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Horse Trail

 3.5 (4)

1.5 Miles 2.4 Kilometers


78' 24 m


-800' -244 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (18°)

2,088' 636 m


1,344' 410 m




Getting forecast...

A descent from Sunset Ridge Trail to Alta Loma Drive (an alternate route back to JPL parking).

loose-screw dull-tool

Dogs Unknown

Features -none-


At the junction of Sunset Ridge Road and Lower Sunset Ridge Trail, take the short, paved section west (down the front side). On the right you'll see a flat, open dirt area. The trail drops from the road on the far end.

This is a nice and challenging alternative to get back to the JPL parking lot, if you have done the Mount Wilson/SCOA shuttle, or to get back to the top of Lake Avenue, if you rode up Lower Sam Merrill Trail and down Sunset Trail.

UPPER PORTION: The trail is a winding singletrack descent with a number of switchbacks and some bermed corners. It is generally hard-packed with some sections of sandy/loose terrain. The trail varies from flowing to very rutted and rocky. Parts of the trail parallel a water pipe, which is, in places, exposed and may have very deep (12"-18") ruts alongside it.

After rains, these ruts become much more common and apparent. At the end of the upper section (where the trail crosses Chaney Trail Road), there is a small, unavoidable drop (due to the board retaining the trail), be careful here, not only because of vehicular traffic on the road, but also because of wooden piles set just out of sight below the drop, which can cause you to crash if you hit them.
Caution should be taken as there are the occasional local hikers and trail-runners, and the trail in areas is narrow with blind corners.

LOWER PORTION: The lower portion of this trail drops in directly across the road from the upper. Initially, it is a winding fire road/doubletrack descent, becoming a singletrack towards the end. There are several short but steep climbs along this section, as well as many loose-over-hard and sandy/dusty sections. The descents are fast and some are fairly steep.

The trail ends on Sunset Ridge Road, just outside the gated development; head left down the road, and it will take you to Alta Loma Drive. From there, you can either go left, back up to the top of Lake Avenue/Lower Sam Merrill, or you can go right to Lincoln Ave, where you can then ride along the road through the nearby neighborhood, back to the JPL parking lot.
Caution on this section, as there are occasionally individual and group horseback riders coming up from below.


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Mar 10, 2017
Alex Johnson
Feb 22, 2017
Alex Johnson
Nov 4, 2016
Alex Johnson

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Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 4 votes


in Arroyo Seco


  3.5 from 4 votes
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in Arroyo Seco


in California


37 Views Last Month
871 Since Sep 11, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

loose-screw dull-tool   California
Carson, With all due respect, you really need to get your facts straight. Only the lower portion of the Horse Trail (Below Chaney Trail Road), is part of ACT. it is clearly shown here on the gov map… Jun 26, 2017
loose-screw dull-tool   California
Just because it is part of/overlaps, ACT, does not make the name incorrect. This entire trail has been used as, and known as, "The Horse Trail" long before ACT came into being. I have been riding MTB in these hills for almost 25 yrs, and to the locals, it has always been known as "The Horse Trail", as it was used by the horse riders from the Altadena stables to access the upper trail networks. Jun 26, 2017
loose-screw dull-tool   California
Note on the linked Map, you can see the dedicated "Equestrian Blocks" in Altadena (with a brief history below it) and you will see the proximity of what is that part of what is being called ACT, to those Equestrian blocks.....hence the trail being used for horseback access...and being called as such by the longtime mtb riders.… Jun 26, 2017

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