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  1. #1
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    Santa Monica Mountains trail map(s)?

    I'm visiting LA in a month (from NJ) and I have 2 days of MTB penciled in. I'll be renting from Topanga Creek Bicycles and will likely spend the 2 days riding in that area. I know there's a lot of trail back there so I'd like to get a map that would help me make the most sense of it. Ideally I'd like to keep it to as much single track as possible.

    I've searched around but haven't come up with much in terms of a comprehensive map. I did download a bunch of GPX files from garmin connect and smashed them together which helps, but I still don't know what's what. If there are any good resources to be had please let me know!

    Also if anyone has a good loop or 2 they can share that would also be appreciated. I'll be starting day 1 around noon on a Friday, and I'll have from ~7am until 5 pm or so the following Saturday. Looking forward to seeing some west coast trails!
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    Here you go: Ventura County Trails

    Tons to peruse and print out.

  3. #3
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    Awesome! Thank you
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    No problem. Give me an idea of the type of riding you like to do and I can point you at a couple good bets.

  5. #5
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    XC is my style, a good mix of technical and flowy is always nice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlb81 View Post
    XC is my style, a good mix of technical and flowy is always nice.
    Then you will love Backbone up in Encinal Canyon. Circle X Ranch to Decker Canyon Road Area Trail Map and Descriptions

    Cheseboro and Space Mountain would be worth a look for you as well. If you want more technical, Chumash would be fun: Rocky Peak Area in Simi Valley Trail Map and Descriptions

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    Thanks. I suppose I should mention I'll be staying in Manhattan Beach so I was looking more towards the eastern side of the mountains. Though it looks like many of those trails aren't open to bikes. I need to go through that site a bit more and see what will give me the most for my travel time. Hope the bike fits in my rental!
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlb81 View Post
    Thanks. I suppose I should mention I'll be staying in Manhattan Beach so I was looking more towards the eastern side of the mountains. Though it looks like many of those trails aren't open to bikes. I need to go through that site a bit more and see what will give me the most for my travel time. Hope the bike fits in my rental!
    I live in Playa de Rey (just north of Manhattan Beach). The closest and best would be the Sullivan Ridge singletrack, known to locals as Upper Jedi. You can ride up Sullivan Ridge or Canyon or even Rustic Canyon and then over on dirt Mulholland to Car Crash or fly back down the ridge.

    This is my nearby go-to. Park over at Bayliss and Queensferry (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Bayli...h&z=16&iwloc=A) but please mind the signs and respect the local residents.

    Trail Map and Descriptions for Topanga State Park, Mulholland Gateway Park, Sullivan Canyon & Westridge-Canyonback Park

  9. #9
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    Topanga Creek bikes also goes on groups rides in the santa monicas frequently if you're renting from them.
    definite malingerer

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stencil View Post
    but please mind the signs and respect the local residents
    Of course man! I wouldn't want anyone coming on to "my" turf and being a dick, so I certainly wouldn't so that to a place I visit. Thanks for all of your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by PerfectZero View Post
    Topanga Creek bikes also goes on groups rides in the santa monicas frequently if you're renting from them.
    I'll check this out, though I'd worry about keeping up with the locals. I'm seeing a few climbs that have the same vertical I ride in a 15mi loop near home
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  11. #11
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    The classic trail stuff is located more on the Western end of the Santa Monica Mountain range.

    I would seriously consider doing a bit of driving to reach there if you're gonna drive over to Topanga anyway. It's the only way you're gonna see what So Cal ST is really all about.

    Considerations:
    *Chesebro Canyon
    *Backbone-Kanan Rd (west or east on the trail)
    *Backbone-Park at Encinal Cyn and head West
    *Big Sycamore Canyon

    The Eastern Santa Monicas feature short trail parts with fire road mixed in, not as much fun. The areas I am recommending feature a much higher percentage of ST.

    Whatever you choose, hook up with someone here to guide you through. If I'm around, I'd be happy to show you.
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  12. #12
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    Santa Monica Mountains trail map(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by ambassadorhawg View Post
    The classic trail stuff is located more on the Western end of the Santa Monica Mountain range.

    I would seriously consider doing a bit of driving to reach there if you're gonna drive over to Topanga anyway. It's the only way you're gonna see what So Cal ST is really all about.

    Considerations:
    *Chesebro Canyon
    *Backbone-Kanan Rd (west or east on the trail)
    *Backbone-Park at Encinal Cyn and head West
    *Big Sycamore Canyon

    The Eastern Santa Monicas feature short trail parts with fire road mixed in, not as much fun. The areas I am recommending feature a much higher percentage of ST.

    Whatever you choose, hook up with someone here to guide you through. If I'm around, I'd be happy to show you.
    This. All of it.

    That Backbone ride from Encinal to wherever (I like going up to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monicas) is probably a good one for you. Longer on distance (25mi round trip), manageable on the vertical (3,600). 20 and 2,500 if you stop at Yerba Buena. https://www.strava.com/rides/41449110

    Sycamore is fun, but a mix of fire road and ST. Guadalasca is one of the more fun technical descents IMHO. Two Foxes and Sin Nombre are fast, flowy singletracks. Here's a good ride: https://www.strava.com/rides/39537201 You can also start at the top of the canyon, but if you don't like to climb, "Black *****" will not be your friend.

    For a shorter ride, up Chumash/down Hummingbird is super fun, but that Chumash climb is kinda tough. That's about 9mi and 2,000ft of climbing. Hummingbird is pretty technical. https://www.strava.com/rides/43660798
    This is not in the Santa Monicas, but is close by.

    If you must stay on the east side, then Jedi is fun, but there's more mileage to be had on these trails just 10-15 min west of there (north in the case of Chumash).

    Feel free to PM with any questions.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlb81 View Post
    I'd worry about keeping up with the locals. I'm seeing a few climbs that have the same vertical I ride in a 15mi loop near home
    I wouldn't worry too much. The couple times I've seen them they usually have a pretty good mix.

    Just an obligatory word of caution though about LA traffic if you're staying in Manhattan Beach. On Friday afternoons you probably want to avoid driving anywhere near Santa Monica/West LA between 4 to 8pm if you can.
    definite malingerer

  14. #14
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    Thanks all! I'll be riding Fri 4/12 and Sat 4/13. I'll post closer to that time to see if anyone will be around. I don't think I'll be able to avoid that traffic getting back to the hotel on Fri evening, but oh well. I suppose driving a little further west to get to the good stuff wont be a problem since I'm already flying across the country.
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  15. #15
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    You have to try really really hard to have a bad day in the Santa Monicas. It's a great place to ride, for sure. If you're heading back via the 101, be sure to stop at Dan's Subs in West Hills for your post-ride meal. Everything I've ever had there is delicious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scvkurt03 View Post
    That Backbone ride from Encinal to wherever (I like going up to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monicas) is probably a good one for you. Longer on distance (25mi round trip), manageable on the vertical (3,600). 20 and 2,500 if you stop at Yerba Buena. https://www.strava.com/rides/41449110
    This is one of the best bits of singletrack in the area, especially the part just north of Mulholland up to the fire road. Highly recommended and as pointed out, worth the extra 30 minutes of driving.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stencil View Post
    This is one of the best bits of singletrack in the area, especially the part just north of Mulholland up to the fire road. Highly recommended and as pointed out, worth the extra 30 minutes of driving.
    I would also add to do that on your Friday ride, especially if you plan on going up to the peak. It can get a little crowded with hikers from YB to the peak on the weekend, but the ST between Encinal and YB is pretty much clear except for a couple of mtbers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scvkurt03 View Post
    I would also add to do that on your Friday ride, especially if you plan on going up to the peak. It can get a little crowded with hikers from YB to the peak on the weekend, but the ST between Encinal and YB is pretty much clear except for a couple of mtbers.
    True, except for the lower portion near the parking at Rattlesnake. Last time there were some kids hanging out near their pickup hitting rocks at cars with a baseball bat. Seriously. I gave them quite a look as I quickly moved my car away from them.

    EDIT: Just realized I think we were saying the same thing but I was too excited to tell the story about the rock-hitters.
    Last edited by stencil; 03-15-2013 at 01:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlb81 View Post
    I'm seeing a few climbs that have the same vertical I ride in a 15mi loop near home
    I'll be around and will happily show you any of the aforementioned trails. All are good recommendations. And I'm a slo-poke.

    I will be honest though, some of the suggested runs above will be pretty tough for someone without the conditioning for the climbing we have out here. Not that its impossible, but if you get so gassed on the ride that it becomes a slog rather than a ride, thats not really fun. For example, my local ride-from-home loop starts with 7 miles of climbing over 2500' of elevation (Sullivan Ridge). When I first moved from MI (where we measured climbs in FEET), it took me a month to build up the strength/endurance to make the climb.

    Don't worry about keeping up with local riders though. If you ride with any of us, we're pretty low key. I know exactly where we could go that would be a super "climbing friendly" run thats mostly singletrack and would show you some of the most spectacular views SoCal trails have to offer.

    Edit: Just realized that scvkurt03 made the same recommendation, though I've never gone all the way to Sandstone. I usually start at Kanan and ride towards Circle X and turn around.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  20. #20
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    Santa Monica Mountains trail map(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    I know exactly where we could go that would be a super "climbing friendly" run thats mostly singletrack and would show you some of the most spectacular views SoCal trails have to offer.
    Where's this? Been looking for a climbing friendly ride for my beginner friends and wife...
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    we're pretty low key.
    I dunno man, those pink socks you have are pretty core.
    definite malingerer

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by scvkurt03 View Post
    Where's this? Been looking for a climbing friendly ride for my beginner friends and wife...
    Backbone trail, parking at Encinal (I think its Encinal) and heading towards Circle X . . . the section with all the switchbacks. Baaaack and forth . . . . baaack and forth. It always amazes me how much elevation you gain with such little effort because its such a subtle grade. IMO, its probably the best beginner trail around because its actual singletrack though not technical and not steep.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  23. #23
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    Santa Monica Mountains trail map(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    Backbone trail, parking at Encinal (I think its Encinal) and heading towards Circle X . . . the section with all the switchbacks. Baaaack and forth . . . . baaack and forth. It always amazes me how much elevation you gain with such little effort because its such a subtle grade. IMO, its probably the best beginner trail around because its actual singletrack though not technical and not steep.
    Ahh - yeah, the first section from Encinal to Etz Meloy. Super fun coming down, too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    Backbone trail, parking at Encinal (I think its Encinal) and heading towards Circle X . . . the section with all the switchbacks. Baaaack and forth . . . . baaack and forth. It always amazes me how much elevation you gain with such little effort because its such a subtle grade. IMO, its probably the best beginner trail around because its actual singletrack though not technical and not steep.
    THIS.

    Also good relatively intermediate trails in Sycamore just a few miles north of Kanan right off of PCH. Only annoying thing is the $12 parking.

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    Santa Monica Mountains trail map(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by stencil View Post
    THIS.

    Also good relatively intermediate trails in Sycamore just a few miles north of Kanan right off of PCH. Only annoying thing is the $12 parking.
    Plenty of street parking on the beach side of PCH. I've never paid to park in the Sycamore lot.
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