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  1. #1
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    Bell Canyon Loop near Cheeseboro question

    Hi,

    I have been looking at Cheeseboro Area Trail Map and Descriptions at the map. Can anyone familiar with the area tell me if there is really a single track stretch up on the northern end of the Bell Canyon loop? If so, how does it compare with the single track section of Sheep Corral trail from Los Virgenes to Cheeseboro Ridge Road? I rode that stretch of Sheep Corral, so I have a frame of reference.

    On the map, it's trail number 15. I was exploring in that area, but 2 miles down from there, a few days ago and talked with a biker at the bottom of my ride and he said it was all fire road on the northern end of that trail. That seems to be different from the trail description for trail 15(scroll down to trail number 15 on the above linked webpage).

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the description.

    thanks

    Socal Rod

  2. #2
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    Yes, the Bell Canyon singletrack does exist. I haven't ridden it in quite some time, but the website you're referring to describes it very accurately to my memory.

    Some portions will remind you of the Sheep Corral trail between Las Virgenes & Cheseeboro Ridge AKA "Gaspipe", but the Bell Canyon singletrack is a much more primitive trail with overgrown areas, a rocky streambed section, lots of nasty ruts, and some steep, loose pitches.

    A good portion of Bell Canyon burned some years ago, and a lot of erosion occurred during the following rainy season. Prior to that, while it was still a real backcountry experience compared to most other trails in the Cheeseboro area, it was definitely better than it is now. That said, the current conditions don't keep me from riding it once in a great while.

    The route description on the website is for a relatively short ride. I like to do a longer route, which ends up being just under 20 miles if I remember correctly. It's a tough ride. Here are directions from the main parking lot:

    Climb up the Modelo trail (#3)

    Go right onto the Modelo Connector (#4) and drop into the main canyon.

    Go left and head up the Cheeseboro Canyon fireroad (#1) to Sulphur Springs trail (#2) until you tee into the Sheep Corral trail (#14).

    Go left onto the Sheep Corral trail (#14) and take it out to Palo Comado fireroad (#11).

    Go right and climb up Palo Comado fireroad (#11) to China Flat trail (#17) to Simi Peak trail (#18).
    I usually do an out-and-back up to Simi Peak, then return to the China Flat loop (#17) and take that out to Alberson Fireroad (#22).

    Go right onto Alberson Fireroad (#22) and continue a couple miles until you see an unmarked, steep little chute of a trail dropping off to the right. - you can see it on the website's map as a skinny blue line that connects to the Edison Road extension of the Cheeseboro Ridge fireroad (#6).

    Drop down this little chute, and at the bottom of the singletrack, bear right onto the Edison Road extension of the Cheeseboro Ridge fireroad (#6).

    Climb a short distance and a then bear left onto the unmarked Bell Canyon trail (#15).

    Follow the singletrack through Bell Canyon for a couple miles and you'll tee into a poorly maintained fireroad. Go right here and follow this fireroad through a series of ups and downs, and eventually you'll end up in Las Virgenes Canyon. Figures since this fireroad you've been riding is basically an extension of Las Virgenes Canyon fireroad (#10).

    Now you're in familiar territory. Go right onto the Sheep Corral trail (#14) AKA "Gaspipe", and take it up and over to Sulphur Springs trail (#2).

    Go left onto Sulphur Springs trail (#2), continue to Cheeseboro Canyon fireroad (#1), and back out to the parking lot.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    Hi,

    I have been looking at Cheeseboro Area Trail Map and Descriptions at the map. Can anyone familiar with the area tell me if there is really a single track stretch up on the northern end of the Bell Canyon loop? If so, how does it compare with the single track section of Sheep Corral trail from Los Virgenes to Cheeseboro Ridge Road? I rode that stretch of Sheep Corral, so I have a frame of reference.

    On the map, it's trail number 15. I was exploring in that area, but 2 miles down from there, a few days ago and talked with a biker at the bottom of my ride and he said it was all fire road on the northern end of that trail. That seems to be different from the trail description for trail 15(scroll down to trail number 15 on the above linked webpage).
    The trail definitely exists, and it's as described. I think the biker you met must have been talking about the continuation of the fire road (the Edison Roak, AKA Power Lines), which continues past the Bell Canyon singletrack turnoff and climbs up to connect with the Albertson Motorway. The description in the link you provided is very good for finding the singletrack, but it's easy to miss. It is basically at the bottom of the canyon after you descend the Edison Road. Although the end of the trail was once a fire road, you can only tell that in a few places; it's really reverted to singletrack now.

    I prefer to ride the trail the opposite direction, but you really have to know the area to find the singletrack entrance that way.

    Either direction, the technical bits are comparable to or a bit harder than Gaspipe, but overall the trail is a lot wilder, much longer than Gaspipe, and there are some really steep (though fairly short) climbs. It's a totally different experience from Gaspipe or the other trails around Cheeseboro. Last time I rode it, it was pretty overgrown - you are riding through bushes, getting scratched up and a few places where you can't even see the trail surface through the grass and brush. For a while some years ago there were a fair number of riders using the trail and every once in a while I would meet another group, but now it seems to get very little use, maybe because it is so overgrown and rutted or maybe because it is so far away from other trails. In either case, this is not a trail I would ride alone - if something happened to you out there, it might be a really, really long time before someone would come by! But it is a cool trail - I still remember the thrill I had doing it for the first time, it really seemed like a wild adventure not knowing what was coming ahead.

  4. #4
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    Agoura,

    Thank you very much for your advice and detailed description.

    It's very very helpful!

    Ride Safe,

    Socal Rod

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    Agoura,

    Thank you very much for your advice and detailed description.

    It's very very helpful!

    Ride Safe,

    Socal Rod
    Socal Rod,

    Thank you for thanking Agoura. No need to thank me. I only spent the better part of half an hour typing up a very detailed route description (based on the map you were referring to) for a ride that I thought you might enjoy. For future reference, a reply like "Hey, JimN. Your long-winded route descriptions suck. Thanks for nothing." would have been more appreciated than your zero acknowledgement of my reply. Anyway, I do hope that the information I provided might be useful to someone, sometime.

    Sincerely,

    JimN

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    Thanks JimN. I plan to ride your route. Can't wait! Those trails can be confusing without a little help.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimN View Post
    Socal Rod,

    Thank you for thanking Agoura. No need to thank me. I only spent the better part of half an hour typing up a very detailed route description (based on the map you were referring to) for a ride that I thought you might enjoy. For future reference, a reply like "Hey, JimN. Your long-winded route descriptions suck. Thanks for nothing." would have been more appreciated than your zero acknowledgement of my reply. Anyway, I do hope that the information I provided might be useful to someone, sometime.

    Sincerely,

    JimN
    Hey Jim, thanks for the detail and thoroughness in your last post. I didn't find you all that long-winded. Ok, maybe a little...
    Been a while since we've ridden...
    Fat fanatic.

    "Where the Fox Hat?" Endurance Team
    SoCal Colavita Road/MTB club

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimN View Post
    Socal Rod,

    Thank you for thanking Agoura. No need to thank me. I only spent the better part of half an hour typing up a very detailed route description (based on the map you were referring to) for a ride that I thought you might enjoy. For future reference, a reply like "Hey, JimN. Your long-winded route descriptions suck. Thanks for nothing." would have been more appreciated than your zero acknowledgement of my reply. Anyway, I do hope that the information I provided might be useful to someone, sometime.

    Sincerely,

    JimN
    Hi JimN,

    I am sorry you weren't recognized. I am new to this forum and it's navigations.

    They are serpintine to say the least.

    I am just learning how to navigate and find my own posts, let alone finding who has responded to my posts. I have been only seeing one post at a time. The default setting was some sort of tree setting, that I still haven't fully figured out yet. The notification emails I get are only for every few posts, so I just found out how to read all the posts to my threads a few minutes ago. I came back to this thread in order to send you a PM and finally understood your last response when it was in sequence.

    After reading your initial response, I was very greatful to the time you spent on writing your description. That was actually my thought. "Geeze, this guy spent a lot of time responding and it's rich in info." I am really big on thanking people. I really thought I was thanking you, but some of my posts have been when i am really tired, and i just messed up and got the two of you confused..

    No intention of leaving you out was intended.

    Sincerely,

    So Cal Rod
    Last edited by teachndad; 04-07-2012 at 10:54 PM. Reason: missed words

  9. #9
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    BTW,

    Yes, I am still thankful to Agoura bikers response. The two of the responses have been very helpul. I think I will search some other trails for something a little safer and easier to ride. Saves me and any other readers immense time exploring the trail, firsthand.

    I hate putting out the effort to ride for an hour or two, and find out the trail isn't what I like.

    Cheers

    SoCal Rod

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    BTW,

    Yes, I am still thankful to Agoura bikers response. The two of the responses have been very helpul. I think I will search some other trails for something a little safer and easier to ride. Saves me and any other readers immense time exploring the trail, firsthand.

    I hate putting out the effort to ride for an hour or two, and find out the trail isn't what I like.

    Cheers

    SoCal Rod
    If you do decide to give it a try, send me a PM. I used to ride it a lot, but haven't ridden it in a while and would like to try it again.

    As for safer alternatives, have you done the Backbone trail from Kanan to Corral Canyon? It's not nearly as technical, but it's a long singletrack and you get the feeling of being out in the wild (though it's not as isolated).

    Another good alternative is Guadalasco/Backbone in Sycamore Canyon. Again, not as technical, but still challenging and fun singletrack.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickbrown View Post
    Thanks JimN. I plan to ride your route. Can't wait! Those trails can be confusing without a little help.
    You're welcome! I hope you enjoy the Cheeseboro Grand Tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Upchuck View Post
    Hey Jim, thanks for the detail and thoroughness in your last post. I didn't find you all that long-winded. Ok, maybe a little...
    Been a while since we've ridden...
    Heh! Thanks, Vince. It has been a while since we've ridden. Maybe I'll make it out to the upcoming vintage ride. My only true vintage mtb has been converted to a road fixie. I guess I can bring my Dean singlespeed. It's not vintage, but it looks the part.

    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    Hi JimN,

    I am sorry you weren't recognized. I am new to this forum and it's navigations...

    Sincerely,

    So Cal Rod
    No worries, Rod. Just a simple misunderstanding. Thanks for letting me know it wasn't intentional. Have fun exploring Cheeseboro!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by agoura_biker View Post
    If you do decide to give it a try, send me a PM. I used to ride it a lot, but haven't ridden it in a while and would like to try it again.
    I am the OP for the thread.

    I did PM Agoura biker soon after this thread was posted. Rich, showed me all the trails in Cheseboro, and other wonderful riding areas in this area. I have been riding with him for nearly a year and a half, now. Finally, on Sunday - nearly a year and half later, we did ride the Bell Canyon singletrack, but we didn't take JimN's route. Now knowing all those trails, his route would be an awesome route, but I would recommend it for someone in very good condition.

    We took a little bit shorter route and easier, but still with lots of climbing. We started at the Las Virgenes TH and headed north about 5 miles until we came to the Bell Canyon Singletrack. For anyone wanting to try this, the BC singletrack is marked with a cairn on steroids. It's a 2 foot tall mound of rocks on the left of the fire road about .5 miles beyond the last homes visible from the Bell Canyon community and after a good climb. Enter there.

    The trail surface is full of irregularities, much like what has been previously described in this thread. It's not that overgrown anymore IMHO. You can see the trail bed all the time. You do hit brush with your elbows at times, but you can see the trail. It does climb a lot, drop a lot and it puts your technical skills to the test on some of the sections.

    At the end of the BC single track, you take a left and head up the hill to the top of Powerlines, but then at the top, you have the beginning of a devilishly fun downhill including a descent of GasPipe. That is your trophy. Once back at the bottom of Gas Pipe, we went back down Las Virgenes trail to the cars. Total mileage back to the cars was @12 miles.

    I was in decent shape after 5 strenuous previous rides during the last week and a half. Previous to that, I had been out for 5 weeks with a bad cough and chest cold. The conditioning rides were paramount to completing this ride. Though, Rich's son Mike, was home on break from UCB and rode it just fine without much pre conditioning and he hadn't done any cardio conditioning. Oh to be 18 again.

    Cheers
    So Cal Rod

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    Thanks for the status...I rode it once last year and while I definitely loved the sense of "backcountry" the trail condition was atrocious. Might have to give it a go again.


    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    I am the OP for the thread.

    I did PM Agoura biker soon after this thread was posted. Rich, showed me all the trails in Cheseboro, and other wonderful riding areas in this area. I have been riding with him for nearly a year and a half, now. Finally, on Sunday - nearly a year and half later, we did ride the Bell Canyon singletrack, but we didn't take JimN's route. Now knowing all those trails, his route would be an awesome route, but I would recommend it for someone in very good condition.

    We took a little bit shorter route and easier, but still with lots of climbing. We started at the Las Virgenes TH and headed north about 5 miles until we came to the Bell Canyon Singletrack. For anyone wanting to try this, the BC singletrack is marked with a cairn on steroids. It's a 2 foot tall mound of rocks on the left of the fire road about .5 miles beyond the last homes visible from the Bell Canyon community and after a good climb. Enter there.

    The trail surface is full of irregularities, much like what has been previously described in this thread. It's not that overgrown anymore IMHO. You can see the trail bed all the time. You do hit brush with your elbows at times, but you can see the trail. It does climb a lot, drop a lot and it puts your technical skills to the test on some of the sections.

    At the end of the BC single track, you take a left and head up the hill to the top of Powerlines, but then at the top, you have the beginning of a devilishly fun downhill including a descent of GasPipe. That is your trophy. Once back at the bottom of Gas Pipe, we went back down Las Virgenes trail to the cars. Total mileage back to the cars was @12 miles.

    I was in decent shape after 5 strenuous previous rides during the last week and a half. Previous to that, I had been out for 5 weeks with a bad cough and chest cold. The conditioning rides were paramount to completing this ride. Though, Rich's son Mike, was home on break from UCB and rode it just fine without much pre conditioning and he hadn't done any cardio conditioning. Oh to be 18 again.

    Cheers

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    I am the OP for the thread.

    I did PM Agoura biker soon after this thread was posted. Rich, showed me all the trails in Cheseboro, and other wonderful riding areas in this area. I have been riding with him for nearly a year and a half, now. Finally, on Sunday - nearly a year and half later, we did ride the Bell Canyon singletrack....

    ...Rich's son Mike, was home on break from UCB and rode it just fine without much pre conditioning and he hadn't done any cardio conditioning. Oh to be 18 again.

    Cheers
    Rod,

    Great ride on Sunday - I can't believe it took 18 months to finally get around to that trail! But now that we've done it, we'll have to do it again sooner. And yes, it's hard to remember what it's like to be 18! All it takes is a couple of rides and Mike's back in the best shape he's ever been in!

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