“The more popular route that eventually gets you to the Atalaya Trail.”
— Phil Lucero
This trail is very popular with families.
This trail is often confused for the Atalaya Trail. It is the St. John's Trail and it connects with the Atalaya Trail further up the mountain.
This is the more popular way to climb Atalaya Mountain so that may be why they get confused. The trail starts at the north parking lot at St. John's College. From here, you'll ride east in what looks like a number of options. If you are on the right one, you'll soon hit the arroyo, bounce out for a minute and hit it again. Follow the arroyo for roughly 300 yards and continue east where the trail exits the arroyo. You can also ride south along the arroyo for the much easier St. John's Arroyo Trail
Once you hit the trail, you'll find that it's a nice, winding trail that is mostly climbing. There are some tricky, technical spots in the mix before you get to the very steep uphill to Wilderness Gate Rd. From here, continue on the trail just across the road. The first 1/4 mile beyond the road is relatively easy compared to what follows.
After a brief downhill get ready to climb. Once you hit the power lines, you'll come across another gate. From here starts the most challenging climb, which is sustained and somewhat tricky in parts. Before long, you'll meet up with the more challenging Atalaya Trail.