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  1. #1
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    Biggest SoCal Climbs

    I'm trying to get in shape for a few XC races in the near future (not super serious, i'm a mid-pack Sport rider at best). I love checking out new places to ride on the weekends and was wondering if there are some big climbs I've never done. Wicked fun singletrack descent not required but obviously I love them. I'm out in the San Fernando Valley.

    I've done Mt. Wilson (this last weekend, absolutely grueling), Mt. Lowe, Mt. Pinos, Bulldog in Malibu, Rocky Peak. Anything else I should check out? Is there a big fire road climb to Baldy worth riding?

    Thanks everyone!!

    -Office

  2. #2
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    You haven't done Mt Lukens yet? Park at the fire station shortly after you leave the houses behind and entered the canyon on Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy). That's a solid 7 miles of good climbing up to the towers with a top elevation of about 5000'.

    Or, you can park on Haines Canyon Road in Tujunga and climb up to the towers on Mt. Lukens from that side. That's a tougher climb because it's a little steeper, a little more loose, and a little more damaged from past rains. On the way down, you can jump onto Blue Bug ST. That's a pretty fun trail and it dumps you out lower down on the fire road you climbed up.

    Also, Brown Mountain is a good one. That's around 6+ miles of good climbing and the ride down is really fast and fun. You can turn left at the saddle about half way down and drop a little farther then jump on El Prieto ST. I have to assume that you already know about this ride, though?
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by office View Post
    I'm trying to get in shape for a few XC races in the near future (not super serious, i'm a mid-pack Sport rider at best). I love checking out new places to ride on the weekends and was wondering if there are some big climbs I've never done. Wicked fun singletrack descent not required but obviously I love them. I'm out in the San Fernando Valley.

    I've done Mt. Wilson (this last weekend, absolutely grueling), Mt. Lowe, Mt. Pinos, Bulldog in Malibu, Rocky Peak. Anything else I should check out? Is there a big fire road climb to Baldy worth riding?

    Thanks everyone!!

    -Office
    I was just out hiking Mt Baldy on Saturday. Temps were great for hiking and biking.

    The fire road up to the Notch is rideable. After that, I am not sure if bikes are allowed on Devil's Backbone. I am pretty sure you would not want to ride down Ski Hut Trail...way too gnarly for bikes and hazardous to hikers! However, if bikes are allowed up there, you could ride the FR up to DB then to summit. Then take Bear Canyon Trail down to Baldy Village, where you could ride the road back up to Manker CG area trail head.

    Caution:
    1. Some of the Bear Canyon Trail is probably hike-a-bike down, as it is twisty and steep and rocky in places.
    2. Almost none of these trails are currently marked.

    Here's an account of an ascent with a mtb.
    Mountain biking Mt. Baldy | Outdoor Lifestyle

  4. #4
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    baldy has a lot of potential, wished i lived closer to explore...
    nothing witty here...

  5. #5
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    Nordhoff Ridge above Ojai has Gridley trail (7 mi) and Sespe fire road (depends). Above Santa Barbara, the 9-mi fire road (name eluding) to Buckhorn trail is fantastic.
    https://www.imba.com/epics/buckhorn-trail
    OC has San Juan trail (11 mi w a little DH), Harding Truck Trail, Black Star Cyn Rd (both 10 mi) plus numerous other ways to get cardio up to the peak, including routes with ST.
    Palm Cyn above Cathedral City or Palm Springs, many options leading to Dunn Road which ends in Mountain Center. That would be bigger than any I mentioned.

    Have fun...

  6. #6
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    Baldy is (was) a very tough but fun ride. Bear Canyon is now under full Forest Service closure as parts of the trail got wiped out in one of the August storms. That means closed to all users under threat of big fine and/or jail time. I imagine it will be a couple years before it opens again.

    If you want some good fire road climbs hit the Santa Ana's where you can crush fire roads to your hearts content. The Ojai rides mentioned are also a good bet. One thing there is no shortage of in Socal are big climbs!

    Slogging out massive fire road climbs may not be the best way to improve your fitness if you are like me and tend to just spin up them. You want to get your heart rate elevated. Intervals are really good for this, and can be done on any climb. I find commuting to work helps too because I tend to push harder than I do on MTB rides. Times when I am in really good shape I can push a harder gear up big climbs and sustain that gear. Simply going out and riding those big climbs I seem to stay at the same (slow) speed.

  7. #7
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    lytle creek middle fork to ice house saddle, not sure for biking but is a hiking trail.
    in glendora, lower monroe truck trail, about a 3k ascent.
    marshall canyon and keep going up to potato mtn, 2k to 3k ascent

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzank6 View Post
    lytle creek middle fork to ice house saddle, not sure for biking but is a hiking trail.
    in glendora, lower monroe truck trail, about a 3k ascent.
    marshall canyon and keep going up to potato mtn, 2k to 3k ascent
    Yes! Lower MTT is a great climb and a BLAST to come back down.
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

  9. #9
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    Thomas Mountain/Ramona Trail is an 8-mile, 2,500ft climb, with insanely buff singletrack, hairy switchbacks, techy chunk and rock garden madness....all wrapped-up in one ride.

    Geoladders -- Thomas Mountain - Ramona Trail
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  10. #10
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    The Buckhorn trail in the Santa Barbara backcountry is currently not rideable - way too overgrown. You can climb the same fireroad though (Buckhorn Road from Upper Oso Campground) towards Little Pine Mountain, and descend Santa Cruz trail, which is well-maintained by SBMTV:
    Santa Cruz Trail Mountain Bike Trail, Santa Barbara, CA
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...sm9_033984.pdf

    P.S.: Long steep trails

    Bela

  11. #11
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    I used to climb up Baldy from Cucamonga Canyon,if I remember, to the elementry school pretty brutal climb. Last time I rode was for the 1999 Single Speed World Championships, which we did on our modified Ventana tandem

  12. #12
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    If you can fly up Gridley (Ojai), then you are in shape to win races. It's a tough trail, esp since it's south facing and warms up quick.

  13. #13
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    Two OC options are Maple Springs with a Motorway descent & the other is Harding Truck Trail with a Holy Jim(s) descent. These routes are popular this time of year for those training for the Counting Coup & Vision Quest. There are other descent options and some may require a bit of road riding.

  14. #14
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    Maple Springs and Motorway are both closed indefinitely due to recent fire.

    aitrob, thanks for clueing me in on the fire road name. Edit: I was underwhelmed by Buckhorn singletrack, but the road up is why I would ride there again. I can't think of a more spectacular dirt road climb with better surface in socal.

    Both ways up to Ramona Trail are fairly mellow fire roads, but well worth it for the fantastic Trail down.

    Taking to heart what evdog said about interval training and such...I guess one can really hit the pedals to make almost anything a good workout, but it takes discipline. I like the built-in "intervals" of trails like Gridley and esp Trabuco. These are pretty hard just to pedal up, particularly Trab. There are so many technical uphill cruxes and loose-ish sections that, although five miles, one can really get flamed on it. If one needs more, numerous options extend beyond Trabuco to make as burly an out/back, lolli, or loop as any mortal can handle.

    officebro, if you decide to ride down here and want the lay of the land I'm happy to hit some dirt with you. Likewise, the Path bike shop has regular weekend rides in the area and they often go big on the mountain. Cheers...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by aitrob View Post
    The Buckhorn trail in the Santa Barbara backcountry is currently not rideable - way too overgrown. You can climb the same fireroad though (Buckhorn Road from Upper Oso Campground) towards Little Pine Mountain, and descend Santa Cruz trail, which is well-maintained by SBMTV:
    Santa Cruz Trail Mountain Bike Trail, Santa Barbara, CA
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...sm9_033984.pdf

    P.S.: Long steep trails

    Bela
    I've been looking at this one when I go past it on the way up to Little Pine. How overgrown is it?

  16. #16
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    Climb San Juan Trail, then ride back down.

  17. #17
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    +1 !

  18. #18
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    The infamous Dunn Road is a fire road in the Coachella Valley (Catherdral City start) that climbs all the way to Pinyon Pines. It starts at just over sea level and gets up to about 4300 feet. I think it is about 12 miles in length if I remember correctly. There are lots of singletrack forks along the way that will help you with bike handling skills.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GH28 View Post
    I've been looking at this one when I go past it on the way up to Little Pine. How overgrown is it?
    I've never attempted to ride it from the top after being strongly discouraged not only on forums, but also by some members of SBMTV who know the area very well and claim it's pretty much completely gone after a fire. I've hiked up some of it from the bottom and even hiking it was pretty annoying...

    From what I hear there might be attempts to reestablish the trail over the winter with volunteer work.

    Bela

  20. #20
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    Palomar Mountain has a nice 4K vertical fire road climb if you are into that kind of thing...

  21. #21
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    What's wrong with 'you people'...I thought mtbing was for FUN...not some excruciatingly arduous, near-vertical, self-flagellatory-slog-fest, exercise routine! That's what road-biking is for! :-)

  22. #22
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    I love downhilling, but like the idea of earning it, so most of the time, it's an hour or so up and 20 minutes down.

  23. #23
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    Climb up Holy Jim (Santa Anas) to Santiago Peak, then come down Upper/Lower Holy Jim.

    Not enough? You can adjust your starting point west--all the way to San Juan Capistrano--until the desired amount of climbing is reached!
    Why?

    Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger. ~ E. Abbey

  24. #24
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    Biggest SoCal Climbs

    Otay mtn is San Diego climbs 3000ft in 6 miles. There are also three dirt roads to the top, so combine all three and you have about 9000ft in 18 miles. Good times.

  25. #25
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    ride i would like to do this winter:

    up romero fr, down cold springs,up Gibraltar, down tunnel trail, back to the car. probably 7k' of climbing and tech descending.
    nothing witty here...

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