El Prieto Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,262' 385 m
Descent: -1,263' -385 m
High: 2,396' 730 m
Low: 1,156' 352 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
Current trail conditions
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“A fire road climb and a fun downhill singletrack.”— Alex Johnson
- El Prieto features blind corners with extreme height exposure. Use a bell.
- This loop is part of a multi-use trail network popular with hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. Cyclists should yield (slow down, say hi!) to hikers and stop for equestrians.
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.