Backbone Trail - Puerco Canyon Road Loop
ElevationAscent: 4,251' 1,296 m
Descent: -4,249' -1,295 m
High: 2,264' 690 m
Low: 35' 11 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)
Popular rides nearby
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“Killer Backbone Trail singletrack to Corral Canyon panorama with a descent to the ocean and back.”— Chris Sip
Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown
Need to Know
- As mapped, this is a full 26-mile loop, but it's also possible to complete as a much shorter shuttled option.
- Bring lots of water or refill somewhere down on the PCH.
The trailhead parking is on the right, just before the tunnel on Kanan going south. The first section requires a tough climb on loose rocky trail that is not representative of the rest of this great ride. It probably will require a hike-a-bike unless you're a great climber. After crossing over the tunnel, there is a flowy downhill section until you reach a private road crossing. The trail here continues up with a section of downhill and then finally climbs until Latigo Canyon Road about 2.1 miles from the start.
When you reach Latigo Canyon Road, cross the street to the other trailhead and look for the singletrack. A short climb, then some nice downhill with shade is up next. That feeds into a tough climb on some loose trail that takes you up to the Newton Motorway about another two miles from Latigo Canyon Road. Here riders will descend down the saddle on some technical downhill and into a shady section with lots of flow and rocky creek crossings.
Coming out of this is a mild climb and you'll eventually reach an intersection with another fire road. Here, continue on and look for the Backbone Trail singletrack that takes you all the way to the Corral Canyon trailhead about 4.2 miles from Latigo Canyon Road. This is a good spot to turn around, explore more of the Backbone Trail, or take the Puerco Motorway and Puerco Canyon Road down to the ocean as mapped.
If you do venture down to the water below, a quick walk down to the beach makes a nice end to the ride if you've shuttled. Or it makes a nice break before continuing onto a grueling climb back up Corral Canyon Road, a little west from here along the PCH. Climbing Corral Canyon Rd. is really tough, expect over an hour of brutal mashing of the pedals.