- Friday, March 05, 2021
Southern California Trails
Tunnel Trail - #TunnelTrail
Socal - Santa Barbara County - Santa Barbara NickNames: #TunnelTrail
Take hwy 101 and get off at Mission Sreet and head northeast (towards mountains). Turn right on Foothill Road and then a left on Tunnel Road. Follow Tunnel up to the trailhead gate.
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- Last update
- Trail UpdateFun-I've been planning to do this ride for sometime now,but wanted to do it with somebody who had done it before, as I've stated numerous times before how bad I am with trail directions.Finally we planned a ride.Pac-Man aka Chris, Silent Bob aka Nick,STJunkie aka Scott, and last myself, all headed out Friday night.The ride out went as planned with no suprises (is this a first?) we checked into our rooms and got a bite to eat and watched the Laker game.
Next morning we got a pretty good start and were on the trail somewhere around 9am.A little cool but not bad at all.
And away we go.I have to say I was a little intiminated almost from the start because of some of the pix and Jeffs description of that turn with the never ending drop.The 3 guys I was with all had bikes with 7" of travel and I'm on my XC rig, but remember some of the more talented riders had done it on SS hardtail rigs.Not that I'm of that caliber,but what I can't make, I can walk.Almost immediately you are dumped into the technical rocky stuff.No warm up, just techy stuff right from the git-go.There were established lines in most areas that you could make out and this helped a lot.Some of the stuff with drops of more then 2 feet with no run out I decided to get off the bike (I know, Pussy),but I made it all the way with no blood.That in itself is a major accomplishment for me.This is the most technical trail I've rode in SoCal and I love it.So much more to learn on this trail.If this doesn't improve your skill level,nothing will.We had numerous photo ops and retried some lines a few times.Silent Bob was detiremened to get blood,but was unable.He took the one part of the trail that has a few drops and is one of the most technical parts of the trail and tried to get a good huck off the bottom waterbreak, but was only able to get a smaller one and then end up in the bushes a couple of times.I love this trail.The plan was to do Tunnel twice and Cold Springs once.We ended up doing Jesusita after our first run down.The other guys were all on heavy bikes and I don't think they appreciated the climb out.Scott amazed us with what he was able to climb.Not only on a big bike,but over the technical sections climbing out.Very impressive.IMO this is well worth the climb.The trail still remains technical,but a lot more do-able.I really welcomed this area having such little travel and cleaned this whole last section with the exception of the stream crossings.We took way to much time on our way down the first run and I elected to do the shuttling for the Cold Springs run, so I missed that part for now,but I'm definitely going back, so I'll get it next time.Also I had two flats (both tires) by that time.I stopped for gas and then went right away to find the trail head for I could find the guys and when I found it they were already there.They'd been waiting 15 minutes already.I didn't know the distance of Cold Springs and have really bad vision at dusk,so I thought it would end about then, so instead of having the guys wait or worse having to walk out I was the shuttler.Watching these guys flow down the upper section makes me want to try a big bike again, but 5 bikes in the quiver and the wife telling me you can only ride one at a time, is making it a little difficult to go out and get another.(Santa are you out there?)One of the top rides of the year for me, and I can't wait to do it again.Very few hikers and the ones we did meet were very friendly.A few said thanks for the bells and no other bikers coming down?Great ride!
Pain Freak a I dont want to talk about it year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Renrut 02/Surly 1X1 (Mighty Whitey) from Fontana
- Trail UpdateTrouble On Tunnel?-Just wondering if it was the forest service that dug the trenches on tunnel? The upper whoop section has several sections dug out of it and the lower trail has ditches(loose with all the dirt piled up on the trail) dug a good 3/4 across the trail. Anyone else notice these? Pissed me off a bit when I was riding last weekend.
Ryan Hill(local dude)
P.S. If you don't already have bear bells please get them asap and try and carry extras if you ride tunnel or any of the frontsiders often.
- Trail UpdateXTRA Caution On Sat. 11/30-This Saturday (tomorrow) the 9 Trail Run will be happening on our front country trails. If you are out on the trails anytime on Saturday, please take extra extra caution by scanning the trail ahead of you, wearing a bell, and stopping for runners/other trail users well in advance.
- Trail UpdateSanta Barbara Trail Information:
The Santa Barbara front country trails (Tunnel, ColdSprings, etc.) are in danger of being closed to mountain bikes. Recent events, which include irresponsible trail use by mountain bikers and the sabotage or booby trapping of trails by a group of anti-bicyclists are the grounds for these closures. Both of these events have gained the attention of the Forest Service and the media.
If you ride here in Santa Barbara, there are some responsible use guidelines that we need you to follow. Your actions are judged by the other trail users and your actions will either help keep the trails open or help shut down your privilege to ride them.
Trail Use Guidelines:
- The Santa Barbara trails are Public Multi-use recreational trails. Be aware that there are other users on the trail. The SB trails are NOT race courses, do not treat them or ride them like race courses.
- Always yield to other trail users. This means that you must come to a complete stop when encountering another trail user. Ask the other trail user to pass by or allow you to pass when it is safe for them.
- Always use a bike bell. The purpose of a bike bell is to alert other trail users to your presence and take the surprise factor out of your encounter with them. The bell does not give you "right of way" or the license to race. Bells are available in the bell box at the top of Tunnel trail, at local SB bike shops, and at your local hardware or feed store.
- Stay on designated trails. Do not shortcut switchbacks. Someone in the hiking community has been damaging our Los Padre Forest resources by cutting and opening illegal trails. Do your best to stay off these trails. The trails at the end of the powerline road off of ColdSprings and the trail off of the lower right hand switchback of ColdSprings are examples of illegal trails.
- Allow trails to dry for a few days after rain. Riding wet or muddy trails may enhance and exaggerate the erosion caused by water.
- Strengthen the trails that you ride and use, volunteer for trail maintenance events. Find upcoming maintenance events on the www.sbmtv.org website.
* This may sound like a lot, but it only takes a little effort…
!The trails are being sabotaged!
For the last number of months, someone has been rolling large boulders onto the trails. Now in addition, 2' to 3' high rock walls are being built across the trail. Both the boulders and the walls seem to be placed on the trail with intent to injure mountain bike riders. We are worried that these booby traps may escalate to wire or more dangerous traps. Be careful going into blind corners as one of these booby traps may be set there for you. Be sure to scan the trail bed ahead for these traps. A small number of riders have already been injured.
The Forest Service has called together a "Front Country Working Group" to address these issues. SBMTV is cooperating with the other user groups in this process to develop solutions for increased user safety and the reduction of user conflicts on the Santa Barbara trails.
VP Trails, SBMTV
*Your posts to these trail review sites are being reviewed by the anti-bicyclist crowd. How do I know? Because they are using direct quotes from these reviews as ammunition in the push to ban bikes on SB trails…
Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers from Santa Barbara, CA
- Trail UpdateTunnel, Etc.-Again, riding SB only on weekdays is HIGHLY recommended to avoid user conflicts. I rode Cold Springs and Tunnel two weeks ago and saw NO ONE until reaching the very bottom.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't be a goodwill ambassador whenever you're up there and come across a hiker, but if there are no hikers then it's pretty much a nonissue. Conversely, if you're a hiker up there and see only a handful of informed local mtn. bikers on the weekend, then life is pretty good.
To the guy below: 1hr. 25min up Gibraltar on a 33lb. bike + a few pounds of armor. Radical enough for you?
Ride distance: Elevation change:
Stoopid from not LA
- Trail UpdateLA stay home, ride your own trails. No more shuttles. The radical few are going to ruin it for those of us who value SB. The shuttles need to stop too, if you want to ride a trail, earn the ride, by riding to the top of the mountain. Respect.
- Trail UpdateHikers Building Walls-As many of you may know, the hikers want us out. I rode cold springs today (11/3) and on the way up a guy from sb mtb volunteers said he encoutered 6 2-foot rock walls blocking the trail on tunnel and last week he said there were reports of some elsewhere. There were none on Cold Springs, but beware of the dirty hiker...he said people have been slamming into them at full speed.
Cali a 19 year old Weekend Warrior riding a 97 Diamond Back V-link 2.0 (p.o.s. these days) from SB, CA
- Trail UpdateWhy I Mountain Bike-It doesn't get much more fun than this.
The paved climb up Gilbraltar is boring but never
very steep. When we reached the top, we were in
the fog and the temperature was in the low fifties,
so we kept moving.
Tunnel is technical, but never depressingly so.
Each section was eminently cleanable, but almost
the entire four miles required mental alertness and
solid bike handling.
I was also surprised to find that there is minimal
exposure. I always ride poorly on Sam Merrill or
Strawberry when the penalty for falling is death,
and expected the same here. But if you have some
pads for the rocks, you'll probably survive.
Already thinking about when I can go back.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 4 miles Elevation change:
LCS a 34 year old Weekend Warrior from LA
- Trail UpdateTrail Info And Stories Only-If you have had a recent update deleted, do not take it personally. We simply do not have room on the trail boards for personal messages, flaming, or even civil arguements. That's what the message boards and email are for. Thanks for understanding.
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail NOT Closed-I just talked to Jim Lopez (Santa Barbara Ranger District Headquarters, 805-967-3481) and he says Tunnel is open. The only front-range closure so far is Rattlesnake. The ranch owners at the top of Tunnel are getting tired of cyclists on their land, however, so if you see "no trespassing" signs TURN AROUND because their land really IS private and provides no connection to Tunnel Trail. The correct access to Tunnel is open and does not cross any private land. As for ticketing your car, how would anyone know if you're parked on Mission, or San Roque, or Gibralter, or...???
As a side note, the Arroyo Burro road closure for motorized vehicles has been renewed, so if you want a nice quiet climb from Paradise Road up to East Camino Cielo, this would be a good choice.
- Trail UpdateSome Evidence-Post some evidence - I was just there last week riding no problem.
- Trail UpdateClosed-This trail is now closed to bikers. The Fed. Forest Service will ticket you and/or your vehicle if you ride this trail.
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail-This trail is at risk for closure due to complaints from other trail users. Luckily on 4-18-02 the city of SB decided to keep it open for bikers, but this is always up for debate. If you ride this trail, and trust me you should, please:
1) Wear a cowbell
2) ride the lower paved road at a controlled speed.
That is what we need to do to keep this badass trail open, so PLEASE HELP OUT!
JeffKona a 28 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Kona from Santa Barbara
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail-Rode this for my first time with a few friends yesterday......crazy, just crazy. After reading some of these posts (Dusty, Inkpad, Santo) I felt I had a good plan for riding this famous trail - seat down, lean back, and let the front wheel roll. At the risk of simplifying a very difficult trail, that's it, their collective advice worked. No wrecks and rode every section....only a dab here and there. Those who are going to ride this for your first time - take the time to check out lines if you don't see them right away. I didn't see every section clearly, but after stopping to survey the line, I ended up riding it all and making it so worth the trip. Very very rocky and tricky, and very very rocky and tricky. Faint of heart need not apply.
Best trail I've ever ridden. Trail condition was impeccable.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 4 miles Elevation change: lose 3000
Matt90272 a 29 year old Racer riding a Cannondale Jekyll from Pacific Palisades
- Trail Update11 Riders, 11 Bikes, 8 Veicles!-Dude
We do amazing shuttles. Get the wholE gang up from OC to do the famous tunNel and coldspings rides. first everyone meets mission. old Place but pretty cool i know. Everyone there - iboy, dft, danno, unfriedly giant, and others.
We leave 2 cars at base coldspings then we drive 3 cars to top of tunnel. tunnel great trail. iboy and andy move down 45 minutes no stop. rest of us clean everything 5 times each to make sure we good now. Danno try to jump big rock where DHers make bypass trail. He land sideways and hard on hip. Not good I tell you. Criag have it all on tape. Danno still has blue biceps from whiting fall couple days earlier. I not want to be this guy right now. At bottom we go to mission (that old place where we leave cars).
After mission we drive to coldsping top. It funny we get 7 bikes in iboy takoma truck. I lafe so hard this sight so funny. Coldsping better trail. Can ride faster and not so many babbie heads. Not as technical but more fun I say. Danno and Andy both go down hard on trial for no reason just bad luck. Danno this time bust wrist/hand and walk down poor guy. Andy lays out face down gets rocks in arm - go to hospital to remove and stitch ouch. Andy guy good rider - this first time I ride with him.
At the end jeef and iboy do stairs - jeef clean bumpy ride on his bullit then iboy endos second step fall like out of building real far. land on head or something I don't know he is ok.
clasiic rIde that every should do. Next time maybe i do little pine. I bet I crank on that one.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 4 miles two time Elevation change: 3500 feet two time
Chirs a 33 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Superlight from French
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail-Rode this trail for the first time yesterday, 8/26 with a few other DHers for some rocky DH fun. This trail is by far the most technical trail i have ridden, i think there is about 100' max. of actual dirt, the rest is pure rock drops, rock gardens, rock/wood stair case drops, tight dropping switchbacks. This trail demands your best attention, you either have to go it slow & pick your way through or bomb it without hitting your front brakes (instant stop to OTB's)I picked the latter (9" of travel in back & 7" in front help a little) I think i used my front brake twice the whole time, the rest of the time was just flying over the tops of boulders & through tight rock sections. this trail is the ultimate if you want to sharpen your DH skills. Final outcome:No crashes, only a couple of dabs, front flat 1/4 mile from the bottom & a BIG S__T eatin grin!
Ride rating: Expert
Inkpad a 37 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a rocky mountain RM9 from Aliso viejo, ca.
- Trail UpdateThe Real Deal-Rode Tunnel with a group from LA about six weeks ago - this is it! - used to think Noble Cyn in SD was tough, after Tunnel, Noble is going to seem like riding my local sidewalk! Worth the trip to SB, but armor is a must. Very much an expert/advanced trail. OTB's 3 times, and I walked a few sections (get em next time though). If you are prone, watch the poison oak - I got plenty. Did the climb up, but would like to try the shuttle - think I'd have a little something left in the legs for the kick*$$ descent! Have fun, be safe, expect blood.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 3.4 miles Elevation change: 3,500
mac a 34 year old Weekend Warrior riding a FSR M4 from LA
- Trail UpdateGUTS ARE A MUST!!!!!!!!-What's up everyone, i did the tunnel trail on friday 20 th. and i must say that i don't think it will get more technical than this, you got to have guts to do this trail, some people call it rock garden, me, i like to call it rock heaven, if you see dirt it means that you are in the wrong place. My girlfriend tells me that i'm paying more attention to my bike than her, but once you do Tunnel, you will know why. I don't think there is another trail like this to ride, don't forget the camera, views are great, there are a couple of spots to stop for a snack and enjoy the view.
You can connect with Jesusita trail at inspiration point, it's a very nice and technical ST, but if you don't like to climb don't do it like we did, just the tunnel trail will get your adrenaline rushing for a while, as far i know, i'm going there again, sometime very soon.
keep riding and keep it real.
ps: don't forget to pray before you enter, even if you are not religious, just do it.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 4 Elevation change: lots
G-dude a 29 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a specialized enduro from the valley man
- Trail UpdateOh Yeah!!!-I actually heard about this trail from this site and just did it, coming up from LA it's definately worth the drive.
I have been to many of the best trails on the planet and this is definately one of them, had me balls wanting to crawl up me arse to hide to keep from getting cracked, scarcely a dull moment.
Oddly enough I didn't wipe once down Tunnel yet did a fly over on jesusita.
The directions could use a few more details but luckily there are way too many people around to ask to fill in the blanks. And by the way nobody has yet to mention all the beautiful girls hiking around, awesome scenery.
Must add that I was impressed by the locals I met, good people and knarly ass riders.
Ride rating: Expert
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail-Well, with all this talk I just had to go check out the ol' Tunnel Trail. In a nutshell, I'm glad I did it - ONCE. The 11 mile climb isn’t as bad as it sounds, but in summer you might want to get started early so you don’t get overly baked on the way up. Then comes the infamous downhill. It's tough, damn tough. It didn't help that I had to witness another guy do a very nasty over-the-bars ragdoll when he tried to clean the first major rock drop-in. Somehow he only sustained moderate trail-rash, but it slowed him WAY down - and me too. The top third of the trail is super-technical, super-rocky, and beautiful I might add. Full-suspension is highly recommended. Even with FS, I walked quite a few sections - my hat's off to all those that can clean this baby. I must admit that the pucker-factor of this trail is a bit high for me to fully appreciate it. Yeah, I like technical, but this is TECHNICAL. I can see why Tunnel is a favorite among the shuttle-bomber crowd, and I'm sure it would be great on my YZ400. Maybe next time! The trail gradually becomes less gnarly the more you descend, and I was happy to finally get a little rhythm going about halfway down. You have to check this out just for the experience, but to be honest, for my money there are better, more enjoyable trails to be had.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 4 miles of DH Elevation change: +/- 3500
Tim Tommasino a 37 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Fuel 90 from Northridge, CA
- Trail UpdateTUNNEL OF LOVE ( OR LUST)!!!!!!!-SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It just doesn't get any better than this! Im in search
of the holy trail , and i think i've found it. A BIG
KUDOS to Dusty Bottoms for posting this and other trails on this sight for us searching fools! And we must be fools if we like riding down this. It's sunday 3-26-01 8:30am at the base of TUNNEL. My first time here. I start to climb the fire road thinking this was the road they were talking about, and a long time later i find it just dead ends. what??
So i talked to some hikers ( and all of them that i came in contact with were all very nice people ) and they told me that the right road was further over. So after that botched try to the top i dropped down to a cut off to the north and found the holy grail!!!!
I read about how your not suppose to go up tunnel, but i think your missing out on half the fun. On your way up you can check out the most awesome walls your going to come down ,and pick the line you want to take to your death!! HA HA Plus theres a great waterfall about half way up to stop and have a snack. Lets see, what do we have in the bag?
Did i mention you should leave the kids & the neighber with the huffy at home? Unless there going to be hiking that is. This is expert only riding. I had one lady tell me that if i wanted, i could take the road down from the top. SAY WHAT? I nicely told her that this is what im looking for, and she laughed and told me to knock myself out. I'm sure she did'nt mean that literally. But she did want to watch!!!
Anyways, on with the bownhill!!!!! Pretty much drop your seat and, your shorts, to make your you still have a big set of them, because your going to need them!! HA HA I've got a GT with 5" of stroke both front and back, and i used it all. The first part is pretty mild rolling along, and then WHAM! heres your first wall. Time to focus, because any lapse in concentration from here on out could be costly. From there its a rock garden in paradise, rock wall here, rock staircase there, rocks everywhere! Did i mention rocks.
When you get to the end of the trail, do yourself a favor and make a right and head up 100 yds. or so and treat yourself to waterfalls and lagons. It's definitely worth it. You can wash off the new found blood that you've acquired! Well, i've got to get going so i can plan my next TRIP back to --------
Make sure to get on your knees and bow before heading down.HA HA! good luck and ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ride rating: Expert
skipmoto8 a 39 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a GT 3.0 i-drive w/ 5 from Canyon Country
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail Via Gibraltar-Started this ride @ 8:00am Friday morning, Nov. 24th from Cabrillo and State Street (The Wharf/Pier), cruised down Cabrillo till I reached Milpas, north to Montecito to Sycamore Canyon to can't remember what, but eventually, 8 miles later, 1 flat tire a couple of wrong turns and wasted climbs, I reached to bottom of Gibraltar...
Tuned out mentally for the next 1.5 hrs. and 11 miles to the top, it's a steady, boring paved road climb that by the time you reach the top, you have just climbed 4K feet, not a bad way to get loose, plus the day was awesome, 67 degrees, clear skies as far as you can see.
Reached the tunnel/Rattle snake trail head, stopped and had lunch as a few yuppie roadies cruised by like they had just done it all by climbing up there, Probably not knowing the kind of fun that really lied ahead.
The truth of the matter is, I didn't either, it was my first time on this trail, Thanks to Dusty, I got some pretty good insight on the ride.
It starts mildly, sort of like to give you this false sense of confidence; it lures you in and then..... WHAM, you see it, all the rocks, the drops, the steepness, more rocks, oh did I say loooooooose rocks.
I am no expert rider my any means like some other riders that have done this trail, but I'm willing to at least decide once I'm there if I can or not, ended up walking a few gnarly sections and I had no problems with that given that I was riding alone and did not see any riders and just 2 hikers towards the bottom, I did not want to go back to my wife bloodied and wounded, when this was her birthday weekend getaway.
By far this is the most technical trail sustained over 4 miles anywhere…period.
Any rider that can clean this trail top to bottom, my hats off to them, I don't care if you are on a downhill, free ride, XC, hard tail or rigid bike, it is a tough fuckin' trail!
Due to lack of time, I bailed on Jesusita Trail and descended down the Edison Road to Tunnel Road to Foothill/Mission/State and back to Hotel.
All in all a great day, 4 hours later and 27 miles and it was over, it was like leaving the happiest place on earth.
The next day, when I was walking around on State Street, I stopped in at a bike shop (can't remember the name), 1 block north of S.B. Brewery Co., they said without a doubt that this trail is almost always ridden by local down hillers, that kind of made me feel better about walking some sections, especially without pads.
I'll be back here soon, and next time I'll fit in the Jesusita trail option.
Thanks again K.W.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 27 miles Elevation change: 4000 feet
Singletrack=20% Paved Path=80%
JoeTruth a 36 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Ellsworth Truth from Altadena
- Trail UpdateTunnel/Cold Spings-I'm tired of other riders being close minded toward Downhilling. El Santo claims, if you're not riding up you're missing out on something. I'm sure that is true with some riders. I'd like to see you climb my 41 lbs. M1 up to do tunnel trail. It's not going to happen. I'm sure that riding tunnel on a freeride bike is very challenging and if I were to take my freeride bike to Santa Barbara, I wouldn't think of shuttling, but I don't get up there much, so when I do I take my downhill bike. I slowed down for all the hikers, and walked for the ones who were obviously pissed. I am a curtious downhill rider who also races. Getting out on my downhill bike is not only fun, but training. I climb my freeride bike during the week to stay in shape, but on the weekend I ride my downhill bike. Other riders have to understand that Downhilling is a completely different sport. It requires a truck or a lift to get you back up to the top. Sure, I ride my downhill bike on a xc ride once in awhile, but it's not the funnest thing to do. I totally respect someone who climbs to do Tunnel. Why do you care that I don't climb it. Is it because I get 3 runs down the trail instead of 1? If I lived in Santa Barbara, I'd probably ride that trail once a week, but since I may get to ride that trail once a year, I'm gonna get a few runs in. Let's try to be open minded toward eachother. I know there are plenty of prick downhillers in our sport. I have many friends that are. I've know many prick cross country riders too. The rest of us just need to try and get along.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 4? Elevation change: a lot
Rob a 28 year old Racer riding a Intense M1 from Orange County, CA
- Trail UpdateTunnel-i couldn't agree more with what el santo said below. i have also ridden a shitload of trails and alot of expert level trials (laguna beach, etc) and this right now is my favorite trail of all time until something passes it up. 3500 feet of downhill pure loose, crumbly rock drop offs, this is what god intended heaven to be like!! i gotta get up there again.
each section is not as "tech" as say physco or direct dial at laguna, but it has about 40 mini sections that are killer. better than rock creak in mammoth in my opinion. so far this is my #1 ride in socal!!
DFT a 31 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Santa cruz superlight from San diego
- Trail Update"MOUNTAIN BIKERS. If you ride this trail, and want to continue riding this trail, carry a bell. Hikers need the warning!"- a sign strapped to the Tunnel Trailhead sign.
Everyone who has only shuttled this ride is missing something huge. I am an experienced cyclist, and have sampled a wide variety of trails in my lifetime. Nothing, absolutely nothing compares with the trails above Santa Barbara. Tunnel is a religious experience, and I think that to achieve a state of heightened awareness (which is a useful thing dropping this trail), it is a must to endure the climb up Gibraltar. I don’t care what kind of bike you ride. Yesterday I climbed Gibraltar on a 30lb. freeride bike without stopping. I am not a phenomenal climber... ask Dusty or Canadian Bacon. I am usually the guy in the rear holding everyone up. If you shuttle, what have you gained? Anyone can drop a trail, but to start Tunnel ‘cold’ and warm up on the downhill is a waste. By the time you are warmed up you are halfway down to Jesusita, and have already missed much of the goodies. The climb is meditative. Bring a sandwich, and eat it at the trailhead. Sit, rest, lower your seat, and prepare for the drop.
Unbelievable. The trail is in great shape... not like the rain could do much of anything to a rock chute. I got in my groove early, and the only way to describe the feeling is, ‘nothing is unrideable’. This trail has everything you could possibly dream up, and will likely expand that list. My only gripe is the 4’ drop off that some sissy has built an escape-ramp for. This is not okay. Tunnel is an expert trail. There aren’t enough of these left (at my last count, two like this), so if you can’t ride it, walk that section. Don’t decide for other people what the trail is going to look like. Some people can clean the sections you can’t.
As far as the 'warning', there were lots of hikers, but I never got going fast enough to scare anyone but myself. I don’t see how you can- anything over 10-15 mph even in the smoothest places is a unmanageable. I shudder to think what would happen to someone who tries to bomb this trail. Major dental work to say the least. Although the tone of the sign is disconcerting; that the hikers have 'control' of the trail, and that they can decide our fate (which sadly has happened more often than the reverse). Share the trail. Be courteous. Most of all, don't be a dumb-ass. Treat hikers like you would treat your parole officer (I'm not saying you have one, but if you did, you would probably show some respect).
Jesusita is just dessert. The initial hike-a-bike deposit sucks, and you aren’t really paid back all that well for it. There are a couple of good steep chutes, lots of creek crossings, but there are other creekside trails in the area that are more bang for the buck.
That aside, in my opinion, this is the holy grail of technical mountain biking. 4 miles of downhill. None of it ‘easy’.
Be the ball.
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail-a poem about tunnel trail
oh tunnel trail oh tunnel trail
this epic ride will cause you to fail!!
rock drop after rock drop you ride
because there is nowhere to hide.
4000 verticle feet in all
your endurance better not be small!
after many rock garden drops from the initial road
you need to stop to shoot your load!
big and small rock drops that are never tamed
this trail even puts noble canyon to shame!
if you like riding smooth singletrack or whiting ranch
stay home because this trail will kick your ass!
its can be done as a shuttle, fast and quick
but the hardcore man, chugs up from the bottom of the pit!
oh tunnel trail oh tunnel trail
your more fun than a chick that just did a rail!! (of coke)
Ride rating: Expert
DT a Weekend Warrior
- Trail UpdateThis Is Your Final Warning-This is the last time I will emplore everyone to go up to Santa Barbara and ride their incredibly challenging trails. I rode Suicide the last 2 weeks and Tunnel-Jesusita makes it look like a handicap ramp. Bring your family and your bike up to S.B., leave them at the beach and don't forget to kiss them goodbye because your face may never look the same.
Beautiful weather up there this weekend, although it's hard to take in the great beach views when your life flashes in front of your eyes about every 20 seconds. Teams of hanggliders above thought it might be funny to yell at me as I try to negotiate this big rock staircase disguised as a trail. Very funny. After a couple face plants, a wrist bent backwards, and bruised hip the trail started to get difficult.
Just when I approached a staircase that had been giving me nightmares the last couple months, I noticed that some inadequate local had built an escape route around the obstacle. This infuriates me. What would our trails look like if everyone took it upon themselves to "modify" tough sections to comply with their skill level? When I come upon an obstacle that I judge as out of my realm of skill and I see tire tracks or chainring marks go over it, I give praise by saying, "God damn! That dude is crazy!" Trail diversions also give the hiker nazis another thing to complain about.
Anyway, this trail beat me up something fierce, and after 3 spots where a second attempt was neccessary, I found that the whole trail is indeed rideable. And then it was over to Jesusita for more creekside mayhem. Figure it out people, ya gotta try this trail at least once.
I also did a ride called Cold Springs on Saturday which is very similar to Tunnel-Jesusita, 4 miles of rocky hell followed by 2 miles of canyon creek action. Don't worry, I'll post it. Good luck to you.
- Trail UpdateTunnel Trail-this trail kicks ass!!! it is indeed the quientisesential socal ride!! its 4 miles of rock garden sections!! we cranked up from the mission, then dropped tunnel. I was riding a crappy hardtail, the downhill beats you up!! tie this in with the jesusita trail and this is now my favorite trail of all time baby!! it has rock drop after rock drop, many sections that are fun to retry over again.
Ride rating: Expert
- Trail UpdateTunnelvision Of Your Own Death-To emphasize what Dusty said, do not underestimate the difficulty of this trail. This is the most technical ride I have *ever* been on. Abandon any macho thoughts of conquering this trail- it isn’t going to happen. If Tunnel senses you have this mindset she will destroy you. To draw an analogy, it is like a temperamentally maladjusted Mt. Lowe on steroids.
We parked at the Mission in Santa Barbara and rode up Mountain Dr. to Gibraltar, and then up, up, and up Gibraltar. DP the rockstar and myself made the mistake of hammering up this evil hill, taking no breaks. It is 4000 feet of climbing in approximately 8 miles. When you have an option to fork right or continue straight/left, continue straight/left and drink a lot of water. There will be a gradual descent here. If you start climbing again, you have gone too far. The trailhead is marked on the left, but it is difficult to see from the road.
The trail begins in typical socal fashion- rolly, loose sandy schmutz with a few yuccas thrown in to raise the mistake penalty a little. Just when you start thinking "What a bust! Dusty doesn’t know what he is talking about", flip that little switch in your head from ‘fun’ to ‘survival’. First there are a few rocks, and then some more, and then, no more dirt. This is a good place to drop your seat- trust me, you will need to. Tunnel is a 4 mile exercise in line picking and technical descending. It is similar to Upper Sam Merrill, and perhaps JTs in Laguna, but is infinitely tougher. There are more rocky drop offs than I can count, and stair steps that you have to be Hans Rey to clean. You will have to bust out your downhill, XC and trials skills to survive. You can enjoy spider-man like traction, as 80% of the trail is rock. If your concentration falters for a split second it is all over. The downhill is considerably more taxing than the 4000 foot climb. We got the crap beat out of us.
At the end of the first leg of the trail, stop and make sure that you are still in one piece. You can bail out here by heading left down the fireroad, but that would be a mistake. Turn off your common sense, turn right, and start climbing again. The fireroad will turn into singletrack shortly, and will descend into a creek. Cross the creek, and hike-a-bike it for the next 20 minutes or so. This is Jesusita trail, and is a lot like Sunset trail, but again, much tougher. Lots of switchbacks, tight singletrack through the trees, a few rocks, a few creek crossings. You will be exhausted by this point, so go easy on yourself. After the ride head either to the hospital or to State street and grab a burrito.
I recommend full suspension on this trail, although nothing can substitute for good technical skills. I did it on a Homegrown hardtail, whereas DP did it on his Superlight, and I think he is better off the day after than I am. Carry 1 camelbak + at least 1 bottle of water- it was 90° yesterday, and dehydration was a factor.
This is the most fun I have had on a bike in a long time. File this ride on your bookshelf next to the Odyssey and Iliad. I hope everyone had a good Memorial day.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: Elevation change: ~4000 feet
- Trail UpdateInspiration Point Loop-Proceed up the paved path and away from the houses
and into lush oak wilderness... after a gradual climb of a few miles, the pavement ends, here is our first
trailhead to the left, there are 2trailheads here, you want the one for Seven Falls. Now the fun starts,
after a quick descent into a rocky creek, keep to the main trail here and dont climb the creek, youll start
climbing fairly sharp thru thick brush and some switchbacks. reaching a saddle, you will start back down on a fireroad to the right, you can see the trail following along side the fireroad but I'd just assume stay off it on this section because its hammered... after some twisty tite turns the other singletrack cuts off to the right, from here it is 3miles of heaven with a few technical areas that could chew you up if not careful. it will dump out on a dirt road, keep right and continue down a few other short trail sections that parallels the creek and road. Then just keep going down the dirtroad when the trails end and it will soon put u back on street for the haul back to the car.....
Keep on going down San Roque until it intersects Foothill Road and go left, then left again on Las Canoas, then that Y left onto Tunnel Rd. and back up to your car, the whole loop is only about 9miles but will kick yer butt in elevation....enjoy!!
Paul Rogers a 30 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a XC Freeride couch of a SuperV from Pinyon Pines,Ca.
- Trail UpdateDusty For President-Keep up the good work, Dusty. I envy your schedule and lifestyle. I'm going to Santa Barbara County next month and will hit some of this. Keep riding, bud.
Grizzly a 36 year old Cross-Country Rider from San Diego
- Trail UpdateAdult Version Of Suicide-This trail is no joke. Although I gave directions to the bottom of the trail, it is not meant to be climbed. This is a psycho twisted death chute dropped into some of the most beautiful mountain scenery on the coast. I parallel it to Suicide trail due to the extremely rocky, sometimes loose, sometimes fast, but always dangerous terrain. There is only one difference...IT'S ABOUT 5 TIMES LONGER! 4 miles to the bottom and no dull spots.
I'm not much for giving play by play directions because nothing takes the place of a good map. So go get one and figure out how you want to dismantle this monster for yourself. There is a shuttle option but I pulled it off as follows...parked at the bottom of Gibraltar road and climbed it up to East Camino Cielo(1.5-2.0 hour climb)It's like the road climb to the top of noble, boring road ride with great scenery. Take a left on E. Camino and go about a 1/2 mile, the tunnel trail will be on your left, you can't miss it. If you survive the next 4 miles there is an option to connect with the very beautiful and almost as challenging Jesusita trail. If you choose this route have lunch at the bottom of tunnel because you start the connection with a 40 minute climb to Inspiration Point. This climb is a real bummer due to the initial climb up Gibraltar and the insane concentration necessary not to die on tunnel. Tunnel trail into Jesusita is the best ride I have EVER done(tied with mammoth's lower rock creek)...and I have done plenty. To continue, find my review on Jesusita.