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Stough Canyon

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.5 (12) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A relatively easy and enjoyable fire road climb to the La Tuna towers with several singletrack sections on the descent.


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Map Key

8.8

Miles

14.2

KM

35%

Singletrack

3,119' 951 m

High

1,510' 460 m

Low

1,829' 558 m

Up

1,828' 557 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Unknown

Features Drops/Jumps · Views

Overview

A relatively easy fire road climb up to La Tuna towers, with fun, technical singletrack on the way back.

Need to Know

The gate to the Nature Center parking lot closes at 10 p.m. daily. If you are planning to be on the mountain past that time, park on the street near the golf course. When the Nature Center itself is open, there are bathrooms available. There's also a drinking fountain at the fire road gate that is accessible at all times. This route shows up frequently on the Tuesday/Thursday OTB ride calendar.

Description

Starting from the Stough Canyon Nature Center, the Stough Canyon Fire Road is steep and loose for the first quarter mile before mellowing to a gradual 8-9% grade. Benches have been installed at several nice viewpoints, the first of which is also the bottom of the Old Youth Camp Trail (Scout Trail) where you'll re-join the fire road at the end of the ride. This section is popular with hikers so please observe courteous trail etiquette.

After a mile, the Stough Canyon Fire Road ends at a T-intersection with Verdugo Motorway. Take a right and continue to climb the road for ~three miles. Verdugo Motorway traverses the main ridge of the Verdugo Mountains and offers spectacular alternating views of Los Angeles, Burbank, and the San Gabriel Mountains. It connects to all the other fire roads on the range if you're ever interested in larger loops.

At 0.5 miles from the Stough intersection, you'll pass the top of the La Tuna Canyon Trail and after another mile, start to see where the ridgeline singletrack sections intersect the road.

Once you pass the Plantation Lateral (3.4 miles from start), the fire road levels off and it's a fun half mile to the intersection with Hostetter Fire Road on the left. Past that another quarter mile and up a short, punchy, paved climb, you'll find La Tuna towers, the highest point in the Verdugos and traditional meeting spot for riders coming from all directions. Rest, snack, chat, and get ready for a rippin' ride back down.

The Verdugo Crest singletrack sections start almost immediately. As you descend the paved driveway, the first singletrack section is on the right at the yellow post. It crosses the Motorway in about 50 yards and continues for another 30 yards or so before rejoining again at the Hostetter Fire Road intersection. Continue back the way you came along the flat part of the Verdugo Motorway and look for the next singletrack entrance on the left, just before you get to the Plantation Lateral. A short, punchy climb leads to a fun, flowy section and another short, steep climb before rejoining the Motorway via a steep, loose, and rutted firebreak.

The next section of Verdugo Crest is accessed where the Vital Link hiking trail tops out near some radio towers and the "Willie Mann Memorial Chair." There are a few built lines on this section, stay to the left to avoid the jumps and expect plenty of ruts and height exposure near the end to keep you on your toes. The next several criss-crossings of Verdugo Motorway are obvious and direct. And fun! It ends at a flat section of the Motorway, near a chair that looks out towards Griffith Park.

From here, stay on the Verdugo Motorway which speeds back down past the La Tuna Canyon Trail entrance all the way to the Stough Canyon intersection. Instead of going back the way you came at this point, keep going west another 0.25 miles past Stough and look out for the Old Youth Camp Trail (Scout Trail) trailhead on the left. After a little more singletrack climbing, round a corner and get ready for more fast, technical riding with several gigantic, bike-eating ruts.

Take a quick stop halfway down the mile-long trail at the ruins of an old youth camp lodge and enjoy the fantastic views westwards. Keep left at the bottom as it widens to doubletrack and ignore the unofficial, handmade 'no bikes' sign. These trails are multi-use per the map here. The trail ends where it rejoins the Stough Canyon Fire Road, take a right and watch your speed as you head back to the parking lot.

Contacts

Shared By:

Carson Blaker with improvements by Morty Rudegar

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 12 votes

#2440

Overall
  3.5 from 12 votes
5 Star
17%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
42%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
8%
Recommended Route Rankings

#314

in California

#2,440

Overall
70 Views Last Month
5,063 Since Jun 16, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Taking the singletrack sections instead of the road adds a ton of fun technical and built features between the end of the Hostetter climb and the start of the La Tuna Canyon trail.
Jun 15, 2017 near Burbank, CA
Cisco demonstrates a 'heels-down, butt back' technical descent position.
Jun 19, 2017 near Burbank, CA
Top of La Tuna Canyon Trail
Sep 16, 2017 near Burbank, CA
The sun sets as I drop down from the vista/rest area at radio towers.
Jan 28, 2017 near La Cres…, CA
Verdugo Mtwy Singletrack.
Jun 23, 2016 near Burbank, CA
Luis finishing the ascent to the top of Old Youth Camp Trail.
Jun 17, 2017 near Burbank, CA

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Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

May 28, 2021
Jules Morland
8.8mi — 10h 00m
Apr 3, 2021
Jesper Poulsen
Feb 12, 2021
Nick Buendia
1h 48m
Oct 8, 2020
Morty Rudegar
Sep 27, 2020
Vardan Hovhannisyan
H
Aug 30, 2020
Edgar Rosas
12mi
Jul 10, 2020
Ian Angeles
3rd ride. Brought Mike and Jordan. 8.8mi — 2h 45m
May 21, 2020
Levi Chapman