bottom just as it gets dark. ride in the dark a while and come out about 6:00. the lower arroyo had three crossings which were had very-high water level (about half the bike submerged). overall great top section, middle section shows some weather damage, lower section ok. would recommend starting this trail early in the morning, not around 1:00 like we did, unless you have a light and are comfortable with riding, boulder hopping, creek crossing, and some hike-a-bike in the dark. definitely go for the redbox to switzer's section- its awesome.
      Steve K a 18 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Mongoose XR-100 from San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), CA


    • Trail UpdateGood Stuff-rode about two weeks ago red box to switzers- great condition- 1 washed out area and the 'waterfall' rock section is a little longer and more fun. all in all great condition. also i ride the last 4 miles (the lower arroyo) regularly. it's in nice shape- a little sandy in spots and the stream crossings are low enough to be very rideable. i havent ridden the mille 7 or 8 miles of the ride you want to do in a long time. i imagine its in okay shape as the rest of the trail is great. have fun and be safe

      MonkeyDigsMTB a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider


    • Trail UpdateConditions For September?-I am headed for a shuttle ride this weekend (09-24-05) from Redbox to JPL and was wondering if anyone has been up since the August 05 update. Conditions anyone? Is it even open? I recall going up one year inSeptember and it was closed due to fire hazards.
      King Solomon


    • Trail UpdateIs There Any Group Rides?-i haven't been to gab in a while and want to go back, but
      none of my friends ride anymore and i wanna roll wit some
      people - you know- hit me up -peace
      pnczur a 29 year old Weekend Warrior riding a 99' fsr fr from los angeles


    • Trail Update"Has anyone ever ridden this as a loop ride up Mt. Wilson toll road and down Gabrielino?"

      Yes, it's much better than shuttling, although:
      a) it's better to park at JPL, ride up Merrill and Lowe and down to Red Box and then end up at your car and:

      b) I'd think the toll rd. is still closed.
      Endo Verendo


    • Trail UpdateThanks for the great update. Was it terribly buggy? Y'know,6 mile an hour gnats. Although I think they've upped it to 7!
      Dirtmistress a 48 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a S C SL from L.A.


    • Trail UpdateMt. Wilson Loop-Has anyone ever ridden this as a loop ride up Mt. Wilson toll road and down Gabrielino?
      a 32 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Cannondale from SoCal


    • Trail UpdateThe Gab In August-Rode from Redbox to JPL on Sat. 8-13-05. Left early to try and avoid the heat but even approaching noon towards the end of the ride temp. was still below 80deg. with a nice breeze! We expected to be frying by the time we hit the wash (aka babyhead hell) and the small climb above Gould Mesa. Thanks to whoever put in all the time and work on this trail. It was obvious where last seasons rains washed out the trail and equally obvious was where some saint(s) rebuilt corners and washed out switchbacks. The upper section b/w Redbox and Switzers was fast and flowing and the rock waterfall 2/3rd way down seems to have grown uphill since I last rode here, awesome. Below Switzers, there were more hikeabikes than usual crossing the river but more than made up for by the epic nature of this ride. Also, the Arroyo is still relatively deep in sections, especially for August, there was water in places I've never seen before this late. I don't know if riders are aware of how good the condition of this trail is, or if the recent heat has kept riders away from a longer ride, but we didn't see a soul the whole time - seems rare for a Sat. morning. We did see about a million MTBers in the parking lot at JPL - Brown Mt. must have been a zoo. Ah, keep the secret (doesn't seem like many post here anyway). All in all, an amazing ride and right in our backyard!
      a 32 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Cannondale from SoCal


    • Trail UpdateTrail Update?-Has anyone rode from Redbox to JPL recently?? The last update was May, so im hoping it has improved since then....
      King Solomon a 32 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Cannondale Jeckyl from Chino Hills, CA


      OGBUENO a 32 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a KONA/STINKY/PRIMO w/MONSTER T from TURNBULL


    • Trail UpdateBad Shape-Gabreillo from Switzers to JPL is pretty bad. All stream crossings are unrideable. Past Dark Canyon is completely washed out, pure hike.

      If you don't mind massive stream hiking and continous boulderhopping, this ride is great.


    • Trail UpdateTrail Conditions Update?-Anyone know what the deal is for this trail? Is it in riding shape? Is the 2 closed going up?

      Live in Thousand Oaks so I'd like to try to find out the conditions before driving out.

      dewman a 35 year old Weekend Warrior riding a KONA from Newbury Park


    • Trail UpdateUpdate?-Has anyone been through this trail recently? How are the conditions?
      King Solomon a 31 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Cannondale Jeckyl from Chino Hills


    • Trail UpdateGabrielino Down To Switzer's-came down here about 2 weeks ago before the highway opened again
      (come over Mt Lowe), probably the first bike down since the heavy
      rains of christmas. been on it a couple of times previously, and it is
      now completely different. Two sections of trail near the stream are
      completely gone. Lots of sections of trail that used to smooth dirt are
      now eroded down to the bed-rock/boulders. The short tricky rocky
      "waterfall" section (where you first hit the stream bed) now extends for
      several hundred feet up hill. I pinch-flatted twice on my rear, it is that
      rocky now (and I was trying to beat the sunset). I wouldn't consider
      this a trail for beginners anymore.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 4 miles Elevation change:
      Kevin Griffin a 41 year old Cross-Country Rider from USA


      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 15 Elevation change:
      Singletrack=97% Dirt Road=1% Paved Path=1% Truck Trail=1%
      OGBUENO a 30 year old Weekend Warrior riding a KONA STINKY PRIMO W/MONSTER T from PR


    • Trail UpdateAfter The Rains-Rode Redbox to JPL on Sunday. The trial is pretty beat up and it's obvious that A LOT of water came through with last weeks storm and sure more to follow with this weeks forecast.

      many more rocks across the trail, esp. in places where washouts and slides usually occur. Several downed trees but they've already been cut, except for one after Switzers that required crawling over. Watch out for tangled copper wire in this tree too, it caught my buddy's leg as he rode away. Water levels were fairly normal and the water wasn't cold.

      Still a great ride, even with lots of dismount/mount.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 15 miles Elevation change:
      HW a Cross-Country Rider riding a singlespeed hardtail


    • Trail UpdateRed Box-->Switzer's-You can park down at Switzer's and ride up the
      Angeles Crest Hwy to Red Box for a workout and
      then down the Gabrieleno trail back to Switzers.
      Red Box to Switzers singletrack is in good
      condition. There are plenty of loose rocks and a
      few challenging spot with some bigger ones.
      There are a few sections where you have to duck
      some branches but nothing too overgrown.
      Careful the poison oak on the side of the trail. The
      trail is in nice condition and this 5 mile or so
      stretch from Red Box to Switzers is a great ride for
      beginners who have some singletrack experience
      who are moving to be intermediate riders and want
      a little challenge. The streams were totally dry and
      the valley floor a little sandy in a spot or two. Have
      fun and be couteous to hikers if you see any!

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 5 miles downhill, 9 loop w/climb Elevation change:
      MonkeyDigsMTB a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Stumpjumper from Los Angeles


    • Trail UpdateRed Box-->JPL-Did this ride on 5-2-04. Entered the Gab at Red
      Box and made pretty good time to Switzer's. This
      part of the trail is in great shape and is totally
      rideable except one part where the trail is eroded
      away and you have to hike a few steps. There was
      only one water crossing on the way to Switzers as
      the water level is much lower than when I rode a
      few months ago. From Switzers to Oakwilde there
      were a few hikers although it was late in the
      afternoon. The trail was in great condition- a lot of
      encroaching brush that will make you bob duck
      and weave. Good think for helmets and
      sunglasses. Try not to get clotheslined. There
      were a few loose dirt portions of the trail near
      Oakwilde that caused my front tire to get away and I
      went over the bars. There are maybe 2 or three
      very small bits that require hike-a-bike over larger
      rocks and fatter babyheads from Switzers to
      Oakwilde. The lower Arroyo from Oakwilde to JPL
      is great and fast as always. Only a few little hike a
      bike parts here. All but one of the stream
      crossings are rideable. Be courteous to other
      riders and the horses as well. This is such a great
      ride and takes longer than you may think despite
      being mostly downhill. Took me almost 4 hours.
      There are 2 main uphill sections that arent that
      long but may take you some time. From Switzers
      to Oakwilde it's almost all exposed riding on the
      edge of the mountain so be careful. Not for the
      beginner at ALL. This is the best singletrack
      downhill ride I have found in the area. Red Box to
      Switzers is great for intermediates or advanced
      beginners to practice their singletrack and hone a
      little technical riding. Good times
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: Elevation change: 3000
      Singletrack=90039% Dirt Road=10%
      MonkeyDigsMTB a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Stumpjumper from Los Angeles


    • Trail UpdateSwim And Ride-Thats about what we did today.The streams are about as full as I've seen them in years.LOts and lots of water.Don't worry about it though just go ahead and jump on in.Really it's not that cold.As we were coming down we hit the first stream crossing after a few little switchbacks.Be careful here.DO NOT GO IN THE MIDDLE, as there is a big hole there that will swallow you whole.I'm not kidding.Go to the right and you can either walk or ride though here as there's no freekin hole.Two fo us did flips and ended up completely submerged.Kind of wakes you up though.Outside of all the water and about 5 fair sized slides the ride is still good.The trail is in some need of brushing too.Definetly don't ride this trail without glasses or goggles.We came in from riding the Toll Rd, which is really getting eroded,but still very rideable.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 35 miles Elevation change: 6000
      Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=50% Paved Path=10%
      Pain Freak riding a a pretty blue one from The 909


    • Trail UpdateSan Gabriel Access Threat Info-Meetings every third wednesday:

      Martin was also cool, he put on the letter on the PMBC web site http://www.pmbc.org.


    • Trail UpdateSan Gab Access Threat!-See this post.
      The Preacher


    • Trail UpdateGab(RedBox) To Switzer's/Arroyo-Rode it on Sunday (August 10, 2003). The "trail" is in fair to good condition -- it's the vegitation that will give ya trouble; we spent more time ducking, bobbing and weaving to avoid the branches/cacti than concentrating on the trail. It was still a kick! While not highly techncial, it's FUN and provides some awesome vistas/views.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 11 Elevation change:
      Singletrack=95% Truck Trail=5%
      Jimm a 48 year old Weekend Warrior riding a '03 Ellsworth ID from SGV


    • Trail UpdateGabrielino/Arroyo Seco/JPL-By far the most difficult trail I have been on. Not for beginners. Highly technical with steep cliff drop offs. Awesome singletrack with great scenery. Did the shuttle run Sunday from Red Box/Gabrielino/Arroyo Seco/JPL. Ride took us almost 7 hours. Trail from Red Box to Switzers is very rocky with some shallow sand areas. Few hikers and MTBers. Trail from Switzers down through Oakwilde and into the Arroyo Seco was again rocky with sand and many, many water crossings, most were not more than 6 inches deep. Many hike a bike sections with large rocks too big to ride over. Trail through the Arroyo and down to JPL was smooth and wide with more hikers. Scenery was absolutely amazing. This was my first time MTB in the Angeles. What a trail to start out on. Be careful from the poison oak in some sections. Bring plenty of water and FOOD!! Knee and elbow pads highly recommended.
      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: 15.3 miles Elevation change:
      Singletrack=85% Dirt Road=10% Paved Path=5%
      Double C's a 31 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Mountain Track from Woodland Hills


    • Trail UpdateChanneyTrail/RedBox To JPL-We kind of cheated a little here.We parked at Channey Trail and then rode up to the top.So we cut off about 1000 feet of climbing,but still managed somewhere over 4500.This part of the climb was good.The first part is paved and steep,but after you get to the fireroad it's really pretty mild.Just remember to save something.I think we logged about 9 miles climbing to get to the top.We came down the street to Red Box and descended from there.The trail has seen some damage from the storms,but in my opinion it has only made the trail better.The difficulty level has gone up in some areas and it looks like some group has done some trail work and helped us out here.The trail is still a blast though.We rode today with some guys that are tenative about exposure so that slowed us down some,but it gave me time to see a lot that I have been missing.This is really one of the most beautiful trails in all of Southern Cal. Very little traffic here today and no other bikers. It might have something to do with the high water level in the streams.I decided early to just go ahead and wade through and forget about keeping your feet dry.Some are running 3 feet deep.One stream I hit at good speed and buried my handlebars underwater, and ended up getting real wet there.It might be me, but I do believe this trail is really getting easier, although in no way am I suggesting that any beginners try this trail.You should have a year at least of technical riding before doing this trail. I cleaned almost everything except the waterfall and even that has been tapered down.Next time through I'm doing it.I ended up with 28 miles on my bike computer and 4660 total altitude gain.Good ridng with the Turner- TOTAL MTB club guys,Mark, Rick, Gabe and Ray.

      One side note, a ranger told us the amount of complaints is the most they've ever had and that there is a petiton of some sort going around to do something about bikes and trails.PLEASE people ride with courtesy.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 28miles Elevation change: 4660
      Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=20% Truck Trail= %
      Pain Freak a Cross-Country Rider riding a Renrut 02 /Quintana Roo TeQuilo from Fontana


    • Trail UpdateNice Little Loop-actually did this loop on jan 2 so trail conditions could have changed started off at the pinecrest entrance of the toll road at about 100 pm losta people up there that day made it up to the ranger station and took a little breather and met up with some dude riding an intense tracer i forget hes name but if he reads this whats up man good ride neway made it to the towers in about 2hrs and some nice views along the way rode the pavement down to redbox and strapped on my pads and meet up with some wanna be dhers they said they wanted to ride no problem but i ended up leaving them around 5 mins into the ride suckas i even ate twice due to the snow and my f!@#ed up rear triangle (busted bearing that i shouldnt have been riding on)all in all redbox to switzler was in good shape and one of the funnest dh sections in the angles I started jpl at about 415 so i was hauling ass all the way the trail conditions are good but the streams are pretty deep due to all that rain I saw all but 2 hikers after the bear canyon trail off and finally made it to the parking lot at jpl and then petaled to my car at pinecrest in the dark this was one of my best rides ever even though i ate it several times trying to outride my bike my fault not my bikes needless to say i slept well that night anyone intrested in riding the angles i go up there 2-3 times a week drop me a line ghostrider138157@yahoo.com no amatures plz hehe
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: bout 33 mi Elevation change: 5000?
      Singletrack=75% Dirt Road=20% Paved Path=5%
      ghostrider a 22 year old Racer riding a stumpjumper comp xt setup from whittier


    • Trail UpdateThe Gab-Gabrielino is in great shape right now. Seems like endless traction due to the recent rains, although there was no mud to speak of. The first few miles have quite a few snow patches, but they are all rideable. Expect extra deep stream crossings near the bottom. Several were deep enough to submerge hubs and bottom brackets.


      BrahMa riding a Lucky 6


    • Trail UpdateMt. Lowe To Gabrielino-I don't know how long this ride is, but it is one of the best big loops that I have done in the area. Park at JPL and ride streets over to Mt. Lowe Railway. This climb is steep for the first few miles and paved. I did the ride on Saturday, so there were no views, but I guess on a clear day it would be great. When the pavement ends, so does the pain. The dirt portion of the climb has a lesser grade. Pass the campground and continue up to Mt. Wilson Road. I would guess this climb to be about 10 miles and 4000ft! Bomb down the paved road to Red Box and buy a Snickers bar and warm up in the Visitors Center by the fire. Then down the Arroyo Seco. The first 4-5 miles are a screaming blast. Then after the Switzers Picnic area, it gets techy. Big boulders and stream crossings. This descent has it all. Big views, smooth singletrack, boulders aplenty, and lots of stream crossings at the bottom. After all that descending, you end up back at your car at JPL. I would say this is about a 30 mile ride. I was tired as hell, but I did it in under 5 hours!! I had to rush because of the time of day. The sun was setting as I hit the car. What a ride. Go do it, and earn your turns, climb up!! Other great rides, Strawberry, Chilao, and Condor Peak. I would like to combine this ride with Strawberry for a huge 50 mile epic. Anyone interested????
      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: 30 miles Elevation change: 4000 ft.
      Singletrack=60% Dirt Road=35% Paved Path=5%
      Gutbuster a 29 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Superlite from Redondo


    • Trail UpdateNo More Trees-Trail was in great shape this weekend (12-7-02). The Rangers have removed all the fallen trees. Most, if not all ( i made them!) of the washed out sections are ridable. They also removed the log jump past Oakwilde (sorry all you DH'ers)
      Mother a 39 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Giant NRS1, TCR TEAM ONCE from EagleRock


    • Trail UpdateRed Box To JPL To Rose Bowl!-
      Awesome ride all the way down. I have to agree
      with Terraphilia in that anyone that could do the
      round tripe deserves our respect and admiration. I
      also agree with his/her description of the trail, but
      found that most obstacles could be over come by
      simply going a little faster than my brain would
      want. Although their were some areas we had to
      carry are bikes across, the single tracks and rocky
      down hills were well worth the work out. Sorry we
      didn’t run into your group Terraphilia, but I share
      your thrill and humbling experience the trail leaves
      with you the first time down it.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: ? Elevation change: high
      Singletrack=90% Dirt Road=10%
      Buddha a 26 year old Weekend Warrior from Whittier,Ca


    • Trail UpdateTerraphilia, glad you enjoyed this wonderful piece of heaven we have in our backyard. It doesn't matter if you shuttled or climbed (I don't think the other guy/gal meant climbing the Gab., usually people will climb The Mt. Lowe Railway or Mt. Wilson toll road.) More importantly is the fact that you were out enjoying yourselves and being responsible trail users and courteous to others on the trail. Difficulty is all relative to riders skill, don't worry about what others say, ride within yourself.
      There will come a time where that trail will be virtually 100% cleanable for you (accept a few creek crossings) and you'll look back at the first time you rode it and laugh at the contrast in your perspective.

      JoeTruth riding a Royce Union FR from Altadena, CA


    • Trail UpdateMore Power To You.-Much respect to anyone who can clean this trail without putting their foot down, much less do an out and back from JPL to Switzer's or Redbox then back in one trip (30 miles!), but when you're a relative newcomer to the sport like me (about a year and a half), you can probably see why this trail would prove challenging to all but the advanced riders. So maybe that day my confidence in my skills wasn't enough to overcome my greater sense of self-preservation (don't die:D), but as I said before, I will be back. I don't mean to make excuses -- I'll admit that it's a tough trail. Maybe I'll see you out there and tag along to watch how it's really done. Maybe I should get body armor just in case?

      Happy trails...

      Ride rating: Advanced
      Terraphilia a 27 year old Weekend Warrior riding a 2000 GT iDrive from Norwalk


    • Trail UpdateDownhill-Only?-Hmmmm...I have done that trail a number of times over my years of MTBing & have never shuttled..always rode it to the top. Also did it b-4 suspension! That is an AWESOME Trail! Can't wait to ride up it soon!


    • Trail UpdateRedbox To JPL...kicked My @ss-Yesterday, me and a buddy did the shuttle ride from Redbox to JPL. It was our first time on this trail and it was rated high in the trail book "Mountain Biking Southern California" as beautiful singletrack with "moderate" difficulty. Boy, was that wrong. The first 4-5 miles from Redbox to Switzer's were easy enough, except for that rocky section half way down the trail. Recent slides had left logs and skull-sized rocks strewn about the singletrack, which added a little challenge to the ride.

      Coming into Gabrielino NRT, things started to get hairy. The trees were dropping their leaves -- beautiful when you stop and look, but they masked the ruts as we rode along the ST, threatening to throw us down into the canyon if we didn't pay attention. Many areas along the ST were washed out, leaving loose dirt between us and the edge of the cliff. BTW, we had to pass under a huge tree that fell on the trail. Large rocks made crossing some streams nearly impossible for us. Most of the time, we had to hike-a-bike through the difficult sections.

      Coming to Oakwilde Camp, breathtaking views of the canyon below helped me to forget how tired I was. Through the rideable sections, I rode unclipped in case I had to bail from the bike. More rock slides and loose dirt narrowed some parts of the trail to a foot wide down at my wheels. Up above, a couple of low-hanging branches threatened to take my head off. My hands were starting to go numb from squeezing the brakes too hard.

      Finally descending into the canyon, I was relieved to see the more familiar Arroyo Seco trail. A few stream crossings and a brisk downhill later we get to the parking lot dead tired. Oddly enough, we were both thrilled and humbled by the difficulty of this trail. Good thing we rode out with our health and a promise to come back after more trail experience (I also had to promise my buddy that I wouldn't pick our trails anymore). I snapped a few pics along the way, which should make for an interesting story.

      The moral of all this: don't trust an outdated book for changing trail conditions and "difficulty" is relative.

      Ride distance: 15 miles Elevation change: Lots
      Singletrack=85% Dirt Road=10% Paved Path=5%
      Terraphilia a 27 year old Weekend Warrior riding a 2000 GT iDrive from Norwalk, CA


    • Trail UpdatePerfect Conditions-The trail is in great shape with a just a few surprises.Redbox to Switzer is loaded with rocks washed onto the trail ( that's a good thing right? ) but still fast. The waterfall section has a line that seems easier to clean.

      About a mile pass the Bear Canyon split there is a small tree canopy, BE CAREFULL. There are two low SOLID branches hidden in the brush. It's on a fast section.

      1/4 mile before Oakwilde there is a large tree down across the trail.

      There are numerous washed out sections, some are ridable, some are not.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 15 miles Elevation change:
      Mother a 39 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Giant NRS1, TCR TEAM ONCE from EagleRock


    • Trail UpdateCALL RANGER STATION BEFORE GOING. After blowing off work
      last Thursday we (4 of us) made the trip from the Palisades only to find
      signs saying “Extreme Fire Hazard Area” and “FORREST CLOSED.”
      One ranger told us that just getting out of your car would get you a $50
      ticket under these circumstances.
      VideoCutter a 42 year old Weekend Warrior from Southern CA


    • Trail UpdateRED BOX - JPL!! WHOA!-"Shuttle" ride from Red Box to JPL with TCOM-ROM and BONER on Saturday for the first time...... WHOA!!!! This trail was NUTS! Approximately 17 miles of single track through all kinds of terrain... HUGE ROCKS, some soft spots, some hike a bike, very little climbing, great view, and some SERIOUS cliffs....

      TCOM-ROM's front tire was eaten up by some soft stuff, throwing him over his bars, into a ditch, and giving him a nice battle scar on his chin... He broke his glasses and was a little dazed. Fortunately that was ALL he broke, because he took a pretty good spill... BONER was a MAD MAN, leaving us behind for most of the ride. Apparently, he says that he never looked down, and wanted to get off the trail as fast as he can.. Whatever works for him I GUESS.. AND as for me, I ate it a couple times, but luckily got away with only a few scratches. I too flew into a ditch, but fortunately landed in a bed of LEAVES.. Overall the ride was well worth it. I cant wait to take the Carribean Stud, The Therapist, and Wacko-Rod on this trail....

      Lastly, we were stopped by some riders on the trails after about an hour into our ride. Turns out one of their group members had gone over one of the cliffs... This was NOT a little ditch, for she may have fell 2-3 stories down, clipped into her bike... Fortunately, she was able to climb back up, but she was shaken pretty bad, with some bruises and scratches, and a messed up wrist.. One of her fellow riders had brought some rope with him, as it came to good use. Anyhow, just to give those venturing this trail for the first time some heads up.. Be safe and maybe carry some first aid stuff and even a rope if possible... Its pretty technical! So technical that the brave T-COM-ROM actually admitted to being just "A LITTLE SCARED" =)!!

      To the fellow rider that fell off the cliff: "Hope all is well, and maybe we'll run into you guys next time..."
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 17 miles? Elevation change:
      Singletrack=85?% Dirt Road=10?% Paved Path=5?%
      King Solomon a 28 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Cannondale Jeckyl from West Covina


    • Trail UpdateRiding out from Gabrelino toward JPL,the 3rd to last bridge is being worked on. Actually the bridge has been completely torn out. This turns into a hike-a-bike across the creekbed,through ALOT of Poison Oak and up some newly constructed wooden steps. The rest of the trail is business as usual.
      Pac-Man a 28 year old from Alhambra


    • Trail UpdateClose Inspection-Had a rare opportunity yesterday. I hiked the trail from Switzers to JPL for a school science field trip. Moving at a much slower speed gave me a chance to inspect the trail much closer.

      Dark Helmet is right. The embankments are terribly eroded since I last was on this trail. Further, the Poison Oak is terrible. But, I don't anticipate it becoming much worse, there's no moisture to feed it.

      Past Oakwilde the stream is dry. It goes underground until it clears the Brown Canyon Debris Dam. After you bike over the ridge that goes around the dam the water reappears.

      My biggest gripe is what I saw just past Oakwilde on the trail. There has been for a long time a rather large fallen tree blocking the trail. I suppose the biking gods out there who are capable of making their bikes fly off flat trail can clear this. I, however, have been satisfied to dismount and lift to clear. What disgusts me is the placement of a large board as a ramp over the tree, and worse still, the evidence of a trail forming that goes around the tree! It pains me to see the flora being destroyed by those who are too lazy get off their bikes and go over.

      I realize that for the most part I am "preaching to the choir" as most people who would take the time to read a review of a MTB trail would never violate the rules and cut a trail. BUT, in the off chance someone is unaware, PLEASE stick to the trails. If you can't clear something, that does not give you permission to form your own trail. Further, part of the beauty of MTBing is the natural obstacles. Ramps do not add any glory to the ride, they detract from it.

      Last note, even on a weekday I ran into several hikers (Heck, I WAS one!) and several horses. Courtesy please, especially around horses. Saw one goof blaze past a horse with narry a word.

      All said, still a great trail, and can't wait to get out this weekend so I can do it on my bike.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 9 Elevation change: ?
      Singletrack=85% Dirt Road=10% Paved Path=5%
      Spiffster a 32 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Novarra from Pasadena


    • Trail UpdatePoison Oak Is In Full Bloom...-Rode today from Red Box down to Oakwild Camp, hike-a-biked up Ken Burton to top of Brown then down Prieto. Total of 19 miles mostly downhill, except for 1 short climb out of Switzer and the 1100-foot, 2.25 mile hike to the top of Brown.
      Temps were in the 70's and beautiful, the ride was uneventful, fast and fun, as expected. Since it was a weekday ride, the hikers and out of town riders you typically run into on weekends were virtually non-existent.
      Lots of erosion from knuckle-heads skidding off the trail due to poor bike handling skills or carrying way too much speed into turns and are breaking away the embankments; Especially after you come down from The Bear Creek split and are down in the canyon paralleling the creek bed.
      Lots of Poison Oak in the canyon through out the ride, in some spots it is virtually unavoidable. The P.O. is going to be very scary in a month or 2 or 3!

      Dark Helmet


    • Trail UpdateRed Box-JPL-La Cuca and I biked a more challenging Red Box-JPL "shuttle" ride on Sunday, 11/30. First, we rode from Red Box to Oakwilde. The trail, while rocky at times, was in good shape and more hard-packed because of the recent rains than when we rode it earlier in the year. Very few of the sections are unrideable, and this is my favorite part of the gabrielino trail! From Oakwilde, we crossed the stream left and rode (pushed) our bikes up the Ken Burton trail, where we took a much-needed breather. At this point you're on the Brown mountain fire road, where it's mostly downhill on a typical SoCal fire road. Left at the junction, we then picked up the El Prieto singletrack about 3/4 of a mile down, clearly marked on the right. After hearing so much about El Prieto, we were anxious to finally ride this singletrack, and it did not disappoint! The trail was in relatively good shape, and drained what little energy we had after the long push up the Ken Burton trail. This route, while still being a shuttle, will give you an excellent sampling of all types of riding conditions: fun singletrack, a tough uphill for conditioning, as well as downhill fire roads...try it out!
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 20? miles Elevation change: ??
      Singletrack=80% Truck Trail=20%
      David Murphy a 30 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Gary Fisher Sugar 3 from Valencia


    • Trail UpdateRedbox-JPL Update-Follow directions above, and in the reviews below. JPL is 2 miles East of Hwy 2 on the 210 fwy, exit Arroyo/Windsor and go North 1 mile to the parking lot on the left.

      Same conditions as last summer (see reviews below). Redbox-Switzer's is technical, fast singletrack, rocky on top, then dirt with rock/technical sections. Oak in the trail in several spots once you get into the second tree section. Watch for hikers, mostly in the last 1/4mi to Switzer's. Advanced run, but could be done by skilled intermediate riders. Left at the only junction. Switzer's is 9 miles North of the 210 fwy on Hwy 2. Trail ends at the bottom parking lot, not on Hwy 2. Adventure Pass required for parking either at Redbox or Switzer's.

      Switzer's-JPL is the same as last summer also. Hard ride for advanced riders. Bring extra food and water. Extra tubes, tools, sunscreen, and preparations for poison oak are recommended. First 1.5 miles of creek-bottom trail, several crossings, sandy spots, lots of hikers and water. Mostly ridable. Bear right at any forks, including one where the main trail appears to go left (Switzer Falls Trail - A nice detour if you have never been). This first section is the worst.

      Right up the switchbacks, right at the Bear Canyon Tr. fork (left and down is a nasty dead-end), then great singletrack. Technical and rocky spots, narrow places with exposure, on eroded turns also. Less-skilled/confident riders will walk these. A few overgrown spots, but not too bad. Watch for hidden rocks and lots of poison oak as you descend into the shade. This is around the 1/3 point of Switzer's-JPL.

      The trail will remain narrow, technical and sandy in places, with many patches of oak for the duration. This next section along the creek bottom is the best of the ride, and the stream crossings are fairly easy and refreshing. When you exit at the tables, go left and cross the stream at the cement steps. This is the about the 2/3 point. A small up, then descend and take the next left. Follow the main line through the arroyo section, eventually becoming a wide trail/old road. Left and down at the ranger trailer, eventually to pavement and out to JPL.

      Smog is bad these days, I recommend going early. The canyon does avoid the worst of the heat, but it has sunny exposed spots also. Miles & drop below are Redbox-JPL. This trail is technical, with a lot of climbing and pedalling, you will be exhausted. Dont forget to leave water and food (or money) in your down car. Great mexican food on Foothill Blvd, just South of the 210 fwy, and just East of Hwy 2.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 25 miles? Elevation change: 3000-ish
      Singletrack=95% Dirt Road=1% Paved Path=2% Truck Trail=2%
      Airbear a Die-hard Enthusiast


    • Trail UpdateThe Lowe-Gabrielino Epic-In desperate need of a ride last weekend, I managed to secure a ride with the climbing psychopaths Endo Verendo, and Sir Tom Kenney. The alarm rang waaaay too early, 7:30 am on a saturday hurts. It hurts even worse after working 14-hour days for a week straight...

      So like I was saying, I needed a ride really, really badly. I knew what I was getting myself into- a 30+ mile ride with 4000 feet of climbing on ST and fireroads, followed by 13+ miles of epic cliffhanging ST descending though a remote canyon. The stupid adrenaline-junkie side of myself thought, 'you need to have more fun on the descent... ride the 4 banger'. The rational side of me thought, 'what, are you friggin' nuts? There is 4000 feet of climbing! Ride your hardtail'. Well, as you may have guessed, the dumb side of me won, and would continue to win for the rest of the day.

      Met Endo and Tom at the Windsor/JPL parking lot, and proceeded to ride to the corner of Lake/Loma Alta. Through the gate, and started climbing the Lower Sam Merrill ST, which is very, very buffed-out ST with about 3x10^6 switchbacks and about as many hikers. I think Endo was climbing in the big ring, while Tom and I were on the edge of passing out. In what seemed like a painful eternity, we made it to the summit of Echo Mtn, and surveyed the foggy view.

      Climbed the ST to the Mt. Lowe railway fireroad, and commenced grinding. Up, up, and then up some more, past the normal Middle Sam bailout back down towards Echo/Sunset trail (another unbelievable ride), and up some more all the way to the paved road that goes from Redbox to Mt. Wilson observatory. Somewhere near the top we popped out of the gloomy grey surroundings, and were greeted with blue skies. It was as if someone had turned on the color. Quite amazing. The grand total of elevation gain at this spot was ~4000 feet. All on dirt. Yeah, I like it.

      Stopped for a bite of balance bar and watched as 320 people were dropping themselves off at the top to do a schuttle ride (wimps). We *bombed* down the pavement to Redbox, I don't think I touched the brakes once.

      Lowered the seat at Redbox, and we dropped into the top section of Gabrielino. For those of you who haven't done it, this section of trail is similar to Backbone in Will Rogers Park- scaryfast with rocks littered about. Endo kicked up up with his front tire and amputated the bottom half of his leg. Unfortunately, there wasn't much more climbing, because Tom and I might have been able to keep up now that Endo only had one leg. A couple of rocky sections, lots of fun. One in particular took a couple of reps, but I eventually got it.

      Down at Switzers, we all stopped to take a break and feed the plague-infested squirrels. Saddled back up, and headed out towards Arroyo Seco. Very similar to Upper Sam (just one canyon over)- exposed switchbacks and yuccas. Some parts are a bit overgrown, prompting the comment "It's like riding through a Salad".

      A couple of really beautiful sections- some of the trees have actually changed color and are losing their leaves... coupled with dark green moss that grows up the walls of the canyon and a stream 30 feet below. Very scenic, and it feels like you aren't anywhere near LA. Technically, there are a few tightrope sections where the trail is starting to leave the hill, but all in all the entire thing is cleanable.

      At the bottom of the canyon there is a sandy section where you have to pay attention to signage to follow the "trail", but eventually it continues its rocky creekside way, equipped with too many creek crossings to count. There are a couple of spots where you can wheelie-drop into the water, which is a blast. Eventually we started seeing more people, and then before too long, the ride was over. Back at the car.

      Grand total of damage: two broken spokes (me), two bruised kneecaps (me and Tom), one below-the-knee amputation (Endo), and ravenous hunger (all). Afterwards, we rolled over to Pepes, downed margaritas and beers, and Tom got (and nearly finished) a 16-lb burrito.

      Be the ball. This sucker is an epic. A good training ride for the SM 72.

      El Santo


    • Trail UpdateRide #1-First I must state the fact that I got on the bike 4 times last week to practice the skill of hike-a-bike 3 of those times. All in the name of new trails around Santa Monica, the bike was a backpack all too often, although some progress was made.

      Saturday a.m.

      Headed up to the San G's to scope out a trail I had heard plenty about, but had never done, Gabrielino. Parked down at the Switzer's camping area, hopped on the ride and endured the steep 1/2 mile road climb out of the lot up to Hwy 2(Angeles Crest). Hooked a right and hit the 5 mile road ride up the 2, twisting, turning, trying my hardest not to get run over, sometimes catching a slight breeze. Once at red box I took a couple minutes to look around as it was arts and crafts day here at the indian workshop.

      Then back on the bike dropped in not really knowing what to expect. Was it technical? Was it Sidehill cliffside slow going? Was it creekside rocky mayhem? Well, it was a super fast, often very straight, embedded rock, speed chute in the shade. Extremely fun ride for any level of rider seeing as your speed is only limited on nice soft turns. Bombed down several miles to encounter one moderate tech section, followed by one expert level section. Just enough to get those juices flowing and not have you feel you've been riding on pavement the whole time. Fantastic ride, about 10 miles round trip which Leaves you wanting more.

      This has me thinking again that a super shuttle from Chilao is the best way to extend and link all the best on that side of the San G's. Chilao, silver mocassin, red box, gabrielino, arroyo, to JPL. Who's ready?

      Good luck to you.
      Dusty Bottoms


    • Trail UpdateAmazing Arroyo-I rode the San Gabriel mountains yesterday for the first time... What a shock!!! The Arroyo Seco trail is the closest thing to being to being far away from So. Cal., but yet not. With the streams, waterfalls and wildlife, it is easy to get sidetracked from the reality that I was only a few miles from Pasadena!
      The Santa Monica mountains are my home, so I picked the Arroyo Seco out of a book, hoping to find a comparable ride... And I was not disappointed. Though not quite the "loop" that I was hoping to find, it left me very impressed.
      I rode the face to Oakwilde Picnic area and decided to continue on to Switzer's Falls, still having energy. It is a very technical climb, with several stream crossings that are un-rideable. About 1 mile shy of the Falls, I ran across another rider (only the 3rd all day) who told me what I had already figured out for myself... The hill I was climbing was better suited as a descent!!! Dropped off at the top, this was a killer singletrack! Talk about learning the hard way! Well at least I had found a trail that was not only a mellow ride up until the 10 mile mark, but also interested the naturalist in me.
      Not to sound cliche', but the Arroyo Seco is as close
      to a tropical paradise as you will find in So.Cal. and
      still be within pedaling distance of a 7-11. Not the
      hardcore trail that I was wishing for, but definetly
      incentive to explore more!!!
      Info on specific trails that might interest me in
      San Gabriels would be greatly appreciated.
      The Arroyo is intermediate to the 10 mile mark, and
      advanced past that. BRING LOTS OF WATER!

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Hammerhead a 32 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a GT Zaskar (hardtail) from West Hills


    • Trail UpdateGabrielino/Arroyo Seco-WARNING - In addition to serious exposure on steep cliffs, trail is covered with poison oak. Awesome ride anyway. Be prepared.

      Started at Lake and Alta Loma in Sierra Madre and rode up Echo Mtn, took the connector to the Mt. Lowe road, and rode over through the tunnel to Eaton Saddle. We then dropped a nice but rarely used singletrack, the Valley Forge Trail, down into Red Box Canyon. It intersects the Gabrielino trail. Bearing left on the Gabrielino, we climbed up to Red Box station. This section required numerous dismounts for 10-12 stream crossings and boulder sections.

      Don't count on water at Red Box - the drinking fountain is capped and the bathrooms closed (your tax dollars and adventure pass fees at work!). There is water down at Switzer's, however.

      From Red Box, we picked up the Gabrielino again at the NE corner of the parking lot and continued down to Switzers Picnic area. After a water refill, we continued down (and sometimes up)the trail through the entire Arroyo Seco down to JPL. This is some fine, fine riding but I would not recommend it to anyone who is not confident of their skills on a narrow trail skirting a 500-ft cliff while dodging poison oak on the sides of the trail. The terrain changes from dry, exposed chaparral to cool, wet, forrested canyon trail. There are lots of short semi-technical sections, such as dropping into or climbing out of a stream crossing while dodging the river rocks, that make this a lot of fun but also tiring. Do not count on this section as being all downhill - it's not. Also be prepared for multiple (2 dozen or more) stream crossings on this section. The road ride back up to the car sucked - I recommend parking at or nearer to JPL and riding the road in the beginning if you try this loop. Bring lots of water, food, sunscreen, and Ivy Block.

      A most epic ride.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 36.1 miles Elevation change: 5820
      Singletrack=85% Dirt Road=10% Paved Path=5%
      Chris Francoeur a 36 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Ellsworth from Corona del Mar


    • Trail UpdateGabrielino/Arroyo Seco Trail-I rode this trail starting from Switzers Picnic area on Thursday March 16, 2000. The trail seemed to be in good condition with only one washout, but still some ruts from the rain and alot of loose places. Heads up, I think its a trail for the expert but its a fun trail, with places on the trail that make you feel like your not even in california.
      Ride rating: Expert
      Joe Taylor a 27 year old Weekend Warrior riding a GT LTS from Hacienda Heights, Ca


    • Trail UpdateGabrielino/Arroyo Seco Trails-WARNING: This trail is very long, rough, and in places very exposed, often traversing cliffs. The middle portion, below Switzer's Camp, is remote and very dangerous. There is also a lot of walking, even though walking is required only on about 5% of the total distance. It's a LONG ride!!
      If you parked at the bottom of the highway, ride up CA-2 9 miles to Red Box Gap. The highway isn't very steep, but is a long grind with much traffic.
      At Red Box, go to the northwest corner of the parking area and locate the Gabrielino Trail. The trail is rocky and rough for the first couple miles, but not very difficult or dangerous. Traverse the mountainside in oak and pine forests, then drop down a very rocky section into the canyon bottom and follow the edge of the river bed. Pass through Switzer's picnic area, which is an optional start/end point on CA-2.
      From the picnic area, continue down-canyon, dodging hordes of hikers. Several sections of annoying walking ensue before you reach Switzer's campground and the Switzer's Falls overlook. A few yards before the campground, the Gabrielino Trail crosses the creek on some logs and climbs steeply up the right side of the canyon. The trail levels out at the junction with the Bear Canyon trail. Stay right at this junction and begin a long traverse high above Switzer's Falls. The trail becomes more exposed over high cliffs, then turns right. A steep descent across a cliffy section leads into a dark, densely forested canyon.
      A roller-coaster-like ride down this small side canyon leads back to the main canyon of the Arroyo Seco. Here, the little stream plunges down a 100 ft. waterfall into the main creek. Descend to the right of the falls and enter the main canyon. More roller-coaster riding along the wall of the canyon leads to Shangraw's Rest camp. There is a table here, and some old rusted iron equi!
      pment. Past Shangraw's, the trail becomes somewhat sandy and gravelly, then enters Oakwilde camp. Oakwilde is an old resort, and the stone-and-mortar foundations of the buildings serve as the 'flats' for the campground. There are tables here, and in years past the citrus trees have provided fruit, but none this past year.
      Past Oakwilde, the trail becomes very sandy, and much walking is required. The trail crosses the stream and climbs the left side of the canyon on some switchbacks. To avoid a man-made waterfall, the trail traverses above crumbling cliffs, then drops down some loose switchbacks to the bottom of the canyon, at Paul Little picnic area. Here, a short trail goes right to the base of the falls. The main trail continues left.
      Several stream crossings are made in the next section, and much walking through boulders is needed. Soon, the trail becomes a dirt road, and no more walking is required. The dirt road turns paved at a small private ca!
      mp. Go right here on a dirt road leading in 1 mile up to the bottom of CA-2, where you parked.
      Singletrack=95% Dirt Road=5%
      Tom Kenney a 30 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Klein Pinnacle from Reseda, CA URL: Tom's Page


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