A great lollipop loop for an after work ride! This starts with a good fire road climb that rewards with an awesome singletrack downhill.
From the Windsor parking lot, head north past the Fire Danger sign and the yellow gate. This ride starts out smooth for the first mile, with a leisurely ride past the Jet Propulsion Lab campus and into the Angeles National Forest. Stay right at the fork, following signs for El Prieto Trail
and Fern Truck Trail
. After a creek crossing and a short climb, you'll come to a clearing where the El Prieto Trail
ends. Stay left on the fire road and get ready to start a 2.5-mile climb up Fern Truck Trail
The last quarter mile of Fern TT is relatively flat, and you'll know you've reached the saddle once you pass the hitching post. Rest, enjoy the view, and get ready for some fun. As you look out over Los Angeles, to the right is where you came from, behind you is upper Brown Mountain
Rd leading to the Ken Burton Trail
, and to your left is lower Brown Mountain
AKA the way to El Prieto Trail
Head down lower Brown Mountain
Rd for about a mile, keeping an eye out for the El Prieto Trailhead sign on the right. This stretch of Brown Mountain
is fast and fun, but can be overgrown at points.
El Prieto Trail
is a unique singletrack experience. Expect to find extreme height exposure, 180-degree switchbacks, stream crossings, mandatory drops, and rock gardens all within an oak-lined canyon. This is classic mountain biking with a challenge for everyone. Beginner level riders may choose to walk some technical sections, but the trail is rideable from beginning to end for experienced riders. Beware of poison oak along this trail, as it is present all year.
El Prieto has been re-routed three times, and there are two spur trails that lead up out of the canyon to the beginning of Brown Mountain
Road and The Meadows neighborhood, totaling five forks in the trail. The original trail is always to the right, taking you to the bottom of your Fern Truck Trail
climb. "The right way is the right way."
However, the first three splits are all re-routes that you might not even notice, since the popular option is towards the newer trail on the left. Few choose to ride the (more technical, slower) original route. Either way is fine. The fourth and fifth forks lead up to the ridge and neighborhood on the east side of the canyon, you'll want to be sure to stay to the right on those.
It's over too soon, and you finish the El Prieto Trail
right where you started your climb on Fern Truck Trail
, at what used to be the log jump. As you head back the way you started from and exit the first/last water crossing look to the left for some 'Extra Credit' singletrack.
is named for abolitionist John Brown, whose sons lived at its base. The canyons along the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains were popular vacation spots for early urban Angelenos and also for a time supported a thriving logging industry. The remains of these activities can be spotted as the occasional stretch of paved trail, stone steps to nowhere, and bare cabin foundations, as well as the debris check dams throughout the canyons.