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  1. #1
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    Big Sur dirt routes

    I'm staying in Big Sur for two nights with some family a few days after Thanksgiving and planning on bringing a bike with me. I've ridden that stretch of Highway 1 before from Monterey to Lucia on a tour, so I'm looking to do something more than road rides on 1. I'm guessing it wouldn't be a good idea to bring my full-suspension? I did some research, and seems like there are some fire roads, and plenty of hiking trails, but no legal singletrack as far as I could tell in the state parks. Anything I missed as far as MTB?

    If there's no singletrack to be found, I'm thinking of bringing my steel cross bike and riding some gravel. I saw Old Coast Rd on Trailforks and will probably ride that, also saw some fire roads in out of Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Plaskett on Strava, but the grades seem a little steep. Any advice on routes? Preferably routes that can be ridden from Big Sur proper. I might be able to squeeze a shuttle out of the family for a point-to-point ride too.

  2. #2
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    There's Prewitt Ridge, especially if you can get a shuttle.
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    There's Prewitt Ridge, especially if you can get a shuttle.
    Interesting, I hadn't heard of that! I googled that and found the route on MTBProject https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/510...ewitt-ridge-dh. Looks really fun. That might be a pretty long shuttle drive though... Looks like the road to the top is a ways off of the top of Nacimiento-Ferguson. I had to climb that road on my bike tour (it was last November before the highway reopened), would be slow driving I think.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    There's Prewitt Ridge, especially if you can get a shuttle.
    Yep. Combine with Plaskett - Fun. Scenic. STEEP!

    Ride up Nacimeinto-Ferguson>Coast Rd>Right turns.....
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    Off of the Old Coast Road is the Little Sur Trail. It is not for the faint of heart, expect some brush, PO, and deadfall but the reward is great scenery on tight singletrack, old growth redwoods if you get far enough. Trailhead is maybe 3-4 miles south of the Bixby Bridge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafekett View Post
    Interesting, I hadn't heard of that! I googled that and found the route on MTBProject https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/510...ewitt-ridge-dh. Looks really fun. That might be a pretty long shuttle drive though... Looks like the road to the top is a ways off of the top of Nacimiento-Ferguson. I had to climb that road on my bike tour (it was last November before the highway reopened), would be slow driving I think.

    There is a YouTube vid of some DHers doing this trail and debating whether the logistics were worth the ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    There is a YouTube vid of some DHers doing this trail and debating whether the logistics were worth the ride.
    Hour+ shuttle from the intersection of Hwy 1and NF Rd. Amazing views along the wayBig Sur dirt routes-img_0170.jpg
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    Hour+ shuttle from the intersection of Hwy 1and NF Rd. Amazing views along the wayClick image for larger version. 

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    You'll be starting from here
    cool - is that near Prewitt Ridge campground?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    cool - is that near Prewitt Ridge campground?
    Short answer, yes. It's not a campground per say - more a bunch of spots where dispersed camping is allowed.Big Sur dirt routes-fullsizeoutput_3e4.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Big Sur dirt routes-img_0173.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by fourarm View Post
    Off of the Old Coast Road is the Little Sur Trail. It is not for the faint of heart, expect some brush, PO, and deadfall but the reward is great scenery on tight singletrack, old growth redwoods if you get far enough. Trailhead is maybe 3-4 miles south of the Bixby Bridge.
    Gotta ask.. Have you ridden it?

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    Wanted to share a useful thread I was reading this weekend about Little Sur Trail Ventana Wilderness Forums - Little Sur Trail. Sparse information, but the trail does seem to still be there. At this point I am pretty sold I will ride Old Coast Rd on my trip (though probably as a loop, starting from Bixby Bridge for the warmup and gentler grades), and will check out this trail as much as I can. From the trail reports (I actually read all 10 pages going back to 2009), it seems like the trail will be easily passable for the first few miles until it enters Ventana Wilderness proper. USFS has a topo map https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf...a/?recid=10974.

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    Be sure to post a recon report.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourarm View Post
    Off of the Old Coast Road is the Little Sur Trail. It is not for the faint of heart, expect some brush, PO, and deadfall but the reward is great scenery on tight singletrack, old growth redwoods if you get far enough. Trailhead is maybe 3-4 miles south of the Bixby Bridge.

    How could that possibly be, uh 'legal'? Also didn't the Soberanes fire come through there? I'm pretty sure it came right up to the Old Coast Road at some point. RE: OCR - boring dirt road if my memory from 1995 holds true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    How could that possibly be, uh 'legal'? Also didn't the Soberanes fire come through there? I'm pretty sure it came right up to the Old Coast Road at some point. RE: OCR - boring dirt road if my memory from 1995 holds true.
    The portion in Ventana Wilderness is definitely not legal for a bike, it's wilderness. As far as the portion before, I'm not sure what it is -- the trail reports from the link I posted mostly seem to indicate that there is an easement from El Sur Ranch, and the trail is on the USFS map, but other than that most of what people say about that segment is it seems the landowners are trying to keep folks out. The report from Feb 2018 says "The start of the trail is marked by a wooden door that allows passage thorugh an otherwise scary barbed wire fence that lines both sides of Old Coast Road. This door is currently nailed shut (from behind) with a sign that says the trail is washed out, closed and the land is private. Once over the fence, the trail descends..." Kinda makes it sound like they hopped the fence.

    It's a dirt road, but it looks like I'm bringing the cross bike anyway I already got the "no" from the family on whether they'd shuttle me up Nacimiento-Ferguson. I've climbed that road and it's not bad (especially minus touring bags and with eagle gearing), but I don't think I will bite this time, especially because there are a few more stops on the trip where the cross bike would be more useful.

    Thanks for the advice all, sounds like this will be an adventure -- keep the beta coming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    Gotta ask.. Have you ridden it?
    Been awhile but yes, several times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    How could that possibly be, uh 'legal'? Also didn't the Soberanes fire come through there? I'm pretty sure it came right up to the Old Coast Road at some point. RE: OCR - boring dirt road if my memory from 1995 holds true.
    Pico Blanco.

    DH40, it's not, but is actually kind of "is"... If you look on the map, it's shows national forest all around and wilderness does not start until east of Palo Colorado. But it's the private property- that is the issue. And since we are on the subject, the entitled land owners are the biggest issue anywhere in Big Sur. It's like, there are no cops around to police the boundaries, and when you are in questionable areas, it's always some person, mostly a rancher, landowner etc.. challenging your presence. Case in point- Above Pfeiffer, there is the Coast Ridge road, which was and still is very much so a through route that heads to Ferguson Rd, that is there for fire prevention and typical forest access. Great gravel ride and I've tried to tour it. I was cussed at, threatened with violence, told I was to leave and so on. My argument was that I was on public property.
    So Little Sur? No Thanks. I've seen cars at that parking spot/bridge with windows broken out, and their tires slashed. That road and the residents are in no way welcoming to outsiders.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    Pico Blanco.

    DH40, it's not, but is actually kind of "is"... If you look on the map, it's shows national forest all around and wilderness does not start until east of Palo Colorado. But it's the private property- that is the issue. And since we are on the subject, the entitled land owners are the biggest issue anywhere in Big Sur. It's like, there are no cops around to police the boundaries, and when you are in questionable areas, it's always some person, mostly a rancher, landowner etc.. challenging your presence. Case in point- Above Pfeiffer, there is the Coast Ridge road, which was and still is very much so a through route that heads to Ferguson Rd, that is there for fire prevention and typical forest access. Great gravel ride and I've tried to tour it. I was cussed at, threatened with violence, told I was to leave and so on. My argument was that I was on public property.
    So Little Sur? No Thanks. I've seen cars at that parking spot/bridge with windows broken out, and their tires slashed. That road and the residents are in no way welcoming to outsiders.
    That sounds about right.
    My brother has lived in Big Sur for decades, and yes, there is a lot of tension these days. Landowners (who may be growers, oldtime ranchers, or libertarian gunsmith hermits) are sick of the massive influx of BA techies in Priuses crawling all over everything in search of IG content. Locals also say AirBnB has 'killed the soul of Big Sur' because there is a big financial disincentive for a homeowner to rent a room or house to a permanent resident and most of the original non-landowning artists and hospitality workers have been forced out. I grew up over the hill from Big Sur in upper Carmel Valley and the whole area is being loved to death.

  18. #18
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    i am curious. truck, dirt, ride, hike
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    That sounds about right.
    I grew up over the hill from Big Sur in upper Carmel Valley.
    Ha. I had an Arrow sticker in my window on my old Nissan, and I came back from Carmel River camp in LPNF after three days to a note saying "really? why don't you gtfo and go back to San Jose where you came from".. They used the sticker to post the note on my drivers side window. I lived in PG.. There should be a beware of locals thread... Sh8ts real man.

  20. #20
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    ^^ Nice morse code.

  21. #21
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    My pics of the Coast Road (in an Outback). Also, consider Indians Road, past Memorial Campground. https://alpharoaming.com/2018/06/07/indians-road/

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by karld View Post
    My pics of the Coast Road (in an Outback). Also, consider Indians Road, past Memorial Campground. https://alpharoaming.com/2018/06/07/indians-road/
    Super cool! Thanks for the hobbit Mine link

    https://sites.google.com/site/hobbit...he-hobbit-mine

    Stories of Owsley LSD Hippie miners and stuff in the LPNF


    And for those that want to visit or get a feel for what's up down there, check out Big Sur Kate's blog:

    https://bigsurkate.blog/

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    Super cool! Thanks for the hobbit Mine link

    https://sites.google.com/site/hobbit...he-hobbit-mine

    Stories of Owsley LSD Hippie miners and stuff in the LPNF
    Wow, that's an awesome story-site! You grew up in CV? I ran away from Santa Cruz a few years ago to run my very own poison oak farm on Tassajara road. Some mighty interesting characters out this way...
    hold my beer...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtotheF View Post
    Wow, that's an awesome story-site! You grew up in CV? I ran away from Santa Cruz a few years ago to run my very own poison oak farm on Tassajara road. Some mighty interesting characters out this way...
    Ah nothing like an Oily Tassajara Redleaf! Yeah I grew up a bit past the Village and ran away to Santa Cruz way way back in 1980 as soon as I could get out. You wouldn't believe the hell-raising that went on in my youth in CV. We few skater/stoner/protopunkers held our own for the most part, but back then you were either a cowboy in a power wagon with a shotgun on the rack or you were The Hunted. I'll bet there are still descendants of the infamous Nason or Scardina tribes out there.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    We few skater/stoner/protopunkers held our own for the most part, but back then you were either a cowboy in a power wagon with a shotgun on the rack or you were The Hunted. I'll bet there are still descendants of the infamous Nason or Scardina tribes out there.....
    Still the same, prettymuch. Gets real ranch cowboy style from the village out to here, with vineyards pissing off the cowboys on one side, and pot growers pissing them off on the other. The local youth still get rowdy from time to time at the Running Iron. Still a few power wagons roaming the valley. Still plenty of Nasons around, not so many Scardinas, and a pile of Lamberts at the end of my road.
    hold my beer...

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    Hobbit mine is a spooky kind of place. Lot's of stories from there.

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    Wow-- had no idea about Owsley. We had our own out of mind experience around Alder Creek Camp + San Martin top. Lots of old mines and mining equipment round those parts, and a small population of folks living off the grid in mostly ramshackle houses who seem to be quite suspicious of outsiders. They certainly didn't seem to take kindly to our campping presence at Alder Creek campground. Given the condition of the road to the camp, we had to leave our friend's Honda parked at the top, and caught one of the locals on his ATV and camo investigating the car one morning, and abruptly fled the scene once he saw my truck. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some bodies buried round those parts! Perhaps when you've gone so far into left field that the weirdos and albinos run you out of the Santa Cruz mountains, you end up there!

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    Poor the OP is probably reconsidering his bike ride at this point..

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    Poor the OP is probably reconsidering his bike ride at this point..
    This thread is a long strange trip indeed

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtotheF View Post
    Still the same, prettymuch. Gets real ranch cowboy style from the village out to here, with vineyards pissing off the cowboys on one side, and pot growers pissing them off on the other. The local youth still get rowdy from time to time at the Running Iron. Still a few power wagons roaming the valley. Still plenty of Nasons around, not so many Scardinas, and a pile of Lamberts at the end of my road.
    HAHA cool, I went to school with Tom 'Little Bear' Nason and sideways look at how he became the leader of the First Nation up there. I do remember the Lambert name, but have no bad memories of that tribe. Anyway live and let live. Thanks for the little trip down memory gully.

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    The only thing he needs to reconsider, are the supplies he brings on his ride

    The views from Prewitt Ridge are second to none though-- even if it were a paved bike path the entire way down, it'd still be worth the ride. On a side note, tehre's also a trail in the canyon south of Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd called Old Mill trail. It used to run through all the way up the canyon, but it looks like the top could be overgrown now. If It was open all the way to the top, you could conceivably shuttle it as it's outside of Ventana wilderness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    Poor the OP is probably reconsidering his bike ride at this point..
    I'm actually more excited than before... Not sure what's wrong with me. Just need a good float plan, fortunately my family is used to me texting them with strange plans and instructions like "call the cops if you don't hear from me before..." And maybe some pepper spray.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haus Boss View Post
    The only thing he needs to reconsider, are the supplies he brings on his ride

    The views from Prewitt Ridge are second to none though-- even if it were a paved bike path the entire way down, it'd still be worth the ride. On a side note, tehre's also a trail in the canyon south of Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd called Old Mill trail. It used to run through all the way up the canyon, but it looks like the top could be overgrown now. If It was open all the way to the top, you could conceivably shuttle it as it's outside of Ventana wilderness.
    Boom. That's the one I have been trying to remember. Hell of a shuttle. But that trail is gnarly, exposed and a lot of hike a bike, get off and walk, with some overgrown but it has some spots that just do it for me.

    OP needs a helicopter

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafekett View Post
    I'm actually more excited than before... fortunately my family is used to me texting them with strange plans and instructions like "call the cops if you don't hear from me before..." And maybe some pepper spray.
    100% Mountain Biker right there

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtotheF View Post
    Wow, that's an awesome story-site! You grew up in CV? I ran away from Santa Cruz a few years ago to run my very own poison oak farm on Tassajara road. Some mighty interesting characters out this way...
    Maybe the most interesting character to grace Tasajara.

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