- Friday, January 27, 2023
Southern California Trails
Thomas Montain Loop - #ThomasMontainLoop
Socal - Riverside County - Pine Meadow NickNames: #ThomasMontainLoop thomas mountain loop
This trailhead is located on Highway 74 south of Mountain Center, about 3 miles past Lake Hemet, turn right on Thomas Mountain Road. Park on the right hand side off the paved road. Begin your ride here.
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- Trail UpdateMini Epic Ride-This ride is your reward for enduring up the tedious 8-mile (2.5hr) Thomas Mountain Fire Road climb. Total singletrack distance is about 6.4 miles.
From the top of Thomas Mountain and all the Pine trees - make the descent down swoopy and twisty singletrack which gracefully snakes down the mountain. The first third of the descent is mostly moist, loamy forest singletrack, the second third is tricky, tight and loose switchbacks with multiple boulder crossings and the final third is rock garden madness complete with rutted, off-camber sections....FAST AND FUN!!!!
The BEST part of this trail is that you just NEVER KNOW what lies around the next corner, due to tall, brushy overgrowth, tight, banked berms and occasional fallen trees. This ride will have all your senses and reflexes literally maxed on overload as you swiftly navigate all the various terrain. Just make sure you bring enough water and extra inner tubes...even if running tubeless on this fast and buff singletrack.
Even though I made the Thomas Mountain climb without incident, my 46-year old body gets beat up on such slow ascents(and I climb like a goat!). Shuttle two vehicles and this ride makes everything WORTH IT from wherever you came from.
If you decide to ride the Thomas Mountain climb - all I can say is be prepared with plenty of provisions - including energy bars. The climb and Ramona Trail singletrack combined literally makes this ride a mini-epic ride which can last up to five hours...depending on temperature.
Shuttle up Thomas Mountain Fire Service Road while another vehicle waits at the bottom of Ramona Trail=1.5 hours of 100% quality ride time!
Zachariah a 46 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a 21-pound Cannondale race hardtail! from Palm Desert, CA
- Trail UpdateThomas Mountian's Worth A Try!-Rode this Trail one weekend in Nov. 2006. The fire road leading up to the top was in good condition, took it easy climbing up as I knew how long we had ahead of us. The climb really isn't bad at all. It is hardly steep so you just get into a comfortable gear and start on up.
When we reached the first signs of forest, theres some picnic tables and a restroom to the right of the road where we took a breather, and decided which direction we would go. Unfortunately I did not take into account that with the elevation comes the numbingly freezing temps and since I am particularly fond of my fingers & toes, I had to head to a trail that was on the right of the restrooms which hoked up to the Ramona trail and took that down. It was an awesome singletrack! Not particularly in too good of condition, sort of rocky and soft, but an awesome trail nonetheless. The only thing I would change about this trail is the # of swichbacks, I would have liked more straightaways to pick up speed. It was reminiscent of Noble Canyon. I would reccomend this trail to anyone who is up for a bit of climbing that is well rewarded.
pinkflux a 27 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Turner Flux from Temecula, CA
- Trail UpdateThomas Mountain Ridgeline Route-Yes there is another route that some of you may not know and is well worth it. When approaching the summit of Thomas, the road bends west to the old tower foundations, turn left instead at this forked clearing and use your tech-skills on this 1.75 mile long, snake winding, 4x4 jeep trail route heading southeast along the ridgeline till it bends back north, down to connect up at the Toolbox Springs cutoff with Thomas Mountain Road.
Jon Braginton a 37 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Gary Fisher Joshua F4 from Riverside, California
- Trail UpdateRamona Trail-dudes it has finally happened! the bushes are cut back and there are 2 lines. very cool trail in wetter times! check it out!
trent a 30 year old Racer riding a haro-xcs, db-moto,identiti-666jumper from hemet
- Trail UpdateBeat Down Thomas Mnt.-rode up on 8-8-04 3 of us. this trail is alot better in the rain months, but it is almost always sandy and rocky! all it really needs is the bushes trimmed back so you could really haul ass! maybe strawberry bikes will get up off their asses and do some maintance this winter! cows seem to be at the top during summer which makes the best part almost unenjoyable! URL: http://firstname.lastname@example.org
- Trail UpdateAlright here's the scoop. Thomas Mtn is located in Garner Valley and is a loop ride that starts with a 7.5 mile fireroad climb complete with little black flies buzzing your head. The first section of FR climb (east side) is very exposed, hot and the steepest part so take it easy and conserve energy. At the top of the mtn go down and head right on this main FR until you come to the first big left hand turn (look right for the trail marker next to some large oak trees)
FUN Starts NOW: This trail drops down the north face of the mtn heading east.
This singletrack starts off going through the mixed pine forest, then as you drop you enter the oak forest zone, then further down into the scrub-brush zone. The top 3 miles are fast smooth and flowing yet a bit sandy.
As you get lower and connect to the Ramona trail it will become more rocky and technical (read FUN)for 2.5 miles.
A note for Martin who wrote below - please stay off this trail if you consider it too rocky and technical, as I'd hate to see you out there whining and pushing your broken bike. Many who read this report have the skills to ride it and will love it!
There are a many tricky rock switchbacks and many rock gardens where if you carry enough speed you can clean. If you've done Noble Canyon and like it - you'd love this loop.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 20 ish miles Elevation change: 2000
Singletrack=65% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=5%
Howeler a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Enduro FSR thingy from San Diego URL: Topo and info click here
- Trail UpdateThomas Mountain-Ramona Trail-Hi, just got back and still very dissapointed (03-21-2004). We went up Thomas mountain pedaling on the dirt road. Simply the nicest part of the whole ride. About 8miles of smooth uphill, dirt road is at a very good condition, you can take your Civic to take you to the top.
Now, that is where we should have turned around and descend back to the car the same way we climbed up. It would make a great experience to slide through the corners at high speeds. Instead, we went down the Ramona trail, back to Hwy 74. What a nasty 3 miles of sand, loose rock, more loose rock, rocky cascades, loose rock filled hairpins and switchbacks. We negotiated the trail in sub 5mph speeds, falling a lot, swearing a lot, bleeding a lot. There is not a 50 yard strech of trail that would not call for dismantling the bike or at least unclipping the shoes. I remember 5 years ago, I could actually ride the trail. Not anymore. Damage to the bike is almost inevitable, rocks are sticking out everywhere, scraping the bike like a grinder. Absolutely not worth even trying. If we ever come back, we will skip the Ramona trail for sure.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 18miles Elevation change: ?
Martin a 30 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a 03' NRS 3 from San Marcos
- Trail UpdateA group of us camped at Tool Box Springs Campground over the long 4th of July weekend and rode Ramona trail down then up two days in a row. We found the trailhead on the West side of the mountain by Lake Hemet off the dirt road and took it down to Hwy 74 then back up the dirt road on the East side back up to the campground. The trail conditions are very good on the middle and lower parts of the actual "trail"; i.e., the part of the trail signed "Ramona trail" descending from Tool Box Spring to Hwy 74. The rolly upper part of the singletrack on the top of the West and middle sides of the mountain signed legal but unnamed is looser and more cow trampled. If more riders would ride this fun and very scenic section of the trail it would pack down better. It is different to do the trail backwards (climb at end). Ever eat dessert before the appetizer? Up then down is definitely better. Back to the trail: Much excitement and focus, especially on the middle and lower sections. The outer line on the numerous technical left hand tight switchback turns seem to be best now, but hey I fall down a lot. The climb is good for you, really. The June bugs at dusk are weird. Bring water and rum.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 18 miles Elevation change: 2000?
Singletrack=65% Dirt Road=30% Paved Path=5%
Mike Kim a Cross-Country Rider riding a bike that needs a new front derailleur from Carlsbad
- Trail UpdateI Like It...-I thought this trail rocked.We rode up the fireroad for what seemed forever(we were tired from the days before ride),it's not a real hard ride up though.There were 6 or 7 of us.Team Total MTB club.As this was our first time on this trail we were still just feeling our way though.We did a 9+ mile climb and the came out of some twisting and turning stuff.This trail doesn't seem to get much traffic.It was really fun.We were riding very hard on the downhill sections.Reading other posts I find it hard to believe I was on the same trail as this one, was nothing but fun.There is a couple of places that you could end up making a wrong turn and I don't know where that would take you,but the one we were on was a good one.The singletrack down was pretty technical and we were riding at speed,as we had not seen another set of tracks or anybody else except on the fireroad all day.It was the hottest part of the day too.There is a lot of lose rock and the switchbacks are pretty narrow which will either take you off your bike or increase your riding abilities a lot.I think we all dabbed this trail here and there but no serious blood.Some people have been cutting the switchbacks which really isn't necessary as they are do able.This is the first trail that I had to slow down on as I was beat.I had a blast though and would definitely do it again.There is also a lot of other stuff in the near vicinity that is very,very, good.The Hurkey Creek race course for the 24 hour race and another one that is called Ernie something,it's over bythe Devils slide.Awesome.
Pain Freak a Cross-Country Rider riding a TURNER 02 from Fontana
- Trail UpdateRomona Trail-Come on guys, cool down the rhetoric. Remember what it says when you post here:
"Trailmaster note: this part of this site is for trail conditions, updates, and notes about this trail not a place for you to rag on other riders. We will remove or alter any posting that we find to pointless and rude. If you're looking for a ongoing debate please use our message boards."
Both of your posts should be deleted, or at least edited. Sure this trail ain't Sedona, but it is single-track, it is outdoors, and it's legal. If you're disappointed in the ride, learn to take everything with a grain of salt, and that not everyone has the same perception of a ride. Sheesh.
If you want to see what this trail looks like right now (9/00), follow the link below. I was up there last week and took some photos of what seems to be bad erosion. I have more, if people are interested. Post here, or on the Ramona Trail description. (And I don't see what the difference is between Thomas Mountain Loop and Ramona (really, it's Romona on the trail sign). Aren't these both the same trail?
Grinder a 40 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a '92 Specialized Stump FS from LA URL: Thomas Mtn/Romona Trail Pix
- Trail UpdateThis Trail Already Posted-this trail is already posted in the trailhead as the ramona trail with other options and other singletrack added in for additional loops. however i rode this area yesterday and in my not so humble opinion IT SUCKS! the 4 miles of singletrack listed under this heading is shitty as hell. what a waste of time to drive there if you are from another town, oh lets say, more than 15 min away. i drove out there from carlsbad thinking i was gonna find some epic singletrack but all i found was a slow sandy, rocky, with tight switchbacks way to short trail. riding up the trail was way more fun and challenging and almost as fast as going down it. so after that big disappointment i went and checked out cedar springs jo pound trail and that sucked too. i then went down to santa rosa mtn/ springs to check out a trail Knobbyhed described as being epic but by the time i got there the heat was just way to awesome for my blood. i may check that out at a later date, it looks promissing?
in conclusion i think the ramona trail sucks for descending but for climbing you can improve your tech skills but then again its way to short. for the same amont of driving time i could have went to noble canyon, or santa ana river trail, or the san gabriels, or even san juan.
Mtnbkbug a 36 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Cannondale from Carlsbad
- Trail UpdateThomas Mountain Loop-Ride up paved road about 100 yards to T and make a left. Follow until the road turns to dirt. Keep riding uphill (staying to the left when in question) and enjoy the views. At about 5.5 miles you reach Toolbox Springs Campground (a good place to fill up with water) among the pines. Turn right and follow about 100 yards to Ramona Trail. You now have about 4 miles of challenging singletrack downhill. Lots of rocks and switchbacks, but well worth the climb. Very beautiful scenery and a great downhill singletrack make this a good ride. When you hit highway 74 again, turn right and ride the paved highway about 3.5 miles back to your car. There are some other nice rides in this area as well.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 14 miles Elevation change: 1700 gain
Singletrack=40% Dirt Road=40% Paved Path=10%
Kyle Wilson a 37 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Montagna 21 speed from Corona, Ca