Art Smith trail? (Palm Springs area)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Art Smith trail? (Palm Springs area)

    So the Copp book, main book as far as I know for the area, says about the beginning of Art Smith:

    "From the Art Smith Trailhead parking area start riding north along the base of the levee to your right. The trail then swings left, crosses a small open area and you then start the moderately steep climb up a south facing slope. Soon the trail levels out a bit and heads north. Turn right when you see a Canyon Trail sign on your left."



    Okay, first I didn't have all that info so I biked around and around, but eventually found the trail by the levee. Then, I went up NOT "moderately steep climb". Instead I went up a super-crazy difficult singletrack (which may very well have been south facing) that I don't think a lot of people would do... I like uphills and I considered it twice. But I did it! Eventually I did get to what is later described as the Hopalong Cassidy Trail junction, so I know I was eventually on the right trail, and I did ride by the levee, so I started on the right place. I know I'm not the best rider and certainly can learn a lot more about technical riding, but "moderately steep climb" and "super-crazy difficult singletrack" are different.

    Am I just a horrible rider, or has the trail changed where it is?

    How do other people find going up that singletrack just after the levee - is that easy for everyone else? I basically got all the way up the main exposed part without stopping or putting a foot down, but lowered my Talas to do it, and that was about as much as I can handle as far as technical uphill and as far as conditioning. I may have put a foot down on one of the switchbacks - can't remember, those are pretty tight!

    To see exactly where I went, ignore the meanderings at the beginning and look at the trail after the two extremely straight parts, one at the bottom of the levee and then after the left turn. And there was one more exploration after the two straight parts, then it goes up the obviously steep part.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/26093416 (hit 'terrain' after opening the page)

  2. #2
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    I've ridden Art Smith in the down-hill direction only, as the final ending of the Palm Canyon Epic which starts up in Pinyon Pines. Even in the down-hill direction, Art Smith has plenty of up-down and hike-a-bikes,

    You can ride a trail in any direction you want, but the Art Smith trail-head at the top (where the tractors are) is accessible through either Dunn Road or from the Dry Wash that comes up from the PC trail, so folks can get to the top of Art Smith without having to climb Art Smith.....

    I guess what I'm saying is, some trails are best ridden in the down-hill direction, some can be ridden both ways, and some (i.e. fire-roads) should only be ridden up but not down. I think Art Smith is one of those that folks prefer to ride down but not up. Anyway, you did it.........and you survived and had fun thats what matters.

  3. #3
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    The Art Smith TH you're referring to is the new start. Yes, it's very steep but completely rideable end to end. I ride it out and back from PD every couple weeks - less now that the trail has been excessively maintenanced/sanitized further up. The old TH is further down the wash and fenced off.

    As mentioned above the preferred route is to hit it from Dunn Road.

    I checked out your garmin data... You did the worst part of the climb and turned around. Should have kept going a bit. It's a long way to Dunn Road.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, that was all the time I had! Too much futzing around trying to find it. I'll do it again . Okay, so its been moved, that makes sense aligning with what is in the book.

  5. #5
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    Hey - another thing I'm curious about is forks. Did you ride up it on a 160/150 or something that could be lowered?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LightMiner
    Hey - another thing I'm curious about is forks. Did you ride up it on a 160/150 or something that could be lowered?
    I ride a 5 Spot with a Revelation 150 U-turn - I rarely lower it. However I always lower it to climb up the first couple miles of Art Smith out of PD.

  7. #7
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    Yeah - its hard to believe someone could make it up that at 160. I have people at various bike stores telling me you don't need to lower a fork uphill if you know how to ride, I think they aren't riding the same trails I am .

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LncNuvue View Post
    The Art Smith TH you're referring to is the new start. Yes, it's very steep but completely rideable end to end. I ride it out and back from PD every couple weeks - less now that the trail has been excessively maintenanced/sanitized further up. The old TH is further down the wash and fenced off.

    As mentioned above the preferred route is to hit it from Dunn Road.

    I checked out your garmin data... You did the worst part of the climb and turned around. Should have kept going a bit. It's a long way to Dunn Road.
    Calling BS on this unless you're a big horn sheep or on an e-bike! Rode it yesterday as an out and back from PD, absolutely brutal trail. Was 50% hike a bike for me on the way out

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildMeff View Post
    Calling BS on this unless you're a big horn sheep or on an e-bike! Rode it yesterday as an out and back from PD, absolutely brutal trail. Was 50% hike a bike for me on the way out
    Based on my one time climbing part of it, I believe it is more than possible.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Based on my one time climbing part of it, I believe it is more than possible.
    I did the Art Smith end to end from Palm Desert up to the picnic tables on Dunn, and back out the way I came today. I'm an old school cross country racer circa late 90's that doesn't Strava because I know that I will never be as fast as I once was. The climbs are really chunky after the recent heavy rains. People that say that it is not doable must not ride with real endurance riders very often. They also don't understand why we ride light 2x and 3x short travel bikes. I got a bit of arm pump today because there are so many new step ups that require a lot of upper body work, but it can all be done with the right bike and talent.
    Lance Nuvue, the guy that was doing it on a long travel bike was a riding buddy and a stud. He hurt his back jumping something insanely big several years back, and he doesn't ride much anymore. I see him out in La Quinta Cove with his young son's riding club every now and then.

  11. #11
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    I'll gladly stand corrected!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildMeff View Post
    I'll gladly stand corrected!
    You are plenty fit if you did it all the way out and back. You may not have the right gearing and tire combo. Today, it seems like most people are way over biking for the downhill. You need the lowest gearing and a light full knobby tire. I run 24x42 with a 720g Nobby Nic. You have to be a god to get most of today's over 30lb. bikes up the Art Smith from the Palm Desert side. The old trailhead that Lance was talking about was brutal. Very few people rode up from the Palm Desert side before the new trailhead was done. It had some big drops that were dangerous after big rains. It was dangerous, but fun.

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