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  1. #1
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    Closure at Encinal Canyon/Backbone trail

    I just rode Backbone from Encinal parking lot today and the usually gated part crossing the private driveway coming from Etz Meloy fire road to Yerba Buena is now closed off with trespassing signs posted! The ride-around the road gate is now also gated and padlocked. Does anyone know anything about this? It totally screws up the ride to Mishe Mokwa by cutting it in half. You would have to drop your bike over the fence. Is this legit? I talked to someone in the parking lot who it was due to the elderly woman who owns the property but aside from wondering when she may pass away is there any more concrete knowledge on this?

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    Not sure where you're talking about, so I guess I need to get up there and ride it. Etz Meloy is not, and has never been, open to the public. That's why the sign at the top of the trail says the trail ends, even though there's a fire road where the trail tops out at the ridge. You cannot legally reach Yerba Buena from the dead-end section of Backbone, but dozens of cyclists violate that every weekend. Sounds like one of the property owners got some "backbone" of their own. The more bike tracks property owners find on their property, the more the local property owners will push back on access - look at the closures on Newton Motorway and Puerco Canyon. I'll look into this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottR1 View Post
    Etz Meloy is not, and has never been, open to the public.
    Do you have a source for this? From everything I've seen the portion from backbone to yerba buena is not private. I think there's even a trailhead sign at the intersection with backbone.

    Haven't seen the gate firsthand yet, but have heard about it.
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  4. #4
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    Etz Meloy has an easement issue. No, there is NOT A SIGN at the top of Encinal Backbone that turns back recreational users, at least not anymore. Here's a recent photo (taken three weeks ago):
    Closure at Encinal Canyon/Backbone trail-20130927_161430-copy.jpg
    Closure at Encinal Canyon/Backbone trail-20130927_161430-1-copy.jpg


    And an article, note the area on the map circled in red. I had a conversation at Circle X with a friendly ranger back in 2011. His information was spot-on with the linked article above. When the Park Service acquires the remaining parcel(s) on Etz Meloy it will all "officially" become part of Backbone Trail.

    I don't know about a gate problem, other than the same ol' gate at the west end of Etz Meloy. I was planning to ride in that general area today but something came up and I didn't go.
    Last edited by LadyDi; 10-19-2013 at 11:57 PM. Reason: Clarification
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyDi View Post
    Etz Meloy has an easement issue. No, there is NOT A SIGN at the top of Encinal Backbone that turns back recreational users, at least not anymore. Here's a recent photo (taken three weeks ago):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And an article, note the area on the map circled in red. I had a conversation at Circle X with a friendly ranger back in 2011. His information was spot-on with the linked article above. When the Park Service acquires the remaining parcel(s) on Etz Meloy it will all "officially" become part of Backbone Trail.

    I don't know about a gate problem, other than the same ol' gate at the west end of Etz Meloy. I was planning to ride in that general area today but something came up and I didn't go.
    Thanks for the clarification and the picture; I didn't think there was a sign stating Etz Meloy was restricted as I don't normally poach on private property. The "new" gate in the West end of Etz Meloy at Yerba Buena now has a smaller gate covering the portion you used to be able to ride through.

  6. #6
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    So, today I spent some time discussing the tightened gate issue with CORBA leadership. They are aware and trying to sort things out. If/when I know more I will PM you, Danger Bob.
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    I heard from the guys at the new bike & brew place on Kanan Road (is that the name of the place???) that the gate went up because someone had an accident there and the property owners want to restrict entry to keep that from happening again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    I heard from the guys at the new bike & brew place on Kanan Road (is that the name of the place???) that the gate went up because someone had an accident there and the property owners want to restrict entry to keep that from happening again.
    That's what I was afraid of.
    The shop is called JRA Bikes & Brew, good place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    I heard from the guys at the new bike & brew place on Kanan Road (is that the name of the place???) that the gate went up because someone had an accident there and the property owners want to restrict entry to keep that from happening again.
    When I rode there on Saturday and discovered the locked gate, my riding buddy, who is an insurance agent, guessed it was done for liability issues. This being such a litigious society, coupled with the fact that judges normally find for the plaintiff on a private property accident, makes this somewhat understandable. Since it would be impractical for every person who wishes to pass over the property to sign a waiver indemnifying the owner(s) against liability, I wonder if by putting up the barrier and posting the trespassing sign, that the owner(s) haven't now sufficiently given clear notice that one passes over the property at their own risk, thereby indemnifying themselves against anyone who crosses over or around the gate (at their own risk)? Are there any real estate lawyers or other qualified MTBR's out there who could weigh in here?

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    If you read the signs posted, you will see that passage is allowed with the owner's permission, so it's not meant to stay out all together. BTW, why do private parties own sections of a hill where connector/utility roads are in place??? Seems like they should sell those sections of property to the state parks or someone like that and be done with it.
    Last edited by Hawg; 10-21-2013 at 05:40 PM.

  11. #11
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    Maye some of those trails that side of 101 could be made part of "Rim of the Valley Corridor"
    ...

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    @PerfectZero - I don't know how much of Etz Meloy is private, it's just not open to public use - or so I thought. LadyDi, however, is 100% right, and I'm only 80% right. There is now a nearly 3,000 foot long section of Etz Meloy that IS open to public use. I was told the state could not negotiate an easement agreement with that one property owner as they had hoped to do, so they paid the additional money to purchase the land outright. There are two remaining blockages between the newly-opened 3,000 foot section and Yerba Buena, but those negotiations are on-going. I'm not an "interested party" in those discussions, and I don't know how they're going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottR1 View Post
    @PerfectZero - I don't know how much of Etz Meloy is private, it's just not open to public use - or so I thought. LadyDi, however, is 100% right, and I'm only 80% right. There is now a nearly 3,000 foot long section of Etz Meloy that IS open to public use. I was told the state could not negotiate an easement agreement with that one property owner as they had hoped to do, so they paid the additional money to purchase the land outright. There are two remaining blockages between the newly-opened 3,000 foot section and Yerba Buena, but those negotiations are on-going. I'm not an "interested party" in those discussions, and I don't know how they're going.
    Thanks for the info, that's good to know. It's only a matter of time now....

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    Quote Originally Posted by rolling thunder View Post
    maybe we should file for a prescriptive easement...
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    Of the last couple of times I've been up there, the small side / pass through gate has been locked... A real PITA, being I was by myself / had to turn around. If you ride with a buddy or two, you should be able to pass the bikes over the large gate. For those unfamiliar with this section. Its maybe 100yds east from the main gate / I'd guess its a 100ft or so section (of Melroy Mtn Way) with H20 tanks located on the sides of the fireroad. Its been marked with no NT signs since I can remember. Sure would be nice to get this issue resolved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottR1 View Post
    ... look at the closures on Newton Motorway and Puerco Canyon..
    I just rode part of Puerco for the first time in 14 or so years and noticed all the fencing including one across the road that was open.

    I'm hijacking the thread a bit, but what's the access status riding from Puerco into Malibu State Park?

  18. #18
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    From the top of Puerco you can either head west on Castro Crest Motorway, past Corral Canyon, to drop into the park on Bulldog, or you can head north down Mesa Peak Motorway, which dumps out on Las Virgenes. There's a little section of singletrack near the bottom of Mesa Peak Motorway, on the left, but if you skip it and stay on the motorway HIT THE BRAKES long before you see the traffic on Las Virgenes - there's a serious gate at the bottom, with no ride-around, and the steep descent just before the gate is frequently covered with loose kitty litter, death cookies, and ruts. From the bottom of the motorway, or the parking lot at the east end of the singletrack, head north on Las Virgenes to Tapia Park (just across the bridge) and head west through Tapia Park. The Tapia Spur Trail heads north from the western end of Tapia Park, a couple hundred feet northeast of the Salvation Army Camp gate - to the right, as you're looking at the gate. Tapia Spur goes up and over the ridge to the north, and dumps you into Malibu Creek State Park at the east end of the campground.

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    CA Codes (civ:840-848)

    California does have a recreational use statute that encourages landowners to allow free public recreational use of their land by granting immunity from the most likely types of lawsuits, such as negligence. In Civil Code section 846 the "no duty" part allows a landowner to demur to a negligence complaint (document that starts the lawsuit) which can end the case within the first 60 days before the landowner has to pay huge sums fighting the lawsuit. A successful landowner can then get costs from the unsuccessful plaintiff, which includes a few hundred dollars in filings fees but not attorney's fees. Most attorneys who are asked to sue a landowner based on negligence accusations are going to decline unless the injured person was not a recreational user, was paying the landowner for access to the land, or was injured by some intentional hazard placing the injured person at risk.

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    i assume that anyone who posted to this site almost two months ago will know by now that the gate is now open,which i just found out. I didn't go to see this myself; I was riding from Encinal parking lot to T-1 and back yesterday, having studiously avoided the backbone trail heading toward Yerba Buena and the closed gate the past two months. A guy in the parking lot said it was now open, with no longer a small locked gate prohibiting passage. So I will start riding Backbone to Mishe Mokwa again!

  21. #21
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    That's great news!!!!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DangerBob View Post
    A guy in the parking lot said it was now open, with no longer a small locked gate prohibiting passage. So I will start riding Backbone to Mishe Mokwa again!
    Confirmed! We rode through it today.

    Thanks to the anyone involved in making it happen!
    So Cal Rod

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    We rode it on Friday. The new gate itself was not open but the blockage on the hillside of the gate has been removed, allowing easy passage while in the saddle.

  24. #24
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    Closure at Encinal Canyon/Backbone trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    We rode it on Friday. The new gate itself was not open but the blockage on the hillside of the gate has been removed, allowing easy passage while in the saddle.
    One of these days I'll get out there with you guys. One of the best SM Mtns. rides.

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    the road is open. The pedestrian gate is still there but locked up against the vehicle entry gate. we are good for now...

  26. #26
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    Update: I rode through there this past Saturday. The side of the big gate was open allowing easy passage as we passed through heading West. On our return to pass through, there was a Park Ranger parked in his vehicle right at the gate. We walked our bikes up the hill to the gate and greeted the Ranger. He said that this is private property and that we need to have the owner's permission in order to pass through. He asked if we knew the owner. I said no but that I had said hi him him a few times before as I passed through there when he was standing nearby. The Ranger then stated something to the effect, "well, it's not my property so...". We then said goodbye to him and proceeded onward through the side of the gate and he drove away.

  27. #27
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    Thanks for the up date, its a great trail that takes you all over the place.
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    Weird that a Ranger was there, I wonder what is going on with the owner? Is he/she adverse to our passage or not? My vague understanding was that the owner is NOT the guy whose house you see right at the driveway (who has the nice cars), but some elderly woman. I am writing this mainly in the hope that I get added back to the thread since I started it, but have t gotten a notification lately. Maybe posting again will do the trick. Hope I don't get there next time to find the gate closed again!

  29. #29
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    Having lived on 1500 acres most of my life here in So. Cal., my general rule is: You're good to go if gates are open and there are no no-trespassing signs. If people don't want trespassers, they'll fence property, keep gates closed and post signs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    Having lived on 1500 acres most of my life here in So. Cal., my general rule is: You're good to go if gates are open and there are no no-trespassing signs. If people don't want trespassers, they'll fence property, keep gates closed and post signs.
    OK, here's a wrench in the gears for you. If you haven't already seen the big white, swinging gate, there is a ped access area on one side of it and I believe that there is an attachment that can block that access if the land owner so chooses to use it. The ped access was open when we went through both times that day.

    However, there are signs posted at the property edge on both sides of the gate. They say something like this: "Private property. Permission to pass only by owner's consent".

    There was a huge Park Ranger guided group that had just passed through the gate when we got there. None of them said anything to us about passing through or using that as an access point.

    It does not say "No trespassing, KEEP OUT!"

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    Legal question (I'm not a lawyer):

    Say you endo on the square foot of private property and paralyze your tuchas. You sue the owner, claiming this square foot was hazardous, could have been made non hazardous, but wasn't, so the owner is negligent and liable.

    But the defense argues that the private property was clearly marked "no trespassing without permission", and since you trespassed without permission the owner had no duty to make the square foot hazard free.

    If this is true then the owner (or his insurance) may not need to worry, and could explain the lack of razor wire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rolling thunder View Post
    Legal question (I'm not a lawyer):

    Say you endo on the square foot of private property and paralyze your tuchas. You sue the owner, claiming this square foot was hazardous, could have been made non hazardous, but wasn't, so the owner is negligent and liable.

    But the defense argues that the private property was clearly marked "no trespassing without permission", and since you trespassed without permission the owner had no duty to make the square foot hazard free.

    If this is true then the owner (or his insurance) may not need to worry, and could explain the lack of razor wire.
    Good question. The passage has long been known as a means to connect two sections of the Backbone Trail system together w/o using roads. I'm sure the land owner understands and appreciates the importance of that.

    However, I heard that this new big, fancy white fence/gate went up not long ago because somebody did indeed fall and get injured within the limits of the land owner's property. Before the fancy new gate was there, I believe there was just one of those yellow, large diameter tubular gates in it's place there. Like you would see at any blocked dirt road where motor vehicle use is prohibited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    OK, here's a wrench in the gears for you. If you haven't already seen the big white, swinging gate, there is a ped access area on one side of it and I believe that there is an attachment that can block that access if the land owner so chooses to use it. The ped access was open when we went through both times that day.

    However, there are signs posted at the property edge on both sides of the gate. They say something like this: "Private property. Permission to pass only by owner's consent".

    There was a huge Park Ranger guided group that had just passed through the gate when we got there. None of them said anything to us about passing through or using that as an access point.

    It does not say "No trespassing, KEEP OUT!"
    But, who owns the ped access? Just because someone acts like they own it, doesn't mean that they do. Just yesterday one of my friends told me that he was riding on the trail At Lost Canyons and Tapo Canyon in Simi Valley. He was at the top at the Y in the fire road and some chick on a horse stopped him and told him to leave because she owned the property. He told her to basically, go pound sand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    But, who owns the ped access? Just because someone acts like they own it, doesn't mean that they do. Just yesterday one of my friends told me that he was riding on the trail At Lost Canyons and Tapo Canyon in Simi Valley. He was at the top at the Y in the fire road and some chick on a horse stopped him and told him to leave because she owned the property. He told her to basically, go pound sand.
    Are you implying that somebody else could possibly own the ped access on private property that does not belong to them, like a "cooperative"?

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    It could be a public easement. Like easements that exist between homes that are along the beach in California, so people have access to the beach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    It could be a public easement. Like easements that exist between homes that are along the beach in California, so people have access to the beach.
    It's not an easement. That has been discussed in the past.

    The problem with this is that below the gate is a paved road that supplies the 2 house there vehicle access on and off their property. Then after the gate where the dirt road begins, the property owner owns about 50'-100' of the dirt road.

    There really is no easy fix here. We will always be "trespassing" to get through there, simply by going up the driveway.

    The only thing that COULD remedy this issue would be if the Park built a new connector trail that bypasses the private property.

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    Yeah, there is a gate at the pedestrian access that was closed and padlocked when we first encountered it in October, which was the cause if my first post. It was open the last time we passed through and is apparently open most of the time now from the posts I've read. Hoping it will stay open and it's closure not be subject to the whims of whoever owns the land the easement is on. I assume the easement is for the Fire Dept and public emergency vehicles to gain access to Etz Meloy Motorway, and we have so far been in lured in those who have been granted access by the owner(s).

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    Any updates on the gate?

    I went up with my son and rode from Yerba Buena Road to 2.75 miles towards the west and came back. So, I was nearby.

    The driveway of the two propertes has been freshly coated with a black slurry and the fence is white as it was back a few months ago. Signs are posted clearly stating what others have already mentioned. I went up as far as the signs to see if the little gate to the side was opened. It was closed, but I didn't go past the signs to verify that it was locked. I was a good 50 feet away. I didn't want to push my luck.

    Anyone ridden to the gate from the top of Encinal recently to verify if the gate is locked or unlocked?

    Cheers.
    So Cal Rod

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    Quote Originally Posted by teachndad View Post
    Any updates on the gate?

    I went up with my son and rode from Yerba Buena Road to 2.75 miles towards the west and came back. So, I was nearby.

    The driveway of the two propertes has been freshly coated with a black slurry and the fence is white as it was back a few months ago. Signs are posted clearly stating what others have already mentioned. I went up as far as the signs to see if the little gate to the side was opened. It was closed, but I didn't go past the signs to verify that it was locked. I was a good 50 feet away. I didn't want to push my luck.

    Anyone ridden to the gate from the top of Encinal recently to verify if the gate is locked or unlocked?

    Cheers.
    Was the little area you can walk around the gate (on the right looking uphill) blocked by an extra extension of gate? If so, we are locked out. If the space was open, go for it.

    It is my understanding that the owner cannot legally blocked all from passing through. That is an access road. The technicality is whether the owner grants permission. IMO, I have permission since all I am doing is passing through even though I have never met nor seen the owner. Every time I go through there, I see other parties using that section as a passage as well. So, I wouldn't worry about it.

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    Contact with property owner

    On 7/19 the small gate was open. The signs reading "Private property. Permission to pass only by owner's consent" were there.

    Last Saturday (9/6) the small gate was locked.
    I was there with my riding buddy and we did not want to turn back after riding all the way from Encinal Canyon Rd., so we lifted our bikes over the gate. As we were doing that a man was leaving from the upper house driving a large black pickup. I assume he is the owner of the property.

    He stopped to talk to us and let us know we were trespassing. We talked for a bit. He seems like a very nice guy and was not at all confrontational, just a bit frustrated with the amount of trail use traffic at his driveway. His biggest concern seemed to be the lack of privacy resulting from all the traffic.

    He claimed that he has been working with the park service and that they had agreed to build a trail section that would get the trail users off his driveway. But it has been over a year since and nothing has happened. That is why he has started locking the gate.

    I sympathize with his situation. If there is anything the mountain biking community can do to get this situation resolved I think we should. Apparently the new trail section being planned is also on his property, but away from the driveway and the houses.

    If the problem is related to funding for the trail construction, perhaps it could be done by volunteers? I would certainly be happy to help out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by msebast View Post
    On 7/19 the small gate was open. The signs reading "Private property. Permission to pass only by owner's consent" were there.

    Last Saturday (9/6) the small gate was locked.
    I was there with my riding buddy and we did not want to turn back after riding all the way from Encinal Canyon Rd., so we lifted our bikes over the gate. As we were doing that a man was leaving from the upper house driving a large black pickup. I assume he is the owner of the property.

    He stopped to talk to us and let us know we were trespassing. We talked for a bit. He seems like a very nice guy and was not at all confrontational, just a bit frustrated with the amount of trail use traffic at his driveway. His biggest concern seemed to be the lack of privacy resulting from all the traffic.

    He claimed that he has been working with the park service and that they had agreed to build a trail section that would get the trail users off his driveway. But it has been over a year since and nothing has happened. That is why he has started locking the gate.

    I sympathize with his situation. If there is anything the mountain biking community can do to get this situation resolved I think we should. Apparently the new trail section being planned is also on his property, but away from the driveway and the houses.

    If the problem is related to funding for the trail construction, perhaps it could be done by volunteers? I would certainly be happy to help out.
    I'm glad he wasn't aggressive. Seems like a reasonable guy. We've also lifted our bikes over his gate while he was watching from the driveway. He didn't say anything to us.

    It would seem that he realizes that we aren't there to cause any trouble, we just want to continue on.

    Other than knowing that people are coming through there, I wonder what he meant by lack of privacy. I can't imagine anyone passing through would care at all what's going on there.

    I'm very happy to hear that there has been an OK to build a bypass trail system. This is the news that needed to get out for the biking community to hear, something I've been hoping and waiting for. If anything can be done legally at this point, I will bet it will start happening soon.

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    Any one know if there has been any progress made on this? Now that the weather is cooler I really want to try this ride but don't want to hinder any progress made by climbing over a locked gate.

  43. #43
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    I rode there last Sunday the 12th. Wide open and GO~!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    I rode there last Sunday the 12th. Wide open and GO~!

    Thanks. I did end up riding this and got through, no problem. Not sure if the problem is necessarily fixed though. There are still signs up that say no trespassing and what not. Also looks like another vehicle gate is about to go up that wouldn't leave much room to get around.

    I will be staying away from that until it all gets sorted out.

    Beautiful ride though.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickbrown View Post
    Thanks. I did end up riding this and got through, no problem. Not sure if the problem is necessarily fixed though. There are still signs up that say no trespassing and what not. Also looks like another vehicle gate is about to go up that wouldn't leave much room to get around.

    I will be staying away from that until it all gets sorted out.

    Beautiful ride though.
    Was the big white gate open all the way or was it just the side pedestrian gate section open?

    Also, where is the new gate going in? Below it? Above it?

    Thanks!

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    The white gate was closed, but there was nothing next to it keeping you from walking around it.

    The new gate will be going a bit further up the fire road, away from the houses. I recon this is where the private property starts.

    You can ride through these areas but they don't seem resolved in any way.

  47. #47
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    Really want to do this ride again but hate getting to the gate and not being able to get through. I too respect the land owner's rights so I can't wait until the bypass gets started.

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    Please post updates. This is a great ride an we drive all the way from Valencia to do it. I want to come back but not if we are going to be turned away. I too will help with any trail diversion that needs to be put in. Its a great ride and a lot of fun for all levels.

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    THERE IS A HUGE *NEW* FENCE!! The white one is still there and my group and I rode around it Sunday, only to be surprised by a huge new, tall must-have-cost-a-mint-to-install gray fence that definitely keeps everyone out. They even put up a two-by-four piece of wood to help ensure that no one even thinks to scramble up the rocky west side to get around it. While we've gotten over the white one previously, getting up and over this one would be a serious stunt. We turned around, totally bummed, and let all the other riders we saw coming our way that unless they're fans of just doing that fire road, to turn around and get more miles back toward Kanan if they were so inclined.

    There's really no reason for us to drive all the way out to Malibu for JUST the last section off of Yerba Buena, even though it's a nice trail. I'm all for finding a way to build a little single track off of the fire road that dumps out across from the next section of Backbone and stays away from private property. It's a shame that the Backbone trail has been cut off at the knees here...

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAdv View Post
    THERE IS A HUGE *NEW* FENCE!! The white one is still there and my group and I rode around it Sunday, only to be surprised by a huge new, tall must-have-cost-a-mint-to-install gray fence that definitely keeps everyone out. They even put up a two-by-four piece of wood to help ensure that no one even thinks to scramble up the rocky west side to get around it. While we've gotten over the white one previously, getting up and over this one would be a serious stunt. We turned around, totally bummed, and let all the other riders we saw coming our way that unless they're fans of just doing that fire road, to turn around and get more miles back toward Kanan if they were so inclined.

    There's really no reason for us to drive all the way out to Malibu for JUST the last section off of Yerba Buena, even though it's a nice trail. I'm all for finding a way to build a little single track off of the fire road that dumps out across from the next section of Backbone and stays away from private property. It's a shame that the Backbone trail has been cut off at the knees here...
    So then it's finally happened,..we are locked out. Two things we can do.

    1) Approach the guy living in that house and ask him for permission to pass through
    2) Contact whoever owns the surrounding land (State Parks?) and get things rolling for a bypass trail system

    I have a hunch that the State Park Rangers still have the OK to get through there for their guided tours... Maybe they have a key or a code?

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