- Thursday, July 25, 2024

Southern California Trails

  • Lake Castaic - #LakeCastaic

    Socal - Los Angeles County - Castaic NickNames: #LakeCastaic

    Go north on I-5 and turn off on Lake Hughes Road. This turn off is about 5 miles north of Magic Mountain. Turn right on Lake Hughes Road and go about 1/2 mile, the lake is on the left. Parking is available on side streets or you can pay $6.00 to park inside the lake facility. The trailhead begins at the very north end of the parking lot. There is a water tank near where the trail begins. There are many trails systems available.

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    • Castaic Pro Loop-The description is long, but since there are so many options to this loop Iíll have to be fairly detailed.

      This is definitely my favorite loop at Castaic. Once in the park continue North along the paved road that eventually takes you to the boat launch ramp. Youíll see a large water tank on your right just before you need to start looking for the trailhead. Just before the paved road begins to climb up to the top you will find the start of the trail to the right. It will be marked with a white gate on the left hand side of the road, and a trailhead marker pole with a small white sign (8-10' high) on the right. Jump on the singletrack to the right, follow it under the trees and veer to the left when the trail splits a few hundred feet up. Just up from that you'll start your first climb (tough). About 8-10 minutes later you'll top out the climb and enter into a picnic area. Stay to the right on the well worn dirt path and follow the fencing until you get to a paved road that crosses your path. This is the road that takes you to the boat ramp. Cross over the road (the trail turns into a fire road at this point) go around the white gate (may be locked) and continue on the fire road. Soon after, the fire road splits - stay to the left. (you can take the fire road to the right as well, but I'll take you along the more popular route to the left). A couple s-turns later you'll find your next climb (oh-boy!). It's a fairly steep grade (still on fire road), and there are a few loose sections that you'll have to navigate around. The climb only lasts 3 or 4 minutes but your legs will swear it lasted 10. As the fire road flattens out on top take the first sharp right hand turn (at this point you'll be about 14-16 minutes into the ride - intermediate rider) Approx. 60-70 yards up from there you'll see a singletrack on your left. Take this and you'll spend the next few minutes winding through the trees with a great view of the lake on the right. This short trail dumps you onto a doubletrack trail. Take a right on the trail and have fun descending the switchback that takes you to the boat ramp. At the bottom, the trail winds around the lake edge and merges with a fire road; this is your next climb. Low gears are your friend, and this one will last approx. 6-8 minutes. At the top of the climb youíll be dumped onto another fire road. You should be about 27 minutes into the ride at this point Ė intermediate rider. Take the fire road to the right and there will be a short climb just ahead. As the fire road tops out and begins to descend look for a singletrack on your right (it will come up just as you begin to descend). The singletrack parallels the fire road and you get a great view of the lake. The singletrack merges again with the fire road near another white (locked) gate, and the road drops to the left. This is a nice downhill run with a singletrack option. The singletrack begins about a 100 yards down just before a large tree Ė take it to the right. Whether you run the fire road or the singletrack, youíll need to look for a trail sign about 4-5 minutes into the downhill run. Youíll see a few large trees on your right just before you find the trail sign. Take this doubletrack trail to the right and this will be your last climb (thank god!) Itís easier than the others, but not too easy, and it will last 6-8 minutes. At the top the doubletrack merges with a fire road. Make a sharp right on the fire road and take a very short climb to the top where youíll see park benches. If you need a rest, this is a great place to do it. Estimated time to the top: Expert / 31-35 min, Inter. / 36-40 min, Beg / 41- 45 min, Couch Potato / 50+ min
      Now its downhill time. You can take the fire road, that you last merged onto, all the way down to the beginning of the trailhead, or you can take the singletrack. For the singletrack option, stay just to the right at the beginning of the fire road descent and continue up approx. 100 feet to where the singletrack begins and youíll be looking down over the fire road and a great view of Castaic lower lake. The very first part is a little gnarly but then itís a great roller coaster from that point on. Be cautious on your first ride, there are a few twists- turns Ė and the singletrack is a bit rutted. The singletrack merges with the fire road at the bottom, turn to the left, and 100 yards up youíll find yourself at the beginning of the trailhead.

      Beginners generally do one lap, Intermediates do 2, Experts do 3, and ANIMALS do 4.
      Loop Mileage: 6.3 per
      Alt Gain: 1400í

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 6.3 miles Elevation change: 1400 ft
      Singletrack=80% Dirt Road=20%
      N2dirt a Cross-Country Rider riding a Gary Fisher Procalibur from Saugus, CA


    • Trail UpdateSept 09'-The trail continues to get better, not perfect, but much better. I would say about 95% of the pro loop is hard packed. There's only a couple small sections on the climbs that have loose areas that you can easily navigate around. There aren't any areas that force you to get off the bike.
      N2dirt a Cross-Country Rider riding a Fisher ProCalibur


    • Trail UpdateThe trail is being ridden and the single track is slowly getting better. There is some heavy vegetation in some parts but not a problem. Watch out though on the Pro downhill, some very stubborn thickets on the way down, man they sting...


    • Trail UpdateCastaic-This ride now sucks. There use to be single track coming down from the green box, but a dozer went right over the trail to make a fire break. The ride isn't worth it anymore. It will take along time to get packed back down and turned back into a single track. There is still some single track spots around the lake but most are destroyed. www.chaingangmtb.com
      Rock4x4 a 26 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a 05' cake 2 dlx from valencia, ca


    • Trail UpdateI rode Lake Castaic Counter-Clockwise to the Blue Box and down the single track this morning. The trails are good-to-go following the bulldozing. Thanks in no small part to the guys blazing the trails through the soft, loose stuff Ė thanks! Come out and enjoy the ride but youíve got to get out there early itís getting really hot.


    • Trail UpdateI rode the loop this morning and ran into a bulldozer. Yep, they are bulldozing the trails. They couldnít just cut the weeds, they had to rip-up the hard-pack, what are they thinking? It will take weeks to establish a trail that one can ride and Iím sure that there will be several falls establishing it. Good luck!


    • Trail UpdateCastaic '06-The Castaic Ride has taken a turn for the better in the last few weeks. It was pretty well destroyed for quite a while due to the bulldozers and the incredible rains of last year. I rode it yesterday with a guy I met named Don and it was almost perfect again. There are still some cow holes on the down hill section but it much better than it was. I hear people bag on this ride because it is not that technical but you have to remember that this is a XC race course and was never ment to be a double diamond Mamoth Mtn. run. There are many killer sections like the top singletrack (short but sweet) and some wicked climbs like "hell hill" after the paved road crossing and the fire road chug back up from the upper lake. If this ride feels to easy you can always take a second lap which would yield about 6000 ft of total climbing elevation.

      Enjoy the good weather while it lasts. Castaic roasts your bones in the summer!!!
      tonkadog a 34 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a gary fisher cake deluxe from saugus


    • Trail UpdateI did this trail the first time today. Not extremly challenging or technical but great fun with fantastic views over the lake. I followed these direction from mtbr.com:

      Enter and make 1st left and go to far parking area where trailhead starts (look for paved ramp at curb on left). Take trail past water tank and make 1st Rt, follow around trees and keep right to singletrack climb. Continue on course to upper lake campground area where you'll cross the paved road. Continue across rd past gate onto fireroad follow to top and look for tracks cutting to rt and back (singletrack that parallels fireroad). Either way you go you'll come to another singletrack (s/t) option that drops down to the lake, runs around the lakeside (~1mi) then climbs back up to the fireroad (f/r). Continue rt on the f/r and look for another s/t taking off on rt that parallels fireroad again. When you come to the gate (end of f/r) bear left onto s/t and follow ~2mi to fork. The trail going rt & up is the "Pro-loop" and will take you to the "Grapevine DH course" which is off the top, just look for the s/t that starts at the bottom of the fist DH. It's a fun DH, rollercoaster like, crosses the f/r once and then terminates at the bottom gate just shy of the trailhead. If you skip the Pro-loop just continue on the left trail and you'll pick up the lower portion of the DH course and end up at the same place.

      To make the ride abit longer I went down the single track to the left from the top and then road back up and did the "grapevine" ST (which parellels the fireroad your climbing)
      Have Fun
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 9 miles Elevation change:
      Jason a 26 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Ancient specialized ground cotrol from santa clarita


    • Trail UpdateWindblaster...-the 27 mile elderberry forebay loop contains a PUNISHING amount of climbing. the killer is in the final 7 miles of the ride. the first 3 1/2 out of the seven are ALL UP. no, it doesn't sound like much but after i had already ridden the first 20 miles i was definitely feeling it! the final 3 miles back to the car are over in about 10 minutes. conditions on sat were WINDY which made for slow going. in the middle of the ride there are some dastardly steep, loose, and rocky sections of singletrack although these are over before you know it. best thing about this ride: no humans ANYWHERE on a Saturday no less...
      Eck see a 33 year old Die-hard Enthusiast


    • Trail UpdateCastaic-Rode the trail for the first time over the June 21-23-02 weekend. The lower and middle sections roughed up by the bulldozer. Some of the single track is now a little more technical due to the chewed up dirt. Rode the front and the back sides starting at the green box (nice view of the upper lake). The DH coarse on the frontside is a blast and the backside switchbacks are fun too.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Singletrack=30% Dirt Road=70%
      Russ a 41 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a GT sts 1000 from Long Beach


    • Trail UpdateCastaic 5-16-02-Went on this ride with some buddies on Thursday night
      and found that the trail was tore up again by the
      bulldozers. Most of the damage was on the second loop
      on the downhill. Still a great ride just more work!
      I hope the recent rain helped to pack the dirt.
      Gotta keep riding it to make it better!
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Trailwalker a 38 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Haro Extreme from Canyon Country


    • Trail UpdateCastaic RIDERS NEEDED-I'm a freelance video producer looking to do a
      project on spec for TLC. Topic is "Mountain Biking
      Hot Spots in SoCal." I need riders available for
      shoots in Castaic Lake -- weekday mornings or
      eves. If you may be interested, zap me asap.
      Shooting to start late July '02.
      I live near the lake and frequently ride these trails.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Singletrack=75% Dirt Road=25%
      a Cross-Country Rider riding a fsr from castaic, ca


    • Trail UpdateSooz-Been riding the loops consistently three days a week since things were bull-dozed and thanks to all the other riders, we've finally packed it down and made it fun to ride there again. The loop down to the west ramp is great and the switchbacks up to the top are clearable. I highly recommend the downhill course too. You can really get a great ride and workout by mixing up the loops and doing them in reverse of the way you started. Lots of good climbs and fun descends. If you do the expert downhill course in reverse be careful of the downhillers, especially if you ride on the week-end.
      sooz davis a 38 year old Racer riding a cannondale & santa cruz from Castaic


    • Trail UpdateCastaic XC Race Course-The Castaic race course is in good condition with a few exceptions. The second and third single tracks on the uphill section have been moderately altered by a bulldozer from the firefighting effort there. While these trails are still there, the trail is much softer, instead of the usual hardpack. The same goes for the initial downhill section. Look for soft dirt turning off the jeep trail onto the first singletrack to the right and exiting back out at the bottom as you transition back onto the double track. The double track is still fast, but with a strip of loose dirt and small rocks in the center. The final switchbacks have been altered by the bulldozer in sections, these sections being very soft dirt wise and much narrower at points. The rest of the downhill switchbacks remain the same, with the usual braking bumps.
      a Cross-Country Rider


    • Trail UpdateHack-This is a fun ride. I live right by the lake so this is my weekday training grounds. It's mostly fire road with two decent single track sections. Get's real hot in the summer. Bring lots of water.

      Lots of wildlife and a great view of the upper lake at the back of the trail. Watch for Rattlers.
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 7 miles Elevation change:
      Singletrack=25% Dirt Road=75%
      Hack a 34 year old Weekend Warrior riding a GF Paragon from Castaic, CA


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