“An epic 26-mile route with awesome views, punchy climbs, and a long descent to JPL.”
— Eddie Reyes
This ride takes you up and down Strawberry Peak before continuing the long descent through Redbox to the Gabrielino Trail and ultimately to the JPL parking lot. The ride itself is awesome but a little challenging, so be ready for a long day out.
Need to Know
Strawberry Peak Trail
is over 4,500 feet so be prepared for sudden weather and trail condition changes. Look out for Poodle Bush and Poison Oak on Gabrielino Trail (NRT)
it's best to wear a long sleeve jersey and goggles! Tread lightly on the new Gabrielino Trail and don't be a Skid Head! Keep a look out for trail flags in the Arroyo Seco.
This trail is a shuttle to the trailhead start arrange for drop off and pick up before you go.
Start your ride at Josephine Peak Road
trailhead off to the south of Angeles Crest Hwy (Hwy-2). The actual trailhead is just a short distance north on FH-59 and will be off to the right.
+Take Josephine Peak Road
2.6 miles and climb to the Josephine / Strawberry Saddle trail junction, on the RIGHT you'll see the singletrack trail entrance (DO NOT continue on the fire road on the left)
+Strawberry Saddle and Colby Canyon Trail
will meet up go (SLIGHT LEFT) to stay on Colby Canyon Trail
. From here you'll round the mountain and enjoy some scenic mountain views, fresh pine trees and some sweet but sketchy singletrack.
+ You'll eventually arrive at Strawberry Meadows follow the trail markers on the huge boulders marked "TRAIL" with a Native American arrows. A mile down you'll arrive at a sign in box (there's usually nothing inside) keep right, and you'll know you're going the right way when trail shoots up, at this point you'll reach a sustained climb that gets steep and later gets easier as you go. The trail will finally take you down a fast a flowy descent to Hwy 2 and the Redbox Ranger Station at the bottom.
+Cross HWY 2 and head toward the Redbox Ranger Station. Rest up.
+Make your way down the Gabrielino Trail (NRT)
or "Redbox trail" The doubletrack will turn into a singletrack a few miles down, keep an eye out for poodle-dog bush and all types of natural terrain obstacles. This trail has a short but challenging rock garden get past it and you're done with the "hard part" of the trail. Continue to Switzer Picnic Area and chill out a bit.
+From the Switzer Picnic Area, make your way down to Commodore Camp and Switzer Falls area it's very rocky be careful. IMPORTANT! Stay right when you reach the "Y" intersection Gabrielino Trail junction! Do not go left! That trail will take you down into to the falls and that's not where you want to go unless you don't mind climbing back up.
+The next junction is at the bottom of the Ken Burton Trail
. DO NOT
go up Ken Burton trail! Parallel the Arroyo all the way, ride the river bed and pay attention to the colorful trail marker or follow the mtb tire tracks.
+Follow the trail marker flags and begin your climb up and over the Arroyo Seco dam - a short but punchy climb - then hang a left at the bottom where you'll hit the USFS monument. Enjoy the flowy trail through streams, Gould Mesa campground, and eventually the JPL parking lot.
History & Background
The Gabrielino Trail was built in 1970 by the USFS and named after the Tongva Native Americans who inhabited the area for nearly 3,500 years. During early Spanish rule, they named the natives Gabrielinos and the name stuck.
The trail today is used by hikers and mountain bikers alike and it's maintnance duties are conducted by the USFS, CORBA and the MWBA. The North end of this trail was abandeoned after the station fire in 2009 and even before then saw very little use due to it's lack of maintnance, today the trail is being restored by mountain bike clubs and volunteers with a strong will to ride and hike it once more.