- Thursday, June 13, 2024

Southern California Trails

  • Backbone Trail(Will Rogers) - #BackboneTrail(WillRogers)

    Socal - Los Angeles County - Pacific Palisades NickNames: #BackboneTrail(WillRogers)

    The bottom of this trail can be found at Will Rogers State Park. To get to the park take Sunset Blvd. to Will Rogers State Park Road(in Pacific Palisades) and go North. Take this less than a mile into the parking lot and ask for a map at the Ranger kiosk. The top of this trail can be accessed from Trippett Ranch in Topanga by riding South to "The Hub", and then continuing southwest on Conference Center fire road .5 miles. 6 miles of classic singletrack that has it all.

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    • Trail UpdateWill Rogers-Rode this trail a couple weeks ago and was surprised that the train ties were gone. It makes climbing up easier and on the donwnhill, riders can still catch air. My big complaint was the upper third of the trail needs some serious grooming. It is very beautiful right now with spring in full bloom and purple and yellow flowers and greenery but the trail narrowed to maybe six inches of visibility. This makes the downhill a much slower exercise than when the trail is groomed. Other than that, Will Rogers is still the same beautiful ride (sans train ties!).
      David a 42 year old Weekend Warrior riding a santa cruz superlight from los angeles


    • Trail UpdateBackbone Trail From Will Rogers-Today (4-10-12) was a perfect riding day: started off cool, but the sun came out and it got up to the high 60's. One significant item motivates me to write: all the railroad ties that served as waterbars have been removed from the trail coming out of Will Rogers State Historical Park up to the sky bridge. I don't know if the park service is planning to replace them. I asked passing trail runners how long the waterbars have been gone. They said, "about 2 weeks now". As you know, with erosion, some of those waterbars were pretty high. Now, it's a piece of cake getting up the trail without dabbing. This may have removed the challenge of the climb, but I'm just the messenger.
      On this Tuesday morning, I didn't come across one single other MTB'er. I'm not complaining. Please don't bomb past hikers. They have the power to shut the door to MTB'ers here. So be nice to them.
      Kendog a 99 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Intense Tracer from Venice, CA


    • Trail UpdateUp Backbone From Will Rogers-Hello,
      Visiting SoCal with bike and studying this site for rides and it helped so here is a little information. Also will post about viper in Santa Clarita checked that one yesterday. This trail exceeded expectations today. So scenic and beautiful up in these so cal canyons. We have great trails in sf bay area where I am from but this terrain is unique. Loved the toughness of climbing this one with the ruts,rocks and loose sections. It wasn't all uphill either. No doubt coming down is the preferred downhill rout. Watch out the trail comes out close to a stable crawling with rangers and horses so be cool and don't bomb indiscriminatly that gets trails closed and causes conflict. Pick spots. Don't worry about the tall grass it wasn't bad. I came out through the palisade sub division on the road and kinda bunk back to the car and it was almost 3 hours with only one 5-10 minute stop so bring plenty of water,food and spares. They want 12 bucks to park inthe state park which i didn't have so parked below entrance. It was pretty dry but not hot today it could bake up there. This is for gung ho intermediates or advanced riders for sure. Not a soul on it very surreal almost spooky it goes way up there and it would not be hard to get lost . It was my first time but the trail rides like a true backcountry trail . 6.5 miles of pretty pure single track what more can you ask for? A really high quality trail I enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Check it out and happy riding!

      Romo a 47 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized hardtail29 from Berkeley


    • Trail UpdateStart at the Rogers home/ POLO area. Nice riding but once you passed the bridge the singletrack gets closed in with overgrown mustard grass. Can barely see the trail ahead of you. Trail needs some cutting back. In my opinion rideable but branches and weeds can cause a mechanical malfunction.


    • Trail UpdateOvergrown-Rode the backbone in mid July. In the western half of the trail (closer to Will Rogers than Eagle Rock), the veg along the trail in many sections is so overgrown, that you can't even see the trail below you. Completely covered in 5-foot high veg.
      Rangers or volunteers may have trimmed it by now... I don't know.
      Other than that, the trail remains in great shape. Still a nice ride.
      D-Day a 46 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Stump from Los Angeles


    • Trail UpdateBackbone Will Rogers-The 6 miles of single track is fantastic as always. Best local ride by far. Start anywhere in Santa Monica ride up Amalfi to semi paved road to Camp Jacobo Boy Scout Camp. Ride long grind up Sully Ridge. Gate to gate is 25 min or less. Some guys do it under 20. Look down to Sully Canyon and dream of days gone by. Left at top. head to hub. First part of single track is great fun. Then it gets better. A must for local mtb riders. Best Urban single track in the Country!

      I am going to try it going up from Will Rogers Sun.
      fred lacey a 45 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a SC from SM


    • Trail UpdateRogers-We did the first couple of miles on Rogers from Temescal Fire Road. It is in very good shape for most of that stretch but gets very rocky and rutted about two miles out.
      old gringo a 55 year old


    • Trail UpdateCabalerro/Backbone/Trailor Cyn-Rode down the backbone saturday morning. Its in ok condition. I've seen it better. There are a few new small ruts around half way and the rough rocky sections near the top are a little more chewed up than normal. Hit a little bit of rain down near the bottom but the ride over to trailor and up and back to the valley was close to perfect.
      Dirtshark99 a 44 year old Cross-Country Rider


    • Trail UpdatePartial-Looks like they have only done a couple sections they didn't do last year. I don't know if they will finish, but it sure needs it!
      Dr Wellington Yueh


    • Trail UpdateCleared?-Anyone know if the rest of the trail has been cleared? I was up there a month ago, and it was very overgrown in the middle section.


    • Trail UpdateBrush Clearance-They're using La Machine to clear brush. The upper part between Temescal and the east end of the upper ridge is done, as well as the steep, rutted climb after the first rough downhills.
      Dr Wellington Yueh


    • Trail UpdateSully Ridge -> Mully -> Backbone-

      During the last three weekends, this entire loop has been positively delicious. No dust, wonderfully tacky trails, plus some divine riding weather.

      The never-ending Backbone Trail is a tiny bit of heaven, although it is moderately technical in places.

      As always, be courteous to hikers and horsey-people.

      Old Goat, a much-too-many year old Cross-Country Rider from OC


    • Trail UpdateBackBone (Palisades To Will R)-
      Took 2 buddies & 2 Cars for an afternoon Downhill.
      Parked 1 car at Will rodgers stste park and loaded everyone and all 3 bike and went to the very top of Pacific Palisades. Needed a 80% downhill after Nine Inch Nails at the Hollywood Bowl Last Night and also wanted to test Another addition to my Collection which includes a Trek, a Mongoose,an Iron horse Warrior, and now an older M1 with air Shifters and 12" travel OOOHHHH BOYYYYY. I have dubbed this bike's name SISYPHUS after the myth of a man condemed by the gods to push a rock up a hill for eternity. You guessed it she's heavy, Anyway,
      The single track back down to will Rodgers is Awesome. It is Narrow, winding, Fast (Too fast in Some places, Ouchies for Doug and George)tecnical Downhill. Getting to the little Brown Backbone sign (Which is easy to miss from this direction) can be a great warm up or a grueling punishment as there is some price to pay for a 70-80 % downhill. The begining of this trail is where you really do take care of most of that 20%.Although after you really start on the Backbone( After the sign there are 3 or 4 Grunts to go up but there is plenty of cooldown downhill after each one. Rocks ,Sand, blind turns, Cliffs, views ( very scenic) It's all here All this trail needs are a couple of water crossings and an escalator to the top.
      Meet Two guys (1 black marin & 1 blue Trek Sorry forgot your names) and their female friend ( who was Climbing better then me with my rock. They were Great and I hope they read this as I turned Them on to SoCalMTB.com as this has been a great resouce to me and I share it with whom ever I can. It was a great Sunday ride But not for beginners.
      Dusty Joints a 37 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Intense M1 full tilt Oh ya with a Blower from Los angeles


    • Trail UpdateSullivan Rdg To Mully Down BackB-Road this loop this morning. Everything seems to be in fine shape. Backbone was not as overgrown has I had thought it might be. Completely ride-able, both from a vegetation and trail condition standpoint. Two slides / washouts that ever so slightly have changed the trail (Backbone). Plenty of hikers out. No poison oak / ivy spotted.
      El Salt from Da 310


    • Trail UpdateThat last update was kind of vague. Can you be more specific about the location of the slide? There are many roads between Rogers and Trippett.
      Endo Verendo


    • Trail UpdateWashed Out From Trippet-From the road to Trippet Ranch, this trail was washed out ó or at least there was a major landslide that covered the trail and made it very dangerous to traverse because of the instability of the slide. I turned around, but this is normally a sweet ride from here, up or down.
      dbrownee a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a GT STS from sylmar


    • Trail UpdateAlmost Back To Normal-Almost back to normal...

      ...and, by that, I mean...

      1) Monstrous ruts growing on the steep parts above the Overlook
      2) The new-fangled 'water bars' are being silted in (tamed a bit)
      3) A few new chicaines formed by downed sumac
      4) It will need a good brushing in about 1 month

      All in all, very entertaining!
      Lazarus Long


    • Trail UpdateSullivan NOT Sycamore-XTRCHRIS: There are a lot of Sycamore trees, but it's still Sullivan ;-) Just trying to make sure another trail doesn't change names :)
      Chainsaw a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Red, White and Blue or Black one from S&M/Bentwood


    • Trail UpdateTrail Update-Rode El Cab to the hub and from there did Rogers Rd. down to Will Rogers park. The only bad area is a two miles or so section before the Big Oak tree. It has been torn up pretty good by the rains with huge ruts and sections where the trail has fallen away. Be carefull! After the Oak tree, the section that was reworked is in excellent shape with very little damage. Took Sunset to Westridge and dropped down into Sycamore. What a mess! The 97/98 rains don't even come close to the damage done this year. It was a major effort to ride up Sycamore and the area right before the climb out is incredible. I wasn't sure which way was correct and I've been riding this area for many years. It's going to take a long time this area to recover.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 38 Elevation change: 4600
      Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=50%
      Xtrchris a 52 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized Enduro pro from Val Verde


    • Trail UpdateI NEED HELP-I am a 13 year old enthusiast of xc. i live maybe 7 miles from the Backbone. i am considering riding it but i am wondering what it consists of, just to be safe! COULD YOU PLEASE HELP.
      the Temescal Ridge Trail is a fireroad but if you start at Michael Ln you can get a pretty good workout.
      Al Wohl a 13 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a trek 3700 2005 from Pacific Palisades


    • Trail UpdateUpdate: Rogers Road portion of the Back Bone....


      The trail was not worked in targeted sections, but
      rather every foot of the trail from the Bridge to about
      a hundred yards short of the Oak Tree has been
      bulldozed by a SWECO Cat.

      Six (or more) feet wide and four inches deep, in
      some spots.

      Chicken Ridge - as it once was - no longer exits.

      None of the technical characteristics of the old trail

      Please know, CORBA had zero to do with the
      actual trail work, and it is not clear why the park
      supervisor(s) felt this severe degree of
      "maintenance" necessary.

      Pray for rain...

      a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a heartache from Brentwood


    • Trail UpdateUpdate: Rogers Road portion of the Back Bone....


      The trail was not worked in targeted sections, but
      rather every foot of the trail from the Bridge to about
      a hundred yards short of the Oak Tree has been
      bulldozed by a SWECO Cat.

      Six (or more) feet wide and four inches deep, in
      some spots.

      Chicken Ridge - as it once was - no longer exits.

      None of the technical characteristics of the old trail

      Please know, CORBA had zero to do with the
      actual trail work, and it is not clear why the park
      supervisor(s) felt this severe degree of
      "maintenance" necessary.

      Pray for rain...

      a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a heartache from Brentwood


    • Trail UpdateBad news - they are rolling the trail with a Bobcat. Working their way up the trail from the bridge. Very loose, great challenging single track is replaced with two lane highway.


    • Trail UpdateTOO MANY HIKERS-Rode this classic trail today with a friend who was
      visiting from Lake Tahoe area. Beautiful March day
      in L.A. The trail, itself, is in pretty good condition.
      What was bad was the foot traffic! We ran into a
      Sierra Club group of 70 + people on the single
      track! Was tough manuevering around them on the
      trail. If you are planning on riding this trail on the
      weekend, get going early unless it's raining. There
      should be some type of ordinance against large
      groups on narrow trails. Shame on you Sierra Club
      --Stop advertising on the internet. Anyway, my
      friend was truely impressed.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Shrooms a 29 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a GT


    • Trail UpdateRutted Out And Overgrown-I just finished my first ride on Backbone. Took Sullivan Canyon up to Mulholland and the Hub and finally to Backbone. Great, long single track all the way down. The trail is really overgrown right now with grasses and shrubs sticking out into the trail. There might have been some poison oak, but I was going to fast to get a really good look. I should know for sure in a couple of days.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 20 Elevation change: 1500
      Ckaplan a 29 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized Epic from Brentwood, CA


    • Trail UpdateBackbone Techie Finish?-Yo, TEP -- help me out here. Sully to the Bone is
      my daily bread. I need a new finish, nomezain?

      The Rut... oh, The Rut. I've ridded the Bone six
      times since January 1 and [for shame, for shame]
      have yet to clean it. The Rut has sucked me in
      every time.

      Anyone thinkin' it, just go do it. Sully to Mully to the
      Hub to the Bone, capped off with the "no-brakes"
      bomb down the pavement snake to Sunset. You
      won't be sorry.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Bill a 33 year old Cross-Country Rider from Venice


    • Trail UpdateFun, Fun, Fun-Rode Sul Rdg to Backbone and then back to the car. It just recently rained about 3 days ago. And it rained HEAVY!! So I waited a few days before heading on up to the trails/hills.

      Up Sul Rdg. Beautiful weather, views for ever. Big Bear, Baldy tons of snow. Could even see the San Jacinto mtn range as well a crystal clear view of Catalina.

      Made my way over to the Hub, via some side action. The flowers are starting to bloom too. Nobody, but nobody was out. Just me and the trails.

      Heading down Will Rogers the uppper section was very fast! Most of the rutts have been filled in with rocks and dirt from the rain. And the jungle is nice and lush. But below the "lone oak" that all changes. There is a constant and consistent rutt right down the middle of the trail that you constantly have to cross over. The rutt is probably 10" wide and close to the same deep. So make sure you practice those sideways bunnyhops, it sure makes it a lot more fun. Once the rutt ends, the rocks come into play. The "bone" has finally become a mental trail!!

      Had a absolutely GREAT ride. Once down Backbone I cut over to my car with even more technical heaven. More than I care to let on.

      Go out soon and take advantage of the conditions before they change for the worst? (as in easier!)

      later, TEP


    • Trail UpdateRode backbone from Will Rogers park to Mulholland last
      night. Up in the daylight, back with the trusty lights leading
      the way (is this legal??) There are some changes to the very
      beginning of the trail before "the bridge." The changes make
      it a little easier to climb. A new switchback section detours
      the steep waterbar climb and another long switchback does
      the same just before the bridge. It is great! [Note to crazy
      downhillers: this is a highly traveled section of the trail.
      Please resist the urge to bomb down this new section. As
      tempting as it is, it could be dangerous to the hikers. There
      are many kids and older people, so be courteous. The last
      thing we want is for the rangers to ban us from this great trail.]
      At the end, as someone has mentioned before, the trail
      intersects with Mulholland about a quarter of a mile west of
      the previous intersection. It is singletrack and a decent climb
      to Mulholland and a fun rollercoaster back from it. Get out
      there and ride it, the changes are great!
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 8 miles Elevation change: ???
      Singletrack=90049% Dirt Road=10%


    • Trail UpdateWill R Backbone Up/back, Ruts!-I rode this trail for the first time today, I thought I'd try it up and back, starting at the will rogers park area and going up to the top just before the potties. Climbing is tough but do-able. Traction was pretty good going up, no real problems but had to walk a few parts. I thought the return trip downhill would be tons of fun, and 90% of it was ... but a few sections near the top must have had water damage during the last big rain or something, there are these huge ruts right in the middle of the singletrack that are big enough to swallow a good bit of your tire. I was going fairly fast and a rut section suprised me, my front wheel unfortunately got caught in one of these ruts. Bike stopped moving, I went flying, hurt myself a little and had to play doctor for a minute. So I would advise people to definitely slow down and watch out for the big ruts.

      Otherwise I thought the trail was nice, a lot of trail variety and great views. I wish there were a loop instead of an up/back from the Will R. parking lot. This trail is for intermediate + riders who know when to slow down (this isn't me apparently).
      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 12.5 miles Elevation change: 1500 ft?
      Singletrack=90% Dirt Road=10%
      Mr_man a 24 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Superlight from LA


    • Trail UpdateHub To Will Rogers-The rains have changed this section of the Backbone Trail considerably....for the better. Get out and ride it if you have the chance; lots of ruts and sizeable, loose rock to contend with. There are also numerous sections where the banked turns are well defined and packed down hard.

      Keep It Rolling.

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: 6 miles Elevation change:
      OPP riding a Giant Bullit


    • Trail UpdateWill Rogers Backbone-Even though i've ridden these Santa Monica Mountain trails a gazillion times, they never cease to impress, amaze, and delight. How can they not? We can MOUNTAIN BIKE there. Been hitting up these trails lately since the Angeles forest STILL remains closed. Parked at the base of Will Rogers Park, rode down Sunset to Westridge Rd, then climbed the pavement to Bayliss where the classic Sullivan Canyon trail begins/ends depending on your riding direction. Today, I climbed it, the last mile or so being the toughest. Then it was down dirt Mulholland to Topanga Park and the top of Backbone. This is one of those trails that will NEVER seem boring. There has been recent trailwork at the bottom/beginning of the trail though. The steep waterbarred switchbacks have been graded down to a much 'safer' level. While it's easy to bitch and moan about it (being a mountainbiker) it actually makes sense since this first mile sees the most trail traffic. Fortunately i've never had a problem here with the hikers but it's not hard to imagine that there have been many problems. At any rate, I'm glad I had many opportunities in the past to climb this trail and as a result, i'm a better rider now although we all know she's much more fun to descend...

      Ride rating: Intermediate
      Ride distance: miles 18-20 Elevation change:
      Andy a 32 year old


    • Trail UpdateBackbone Backbreaker....-I did this ride last nite just before sunset and it was pretty challenging. I didn't expect that the first climb would be that tough. The first 2 miles of this ride (from Will Rodgers) is a steep, rocky, loose, waterbarred, grunt! The views are great, and the tough climbing is over after the bridge. Then it's 4 miles of killer singletrack, up and down until you reach the fireroad. There are some pretty sketchy sections in there, but also alot of smooth trail in the trees. Don't miss the new section to the left as you near the fireroad. It's really nice! The sun was setting, so I turned around and bombed back to the lot before they locked the gate. Watch out for the death gulleys in the middle of the trail. Say Hi to hikers and fellow bikers. This is a great afterwork ride. next I'm trying Backbone Malibu.
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Ride distance: 10/11miles Elevation change: lots
      Singletrack=90% Dirt Road=10%
      Donut a 28 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Surly Instigator from Hermosa Beach, CA


    • Trail UpdateThe Bone-The State Park people were out in force today
      doing some brush clearance on the
      uberovergrown poison-oak laden corridor above
      the tree.

      God bless them. May we all itch less.

      The rest of the trail has handled the rain well.
      Tacky and oh my god fast.

      Get out there.

      Be the ball.

      El santo


    • Trail UpdateSignage-Why did they put the new trailhead sign 10' above
      the level of the fireroad where no one is looking?
      Endo Verendo


    • Trail UpdateUp The Ol' Backbone....-Climbed Will Rogers/Backbone last night with a group of friends. It's still very overgrown and rutted; maybe a better climb than a descent right now, at least at nighttime when you can avoid the pounding sun. It was my first time on the trail since the new reroute at the top - it's killer! A little silty and dusty right now, but they did a great job with this section. Thank you!!! Couple of flats, one blown rear hub, but all in all, a great time for everyone. I agree with El Santo - lose that friggen poison oak!!!! It's abundant only in one short area above "the tree", but it's nearly impossible to avoid. I did the post-ride Technu shower-dance and now all I can do is wait and see, and then probably itch my ass off.
      Tim Tommasino a 37 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Fuel 90 from Northridge, CA


    • Trail UpdateTop Trailhead Re-route-It is now official. The top washout section has been signed and posted as "closed". This DOES NOT mean that the entire trail is closed, rather that you should now begin the trail on the new re-route which begins a 1/4 mile south of the orginal trailhead on the fire road. This section has no signage yet, but will climb a short distance and then twist through some canopy before re-joining the true backbone. The middle section of the backbone is horribly overgrown.

      Good luck to you.
      Dusty Bottoms


    • Trail UpdateItch, Itch-I have a suggestion for CORBA. Instead of wasting countless trail maintenance hours carving a 1/2 mile long piece of ST to circumvent the existing opening to Will Rogers Backbone, perhaps you could do something that would really benefit all trail users and give MTBRs a positive image.

      Do something about the goddamn poison oak!

      I rode the vegetable tunnel yesterday, and it was ridiculously overgrown. The poison oak is intermingled with all the other brush, and is difficult to spot if you are unsure what to look for. There is no way to navigate that section of trail without touching at least some oak, either.

      Upon descending past the oak tree, I warned a few bikers and hikers going the other direction to watch out. None of them had a clue as to what poison oak looks like. Since 75% of all humans are allergic to the stuff, removing it would be viewed positively by the entire outdoor community.

      I think I am going to start carrying roundup in a water bottle.

      Be the technu.

      El Santo .com


    • Trail UpdateGet 'em While They're Ripe!-Took advantage of working a half day yesterday to hit up my favorite loop. Riding up Mandeville, I stopped to pluck a few oranges off one of the numerous trees, stuffed them in my camelbak, hooked a left on Chalon, right on Westridge, past the gate, and left down Tempting Death (aka. the Westridge Drop).

      The W-drop is as technical as I have ever seen it. The left line along the big rut is still the way to go, but the middle gets hairy- a couple of newly exposed rock sections (grippy), and a few knife-edges that are more pronounced now than they were before. Lots of reorganized dirt and rock. I guess I have to figure it out all over again. At the bottom, hooked a right, climbed the Canyon, right at Sulli ridge, left at Mulholland, and up Farmer's to Widowmaker.

      I sat and devoured the two oranges I had in my bag. Unbelievably good stuff- the perfect balance of sweet and tang. The views were incredible- snowcapped Pinos to the north, unabated views of Catalina, the Gabs, and the Valley. Beautiful. Dropped the seat, clipped in, and started down.

      I have only cleaned Widowmaker once, and that once was not yesterday. The right hand line has been destroyed. I stared at the hill for a good 15 minutes, and I couldn't figure out how to tackle it. The knife-edges here are huge- 4 foot ruts on either side of a 3 inch comfort zone where your tires can actually grip and not get sucked into the rut. The ruts are not rideable. Burly stuff.

      Headed out towards the hub, out towards backbone, rolled the 7 footer to drop in (really nice), and quickly made my way to J-drop. There is a new rut at the top of the trail, 30 feet long, 2 feet deep, which is totally unavoidable and unrideable with disks. The stumps are about the same, but the drops on the waterbars beneath the stumps are now more pronounced, and littered with cookies. Lots of exposed rock, a hell of a lot of fun.

      Climbed out of rustic, up Sullivan ridge to the goat trail, dropped into the Canyon, up Bayliss, down Chalon, and loaded up on 7 more oranges.

      I don't know if I can put my love for these mountains into words. They are alive, as shown by the ever changing trails. Just as my bike handling skill evolves, the trails evolve. What a beautiful relationship.

      Be the ball.

      Ride rating: Expert
      El Santo


    • Trail UpdateJosepho Drop-I was bummed that I missed Mammoth this weekend, so I took a much needed hiatus from work today. I was going to meet up with Airbear, but he is having a technical week- everything from his truck to his bottom bracket. So, I wound up riding solo.

      Started from the palacial Casa del Santo in WLA, and rode the hard black stuff to Gardenland in Mandeville Canyon. Some roadie on a $5000 Seven road bike passed me and gave me a look like, "HA! I passed you, you degenerate mountain biker!", Well, the jokeís on you, Joey. I havenít even started my ride yetÖ and all you get to do is ride pavement home. Have a good spin!

      Up Gardenland, which looks like it has seen some brush clearance lately. Up past the missile site, left on Mulholland, and up Farmers to the mouth of the eeevile Widowmaker beast. Today wasnít one of my better days on Widow. There is a split after the first spot where it flattens out (the only spot where it flattens out), and the options are (a) to take a right down the rutted ST which meets up with the main trail again in about 20 feet, or to (b) go straight, which is rutted, loose carnage. I tried both today, and think that the left line is actually easier than the right line now. I am continually amazed by the dynamic life of this trail. Sections that were once untouchable become managable, and vice versa. Anyways, after tripoding a good portion of the trail (about 1/4 of it, I am embarassed to admit) I was back on Mulholland heading towards the Hub again.

      I dropped into Backbone, which I have gained new appreciation and love for since purchasing a FS rig, and was zipping and speeding along when I felt a hot pain on my chest. It took me about 0.003 seconds to realize that I had a yellowjacket in my shirt, so I proceeded to crush it with an efficient, instinctual movement of my hand. Fabulous. If there is anyone more allergic to insect venom than me, speak up. I had an anakit in my camelbak because about a week and a half ago my (very Jewish) mother started in, "oh I worry so much about this mountain biking. You do know that the death rate of motorcycles is 8x that of car passengers in an accident, right? You are carrying your anakit, arenít you?". I am old enough to know that whenever you get advice from an elder of any sort that happens to be a Jew, you better do it, because no sooner than the advice leaves their lips, you are going to hit that semi, and what will happen if you arenít wearing clean underwear? You get the idea. The anakit was in the bag, but I was not about to stick myself with a needle unless I feel short of breath.

      So, I figured my oddysey to the Josepho Drop to visit my nemesis, the rebar switchback, was going to be a bust. I lowered the seat, took a swill of gatorade, clipped in, and got my groove on. I was definitely in the zone for the first time on the 4 banger- drop offs, ruts, the stumps, the cookies, everything was smooth. For the first time ever, I cleaned this mother of a trail. After passing a smooth line around the rebar switchback, I started to giggle. Great to finally overcome a difficult obstacle. I even made the other side of the creek crossing at the bottom, which I have never even considered doing until today. What a ride.

      Be the switchback.

      El Santo


    • Trail UpdateSULLIVAN CANYON,ETC.-It's not too often I get out this way but went with a buddy who lives in Santa Monica and knows the area well.The last time I did Sullivan Canyon, El Nino(no relation to El Santo) had made it into a nice singletrack. Of course it's a fireroad now though the scenery (especially a few scantily clad females walking their dogs)was nice. Definitely a sweater today as El Santo indicated as you grunt up to Sullivan Ridge. The singletracks along the ridge were pretty nice though nothing special.My buddy knew of a singletrack which he says heads to Camp Josephine (or something named close to that).This started out with a serious rut in the middle for a ways than turned into a nice rolling singletrack. Supposedly it goes down to Rustic Canyon. We hung a hard left at a "Y" which led to a paved road. Riding N/E a short ways and on the right was a singletrack which plunged down into the west side of Sullivan Canyon. Before going down it you can see in the distance a singletrack dropping down into the east side of Sullivan Canyon which looks pretty wild. Again since I don't ride the area much I don't know the names given to these 2 singletracks. As for the one we took down to the west side of Sullivan Canyon, it's short but what a ride! Immediately, you dive into a large rut down the center of the trail with extremely loose conditions and steep descents.Very technical.Throw in some narrow turns and your hanging on for dear life. It eases up all of a sudden (kind of like the eye of a hurricane)before you come to 2 nasty switchbacks going right than left. If you miss the first one you'll drop about 30 feet or so into some trees and bushes. Wild ride, certainly for advanced/experts only.Anyone know the name of this thing?
      Ride rating: Advanced
      The Big Ship


    • Trail UpdateS & M 72 Deathride-I started the weekend by blowing a lot of money I *donít* have on a brand-spanking new Schwinn 4 banger. Today was the day to try it out in grand fashion- I decided to do the majority of the drops featured in the S & M 72 Deathride. Which, unfortunately, meant also doing the accompanying climbs on a 30 lb freeride bike (commence listening to the worldsís smallest symphony, playing just for El Santo).

      Parked at the mouth of Sullivan Cyn on Bayliss, saddled up, and started pogoing, er, riding. Climbed the wall to the Westridge fire road, up the road for about 1/10 a mile, and down the Westridge drop. For anyone who hasnít experienced the gospel of disk brakes, run, do not walk, to your LBS and get a set. In SAT fashion, cantilevers :V bakes as V brakes : disk brakes. I came within one touch of cleaning the Westridge drop, giggling like a little girl the whole way down. Unbelievable. The ruts are in horrible shape as always.

      Made a right, and commenced climbing Sulli Canyon. For anyone who is considering a freeride bike, know that they do not climb like hardtails. I granny ground up the last pitch of Sulli Cyn, losing about 10 quarts of sweat in the process, hooked a right at Sulli Ridge, left on Mulholland, and up Farmerís.

      Once again, disk brakes really help when riding Widomaker. 3 touches, no stopping. This was the first time I hadnít left Widowmaker traumatized. Widowmaker seemed a little less loose than usual, seeming like everything has accumulated in the ruts. There are a couple of rideable lines, which is unusual for this time of year. Surfing the ruts is not a bad way to go if you have the balance. Right on Mulholland, left down Cookies.

      Cookies, disks and huge travel or not, is one hardcore rock garden. Had a great fist half, made all the stair steps (which are getting eroded around the wood, so watch your front wheel)Ö and was promptly bitchslapped all over the place by the rock garden. Very loose, huge piles of loose death cookies that are effectively unavoidable are littered throughout the last 50 yards. Made it down to Caballero with my tail between my legs, made a left, and started climbing, again, in granny gear.

      Eventually I got to the top of Cab, energy low, and still only halfway through the abbreviated version of the S & M 72 Deathride. Since I am a responsible biker, I, ah, hike-a-biked it up Bent Arrow (nice switchbacks and views), and proceeded to bonk like a professional (if there was an organization of professional bonkers, I would be the president).Just super. I was having so much fun I forgot to eat. Dizzy, I downed a power gel shot which tasted like dirt with sugar in it (never get chocolate).

      After more suffering climbing in the heat, I made it to Backbone and bombed it, legs wobbly but amazed at how much of a difference full suspension makes. After getting punished (probably the same degree of jarring as on my hardtail, just going 10 mph faster), I made it to the Josepho drop, and lowered my seat.

      Friday night I had a hell of a run down the Josepho drop on my hardtail, basically owning the trail. Made all the rock gardens, all the stumps, all the drop offs, touched once around the rebar switchback, and cleaned the rest. Such was not the case today. Josepho paid me back for thinking I was in charge. I got jacked at every possible obstacle (and there are a lot on this trail). With barely enough energy to remember my name, I climbed out of Rustic, hooked a left on Sulli Ridge, headed to the goat trail, and dropped quickly into the canyon, back to the car.

      What a ride. Epic maiden voyage of the 4 banger. And this was the short version of the gauntlet. Dusty, we should discuss this proposed course. Someone (read: me) will likely die if we tack on an extra 12 miles and ~2000 more feet of climbing. Unless, perhaps, I eat something during the ride. Total time was about 5 hours. Many miles. Much climbing.

      Be the ball.

      Ride rating: Expert
      Ride distance: 20+ miles Elevation change: ~3500-ish
      El Santo a 27 year old riding a Schwinn Quiver


    • Trail UpdateGreat Tunes Make For A Great Rid-This morning I went for the psuedo triple threat of a trail update I read posted on 11-11-99 regarding Sullivan Cyn.

      I arrived at the trailhead, Sullivan Ridge, at 7am and put on some Garbage to listen to. This was my first time going up Sul. Ridge; as I've always come down the single track trail, which I believe is called Jedi. Got to the top and went over to frontside of Widowmaker. Flipped the tape over and cranked-up The Cult. I usually call this section, The Matterhorn, because it reminds of the ride at Disneyland. The way it hugs the hillside, dips in and out and up and down. Took this trail to dirt Mulholland and over to the top of Rodgers Rode Trail. Stopped, chowed on a couple of Fig Newtons, had some water, lowered my seat, and put a new tape in. For this section, a little Bad Religion is what was needed. Cranked the Bad Religion up and dropped in. I love that top section! Had a great ride all the way down to Rustic Cyn.

      I've only been riding for a year-and-half. And I've only been down Rodgers Rode Trail 6 times, but each time I pass the Rustic Cyn turn-off I'd tell myself next time...next time. Well next time came today. This is a hellicious trail. For a strong intermidiate rider, there is a section about half way through that was just way over my head. A pretty steep, loose rutted section, with burnt tree stumps littering the trail and lawn-bowling size rocks to make it that much more challenging. And then after that the drops become bigger. The size of the drops weren't the problem. The problem for me was they were about 10-12 feet apart. Not enough time for me to slow down, and get control. So I walked about a tenth of a mile total before remounting. Then I finally came to the last right hand switch back. Has anyone cleaned this lately. If so what is the trick? This switch back looses about 8-10 feet within a 25 foot turn. And on top of that there is a rut that runs through the apex of the turn which is close to a foot deep. And as you exit the turn, there are 2 bowling ball sized rocks you need to avoid. Besides the walk, I had a great ride, I will definately be back.

      If you haven't done this trail and are going to, please read the update on 11-11-99 on how to get out of the canyon bottom. I think I got lucky, because you could ride right past the cutoff that takes you up out of the canyon. And I don't know where any of the trails go. Also,the hill to get out of the canyon ain't that that easy either. It's a rather steep, loose hill, that is a challenge. So dig in and enjoy.

      This was a great trail ride, and a great way to start the day. Hope to see you all out there somewhere, someday.

      Sorry it was soooooo long. There is just so much info and it was such a great ride that I wanted to tell y'all about it. See ya, Tep.
      Ride distance: 19.5 miles Elevation change:


    • Trail UpdateBackbone Trail At Cold Cyn....-....has been closed to bikes for many years now. It starts off of Stunt Road and pops out at Piuma Rd, and then continues to Malibu Cyn. Quite a loss, as this is (was) a truly epic trail. I'm betting the large and influencial equestrian community must have gotten their way with this one. You can still hike it, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.
      Tim T. a 36 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Specialized S-Works from Sherman Oaks


    • Trail UpdateBackbone-Has anybody experienced a piece of Backbone I think, (mostly single track and downhill) which eventually ends up on or very near Cold Canyon Road (Saddlepeak Lodge). I recall from yrs past, and I forget the name of the road on the way to the top (overlooking PCH)...anyhow, driving up the canyon (the trail is on the right side) and works its way down to Cold Canyon/Saddlepeak lodge?
      There is also another piece on the right side (small single track) that ends up on this same road, which can be ridden up to the beginning of that single track. I think its a 10 mile ride
      Ride rating: Advanced
      Peeler a 35 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Gary Fischer from Agoura


    • Trail UpdateRode The Bone-Just rode the bone yesterday. Great shape for the most part. Lots of loose rock around the railroad ties at the lower section. Incredible trip back down. WATCH OUT FOR THE EVIL OAK! PASS THE BENEDRYL.
      Counselor a 31 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Marin from Huntington Beach


    • Trail UpdateRogers Road Trail-I recently rode the trail for the first time with a friend after work. We got a late start and didn't hit the trail until 5:30pm. We were both amazed at how solid this ride was, and also deserted, I guess since it was mid-week. After almost reaching the hub we turned around to start our descent. After about our first mile I blew my forks (caps were too loose) and my elastomers, all six, shot out like rockets, all over the trail. After searching and finding most of the pieces it was now dark with about 5 more miles to go. Luckily my friend had his lights attached, so we were able to navigate, slowly, back down to the bottom. The view on that clear night was one of the best I've ever seen in L.A. Totally worth every slow mile & the poison oak I probably got.
      Eric Orozco a 29 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Diamond Back Z-tec from Studio City


    • Trail UpdateRogers Road Trail In & Back-Rode Rogers Road Trail for the first time. I just started riding around a year ago. So I thought I'd try the big daddy of the Santa Monica's. I did it the hard way. I started from Will's house and went up to hub and back down.

      Rode pretty much all of it. The first part is quite steep and very loose. Had to dismount a couple of times at some the railroad ties. I also had to dismount at the right-hand (going up the trail) rocky chute. But besides that, what a fun ride!! Rode all the way up -- what a workout! Pretty cool, that whole jungle area by the "lone oak". Though I was told there is a lot of poison oak in there. Now if I only knew what poison oak looked like. The ride down was blast!! The drop-in's at the beginning and the rocky chute going back down. For me quite the challenge. And there are some beautiful views of the bay and the whole LA basin.

      I'm sure none of this info is new to y'all who ride this frequently. But just remember your excitement the first time you rode it too. Especially up.
      Ride distance: 14.5 Elevation change:
      The yellow trekker a 35 year old Cross-Country Rider from LAX


    • Trail UpdateWill Rogers Backbone(nightstyle)-Did the backbone into the park last night. Tricky little drop-in entry at the top, then i recommend a dismount 10 yards further. Past that, the trail is doing fine. No hikers last night, but that is not usually the case.

      Also, did the widowmaker(steep dropoff between sullivan ridge trail and bent arrow trail) last week and it's the same as it ever was... steep & sloshy.

      Good luck to you.
      Dusty Bottoms a 28 year old riding a GT XCR1000 I-Drive from Santa Monica URL: Dusty Bottoms


    • Trail UpdateMulhollland Widow Maker-Rode the Widow Maker drop off a week ago. Have a friend ride the road trail so he or she can scrape you up if necessary. It's a crazy 30 seconds.
      geoff a 25 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Cannondale Caad 3 hardtail from Santa Monica


    • Trail UpdateDavid-You can easily traverse the washed out section with your bike on your back. Other wise I agree completely with the description of this trail. Watch out on some of the downhill sections it is washed out/rutted fairly badly. Notwithstanding, it is very ridable and the best trail in Eagle rock/Hub area!


    • Trail UpdateBackbone To Will Rogers-rode it on sat of memorial day weekend. el nino did a number on the the drop in from temescal fire road--looks like the trail fell off the side of the mountain. if you can carry your bikes over the rubble, the rest of the trail is in fair condition although a little overgrown in some sections (watch out for decapitating tree branches). this trail has it all: single track, views from downtown to palos verdes, and easy accessibility from west la. 'nuff said.
      Singletrack=80% Dirt Road=20%
      lobster-boy a 27 year old


    • Trail UpdateMulholand/backbone Loop.-jem of santa monica mtns.Backbone(will rodgers trail)is 1of the sweetest singletrax around in the S.M.M.the view it offers @ sunset is amazing if your @ the right spot.(the switchbacks towards the middle way through the loop.theres a walk your bike sign there.)catch it at the right night.ahh belissimo!!!!this guys directions r right.coffussing but correct.the is an alternate route for the more daring(widow maker.)its found when your in the begining of your loop.when your on mulholland,you pass sulivan and continue treverseing ontillthe yellow gate up to your left...enter singletrack...and instead of left on drop-in .proced to the widow maker if you dare or have health ins. ENJOY..
      LEMMY a DHer !!!!(fat bagel.com) a 28 year old Downhiller riding a 98'FSRpro azonic XTR marzocchi Z-1 from sherman oaks CA


    • Trail UpdateThe 12-18-97 posting would be a great ride if it was all legal.Unfortuneatly Rustic Canyon is closed to bikes.This area in and around Will Rogers State Park is a controversial and sensitive area.The Will Rogers Trail was closed to bikes for many years and thanks to CORBA it is now open on a temporary trial basis.You will find a lot of grumpy hikers on this trail so it is suggested that you use a handlebar mounted bell to sound your approach on blind turns,don't go too fast and don't do this one on weekends or holidays.Your actions can close this and other trails so be careful.
      Michael Logan a 48 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Dagger from Manhattan Beach,Ca.


    • Trail UpdateMr Thrash-Start at dirt Mulholland fire/access gate and go west - You'll travel past San Vicente Park (old Nike Missile Base - which goes to Mandeville Canyon on a fire road or single track which is AKA "the Playground" and down to Sullivan Canyon which leads back up to Sullivan Ridge about a holf mile from Mulholland) - From the Missile Base, continue on Mulholland west which starts on a minor descent before ascending as you get closer to the DWP High Power Lines. As you come closer to the top of the ascent you'll see Sullivan Ridge fire road (Ithink it's Fire Road 26) - Continue past this road (this is for the return trip) for about 1/2 mile where you'll see Mulholland veer right and a single track trail going up the hill to your left - Gizmo Peak- Climb this slight hill and follow the ridge trail staying to your left while enjoying the up's and down's until you see a good size berm turning left and dropping down the side of the hill. After the first slight? drop get ready for a quick left turn which traverses back along the side of the hill before starting on a slight? descending single track which hugs the side of the mountain to a fire road which splits this trail. Pick up the other side of this single track on the right side of this brief relief and continue down where you will connect with dirt Mulholland again a few hundred yards from the top of Cabellero Canyon Trail (from Reseda Blvd). Continue on dirt Mulholland which ascends to the top of Reseda Blvd and continue to Fire Road 30 (on the left just past the bend at the top of Reseda. Follow Fire Road 30 ( in Topanga State Park now) down then up continuing to the "Hub" (where many trails converge). From the Hub, travel south (toward the Ocean) about a half a mile or so until you see the Will Rogers "Backbone Trail" which takes you left (facing east) follow this excellent single track trail which mostly descends with an occasional climb here an there to get you into postion for another downhill section. Continue down until you see a split in the trail just befor you start climbing the last hill befor Will Rogers Park (in Pacific Palisades) if you get to the bridge you past it. Follow this steep & technical single track switchback trail down & down & down - some spots might require some hiking down depending on trail conditions, recent rains, etc..., until you get to the bootom of Rustic Canyon then follow the trail up the side of the hill to the asphalt paved access road to Camp Josepho (look for telephone lines as they run up the side of this road). Go north or up this road for climb back up Sullivan Ridge Road (FR26) to dirt Mulholland. From here, turn right trying to remember your name and where you parked your car and follow Mulholland back to the start point.
      Singletrack=60% Dirt Road=38% Paved Path=2%
      Thrasher Dre a 38 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a GT Zaskar from Encino


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