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  1. #1
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    Beginner trails in LA?

    Hi all, I recently got my mountain bike after not having ridden a bike in over a decade. What are some not too difficult, not too narrow trails in the area that would be good for a beginner like myself to ride to get a feel for my bike and riding in general?

    I rode Aliso Canyon (the one in the Valley, not OC) last week. It was a blast so I did it twice. Haven't gotten the stream crossings down yet and the single-track sections made me nervous with hikers around. I also rode Dirt Mulholland yesterday, also twice because it was so short. I loved it. Wide trail and great view. I plan on trying Dirt Reseda later this week.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    about 3/4 of a mile west of Aliso is Limekiln it's a fun beginner trail. It starts on the southwest corner of Sesnon and Tampa.

  3. #3
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    I take almost all my new first time riders/beginners out to Cheeseboro Canyon.

    It has, I'm thinking, about a three mile fire road down the middle that is pretty dang flat. (I live in La Canada, so I'm surrounded by hills, and that's the flatest long stretch I know of, though I'm sure there are others.) It's flanked on both sides by an ample amount of fire road climbs if you want that. Also, once you get to the end of the fire road down the middle you can go another couple miles further in on a skinnier trial that actually has some low level technical challenges. Nothing hard core. No five foot drops or anything, but definitely more technical than flat fire road.

    You can squeeze an 8-10 mile ride out of it with minimal effort. You can even push it to 18+ if you avoid the middle and ride the hills/crestline all the way around the entire park.

    Notes: Very populated with bikers, hikers, and horses. And also can get pretty hot there.

    I'm sure there are many more beginner areas in the greater LA area, but that's the one I use for new riders. I'm thinking there might be some in the OC direction, but I don't know anything down there.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the replies so far. Cheeseboro sounds good since I was about to ask if there's any out in the SGV too.

    I just remembered hiking Las Llejas out in Simi too, seems like it could by a fun and easy trail to ride, IIRC.

  5. #5
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    Some of my favorite easy rides:

    Las Llajas is nice and has three simple stream x'ings that are usually dry by summer. There is a gate about 2 miles in that, if closed, you may open & pass thru (please close it behind you). 3.7 miles in there's another very serious "NO TRESPASSING" gate. Either turn back there or, if you desire more climbing, backtrack fifty feet and head up what the locals call "Oilwell Hill". It's steep, but has several plateaus so you can catch your breath. There are ways to continue this ride, but Beginners usually turn back somewhere on Oilwell.

    Malibu Creek State Park. For free parking, start at Juan Bautista de Anza Park and take Grasslands Trail in, then explore the park. Maps & descriptions.

    Above Azusa, West Fork San Gabriel River trail begins paved but eventually turns to dirt (after a short climb to Cogswell Reservoir, 7 miles in). Then you can continue to climb pretty much forever. Turn back when tired. No singletrack, unfortunately. Human presence thins out after the first paved mile, but avoid this place on summer weekends unless you start near dawn. Forest Adventure Pass required.

    Charlton Flats off Angeles Crest Highway above La Canada Flintridge. Nice, nontechnical climb to Vetter Mountain Fire Lookout, where you can sign the guest book and have a look around. Then descend via Vetter Mountain Trail-- the first part is a bit complicated and Beginners might need to dismount, but after that it's easy. Other roads in the Charlton Flats area are mostly shaded with easy ups & downs. However, there seems to be a never-ending brush & sapling clearance project underway and sometimes the roads are blocked by piles of branches. You can clamber over them, but it's a pain (and watch out for rattlers!). The area tends to be "gnatty" all summer long, so wear bug juice. For more fire road miles, cross the highway to Mount Mooney. Adventure Pass required here, too. Map.
    Never give up, never surrender.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by irideap2
    about 3/4 of a mile west of Aliso is Limekiln it's a fun beginner trail. It starts on the southwest corner of Sesnon and Tampa.
    Although I've been riding my road bike on a regular basis for many years (and think I'm in pretty good shape) I just added a mountain bike to the mix but haven't had much chance to ride it yet. I live a few miles from Limekiln so that's the first trail I tried (riding up the hill from Rinaldi rather than down from Sesson) and there were two short steep sections where I had to walk. Since this is a beginner's trail, should I be able to ride the whole thing (even going up the hill) or do more experienced riders have to walk in these spots also?

  7. #7
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    When I was really new at this I would go to Malibu State Creek and ride there. Some pretty cool stuff. Check it out! It's right off of 101 freeway at Las Virgines (Sp?)
    "Well I don't drink as much as I ought to."

    ~Jerry Jeff Walker~

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentGlider
    Since this is a beginner's trail, should I be able to ride the whole thing (even going up the hill) or do more experienced riders have to walk in these spots also?
    I've been wondering the same thing about some of the spots along Aliso Canyon in Granada Hills too, especially the hills after the dips/creeks.

  9. #9
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    long canyon in Simi
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

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