- Thursday, January 26, 2023
Southern California Trails
LittlePine Mtn - #LittlePineMtn
Socal - Santa Barbara County - Santa Barbara NickNames: #LittlePineMtn
Hwy 101 to hwy154. Turn right on Paradise road. Go in 7 miles to UpperOso camp. Follow road till you get to parking lot. Unload your bike. Check your water and equipment. Tell the dude you are riding with to stop whining, its only 22 miles uphill. The view at the top is incredible. You can see everywhere from here. WELL worth the venture. I am there every Weekend. Hope to see y'all there. My name is Don. I am the guy thats always ahead of you. P.S. Stay off the singletrack until spring. We try to take care of our trails. The singletrack is for advanced riders, the fire break is for all but beginners. Enjoy.
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- Trail UpdateImportant: The camp host has a decent map of the Buckhorn Rd. to Santa Cruz Trail. Buy an adventure Pass $5 for parking. Notice: Up Buckhorn Rd. Take a left toward the Happy Hollow Campground at the major sign board then head toward Upper Oso CG. The trail was overgrown, but in excellent condition. Amazing views and fun riding! The Aliso Trails from the Sage Hill CG to Upper Oso are tough riding for a warm-up but fun, challenging riding.
sinjin65 a 31 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Giant Trance X from Victor, ID
- Trail UpdateLittle Pine Mountain-I rode this trail on April 24 with a group of friends. We decided to climb up the Santa Cruz single track to the top of Little Pine. Another group climbed up the Buckhorn fire road and met us at the top of Little Pine ( we waited for about 20 minutes). The climb up was absolutely fantastic. Incredible trail conditions with views of Lake Chachuma and the Channel Islands in the distance. The climb through Chalk Bluffs was very narrow with big exposure. The climb took us about 1 1/2 hours. The descent was a blast going through wildflowers and racing through perfectly groomed corners back down to Upper Oso. I would highly encourage anyone to make this ride.
ranchtube a 43 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Santa Cruz Blur from Orange County
- Trail UpdateSanta Cruz Update-I rode up to Little Pine and down Santa Cruz on Friday, 11/29. Fantastic conditions, mostly cloudy with a little sun, it finally started to rain when I hit the pavement at Lower Oso. The single track from Lower Oso to Upper Oso is a fun way to start the ride. The climb wasn't bad, right at 13 miles from the car to the summit in 1.5 hrs, I was feeling good. I only saw three other people riding the whole time. The Santa Cruz trail was in great shape, someone has done a lot of trail work, the way it should be done. There are small diagonal trenches running ~3/4 of the way across the trail for most of the trail. Probably well over 50 trenches. These already seemed to have worked to keep the water damage to a minimum even after the trail recieved more than 5" of rain a few weeks ago. There was no trail sanitation at all, in fact the trenches made the ride a bit more technical in spots as several of them are right after switchbacks or rocky drops. The work was done only to fight water erosion, definetly not to make the trail easier. If you want a great backcountry ride with awe inspiring scenery, a lung busting climb and one of the best single track decents in California, almost 7 miles long, then give Little Pine a try. While you're at it take a look at how trails should be maintained, my hat's off to whomever did the work.
Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=60%
Fervor a 35 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Klein from Thousand Oaks
- Trail UpdateTrail Open (in Few Days)-The trail will be open next week. The six week closure commenced April 30.
- Trail UpdateTemp Trail Closure...-Just a courtesy note, the Buckhorn road is closed until the middle of June. URL: Official Report
- Trail UpdateLittle Pine...-I have no problem doing a long drive to avoid crowded trails on the weekend. I tell you, I saw only three other riders and maybe five hikers along the entire 16-17 mile route. In Los Angeles, this would be a sure sign of the Apocalypse. Either that or Christmas morning. I like to park at Lower Oso campground cause there's this cool little singletrack that starts directly from the parking lot. Then it's a pavement ride for about 3/4 of a mile to the fireroad (Buckhorn). The first 1/2 mile of this climb is by far the toughest. There's a few really steep grades that require the good ol' granny but fortunately they're over quickly. Before long you'll reach the bottom of the switchbacking Wall. It's an awesome sight and it's by far the highlight of the climb. After 9 miles or so hang a left at the water tank and you'll end up at an abandoned campground and the beginning of one of the best singletracks ever. Its a super steep climb that's do-able because its smooth although it is rutted a bit. After your burning lungs have cooled begin a rough, steep descent with your saddle pounding into your chest and your disc brakes screeching (Well, mine do anyway...damn things. I don't really mind it but the hikers sure do). Here's the point where you turn left. Don't be duped by the sign that says 'Santa Cruz Trail' that points in the opposite direction. It starts off really exposed and one false move will send you plummeting into a bottomless gorge. There's some challenging switchbacks along the way and the scenery and terrain are constantly changing. The only bummer is the four or five washed out sections of trail that ruins your groove. Some of it is knee deep gravel. The final mile of the singletrack is the most technical. A few of the sections took several attempts. There's this one stream crossing where the rocks are placed perfectly enough to mess up every possible line. I somehow bounced and fumbled across after a few tries. Yep. No doubt about it. Santa Barbara has some truly awesome trails.
Andy a 32 year old Die-hard Enthusiast from Hollywood
- Trail UpdateSanta Cruz Trail-
We set out for the 11 mile climb to Santa Cruz
trail about 10 a.m. This was by far the longest
climb I have ever done. It was hot, but a breeze
made it manageable. We turned off at the Upper
Oso 7 sign, then right at an unmarked triangle
intersection. From there we followed the rusted
sign onto Santa Cruz. It started off fun, with lots of
colorful terrain. Then we hugged a cliff and the trail
got loose, skinny, and mushy. The shrubs whipped
at our legs and made it hard to ride. This really
started to suck. I stepped off to push and my foot
sunk in the dirt up to my ankle. A few miles of this
and I was left wondering if this was it or if we took a
wrong turn??? We finally started to go down a fun
shaded s/t, but ended at a river. The only way to
cross was to remove our shoes and wade through
getting our shorts wet. At 16.5 miles we came to
an empty campsite with a ranger shed. There was
a sign! What?? Upper Oso 10 miles!? That
sinking feeling hit, we were lost.
The best thing to do was follow the sign. I’m
sure it just follows the river back. We were out of
water and the only option was river water w/ a fuzzy
green stuff in it. Fill up just in case! The sign
pointed up a fire road with truck tracks. The first
part was loose, steep and could not be ridden. We
had to stop every 30 feet to catch our breath. Every
hopeful turn was more hike-a-bike. We would get
to the top of a 150’ hike and the next one would be
higher with more exposure. When would it end?
There were a lot of bear tracks, which scared me,
but I was feeling mentally strong. 4 miles and
3000’ of pure hell on one pack of Fig Newtons, we
hiked the last hill. The river water saved us. It felt
so good to ride, that a few more miles were ok. At
23 miles we hit the sign to Upper Oso! 11 miles
back down the f/r or 7 miles of s/t? We chose the
shorter route and rode the correct trail. We made it
to the car. Total ride: 30 miles, 9 hours, and 6000
feet of climbing.
Let me make it very clear for you. After the
“Upper Oso 7” sign, descend a rocky section to the
next rusted sign and go LEFT =“Upper Oso 5”. Do
not take the arrow right that says Santa Cruz.
Ladydirt a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a FSR Stumpjumper from Aliso Viejo, CA
- Trail UpdateLittle Pine Mtn-I ignored the wisdom of the sages below and started this ride at 11:00am on Saturday. However, I didn't have much of a choice because I met a friend from the Bay Area for a weekend of SB riding and I couldn't convince him to leave Sunnyvale at 3:00am. Anyway, it was only record-breaking heat on Sat. The 11 mile/3,000 ft climb up to Pine Mtn was nasty. This would be a good workout any day. However, the heat made it seem downright stupid. I reached the top in about 2 hrs by following the course outlined below (when in doubt stay to the left). The trail was a bit dusty due to the deer hunters on quads that were zipping about. I forgot to wear my orange jacket so I'm lucky that I didn't get nailed by one of them. At the top of the mountain, I turned right onto Santa Cruz Trail (after a short descent). This trail makes a split soon after you pass the Oso 7 Mile sign. I followed directions from Upchuck on mtbr.com, which said to go right. The trail gets hairy at this point (steep and rocky) as it drops down to the Oso 5 mile sign (after only .5 mile or so). The next time I ride here I think I'll try the left leg because I assume that it is about 1.5 mile longer. Both trail segments merge again near the Oso 5 mile sign (I assume) because another trail joined mine right before a steep drop down to the sign. From here, it was a sweet, tight, singletrack drop down into the canyon below. You can see the trail snake ahead of you as it hugs the side of the mountain. This trail was sheer fun. There were some loose rockslides across two areas of the trail. I walked these (which was tough enough) but nothing too technical. This is a great ride overall but it would have more enjoyable if the temps were 20 degrees cooler.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 17 miles Elevation change: 3000 ft
Singletrack=30% Dirt Road=70%
SS a 32 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Catamount from OC
- Trail UpdateLittle Pine Mtn-8-6-00
Leave early in the morning if you are riding this loop in August. Our group of two hit the gate at 7:30 AM and it would have been better to start at 6:30.
After a 3/4 mile gradual grade to warm-up you hit a series of switchbacks that really tax your VO2 Max for about 1/2 mile. Just about the time you are ready to stop for a rest, the incline settles back to a more normal SoCal fireroad grade where you can find a climbing rythymn.
The grade is pretty steady for the most part with a few steeper pitches on occaison to remind you that this is not a climb for those out of shape.
The fireroad was in excellent condition and easy to negotiate. Plan on appr 2 hours of climbing time to reach the top of the mountain. This includes the appr. two miles of riding from the turn-off at the watertank to Happy Hollow.
From here some riders prefer to return to Upper Oso campground via the same route. I prefer to transition over to Santa Cruz trail for a single-track descent that is excellent. This trail has some technical sections and rocks but is 98% rideable. The trail has received maintenance and is in good shape. Be aware that equestrians use this trail in the lower areas although we saw no-one the entire day except for 2 other mountain bikers who climbed the fireroad and descended the same way.
Why they would not reward themselves with Santa Cruz trail after a long climb escapes me.
Take plenty of water. Two water bottles is really not enough and I recommend a "camelback" supply as well. It would be a good idea to bring some food to replenish energy after the long climb.
Overall time was 3 1/4 hours with a couple of stops. Probably one of the more challenging "short" loops in SB County.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change: 3300
Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=60%
Bill Masho a 44 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Schwinn 4-Banger from Santa Barbara
- Trail UpdateQuintessential SoCal Death Ride-I have to take the title from the last two accurate posts. It is indeed a great jewel of Santa Barbara trails but long, grinding, and hot! 11 miles of fire road - first 4 to the connector are steep in parts...gives way to more moderate climbing to the intersection with the camuesa peak route where some much needed downhill is found. After this brings you to the "cliffs" which consists of grueling switchbacks with absolutely NO BREEZE. The path turns to the backside of the canyon and continues in moderate grade w/shade to the peak.
The downhill is classic long fast singletrack - 7 miles and 3000 ft in elevation baby!!!!! Hugs a cliff, which leaves your hands a hurting from gripping the bars so white knuckled tight! The grass in the meadows is so high it whaps you in the face. Portions of the ride resemble the SB Brotantical Gardens with an amazing array of desert flora and incredible canyon vistas! Long, fast, and fun fun fun!
What made this a death ride is the heat - don't do this ride in summer unless you are prepared or leave early. Normally a 4 hour ride, it took us 6 because of the longer rests to ward off the heat. We ran into some desperate riders walking up the singletrack, dehydrated and out of water because they took a wrong turn to santa cruz trail and had to hike a bike 5 miles. Definately a winter ride.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change: 3000 feet
Singletrack=35% Dirt Road=65%
Gaping Wound a 34 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Specialized Hardtail from Santa Barbara, CA
- Trail UpdateLittle Pine Death Ride.-
Singletrack=100% Dirt Road=100%
Don a old year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Its not the bike, its the rider from Santa Barbara