Can anybody out there give recommendations re: Figueroa Mountain trails (Santa Barabara backcountry, Los Padres Nat'l Forest)? We've been up there on a couple different road trips trying to orient ourselves using an old trail map. Haven't mtb'd it yet, but we'll be back soon for it's reeeeeally pretty. I'd like to find a decent loop to lead my women's club (plus associated males) on. I won't do this until I've had the chance to ride it myself at least twice.
Most of the girls are Low Intermediate-level riders, so I'd rather avoid scary exposures and highly technical trails while maximizing dirt time. Looks like we'll do a ton of pavement climbing no matter what. Climbing steep ST isn't a good choice for this group.
My two main choices (so far):
1) Start at Ranger Saddle, East Pinery to the end, Munch Canyon ST (or dirt access road?) down to Sunset Valley Rd, climb back up to Cachuma Saddle and back to Ranger Saddle, 9.7 mi & 2,000 ft of climbing. Seems kinda short, tho.
2) Start at Catway Picnic, climb Catway, Descend Jeepway, then climb Sunset Valley Rd, right at Cachuma Saddle and climb Figueroa Mountain Rd to Ranger Saddle, then descend back to the cars for a 17 mi ride w/ 3,000 ft of climbing. Better length, incredibly scenic, but no ST at all in this loop
I'm also considering shuttling them up from Mattei's Taven and then, after completing the loop I settle on, letting them coast all the way back down to Los Olivos. Depends on how many riders we have. Our groups tend to be fairly small.
Enlightenment would be greatly appreciated. Is Jeepway fun to descend? How dangerous are the hunters? What's the smoothest way down to Sunset Rd from the end of E. Pinery? The aerial/satellite views of that area are really criss-crossy confusing and don't match our trail map at all.
Thanks so much in advance!
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Thread: Figueroa Mountain trails?