“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 route is a shuttle point-to-point ride. 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 as it winds and climbs up to the junction with Strawberry Saddle Trail
. Take a right to follow the Saddle Trail and ride the ridge to Colby Canyon Trail
. Continue climbing on Colby Canyon Trail
About 4.6 miles into the ride, you'll reach your first sustained descent. However, it will be over quickly and you'll immediately be faced with another climb which is a bit steep right off the bat. Just before you reach the bottom of the descent, you'll reach the junction with Strawberry Saddle Trail
. Take a right, finish the descent, and then get ready for the next uphill.
After the initial steep section, the grade mellows a bit, with only a couple steeper portions left. About 8.5 miles into the ride, you'll reach the second highpoint and will be rewarded with an amazingly sustained downhill. Before tearing down the hill, take a moment to enjoy the views and grab a drink of water. As you head downhill following the Strawberry Peak Trail
, you'll reach Hwy 2 in about two miles. SLOW DOWN before reaching the road and the parking area as this place gets busy!
Cross the road into the Redbox Ranger Station parking lot; there are restrooms if you need them. Rehydrate and then get ready for the long descent down Gabrielino Trail (NRT) (aka Redbox) to the Switzer Picnic Area below. This segment of the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) parallels Hwy 2, though not too closely for it to be annoying. The Switzer Picnic Area gets very busy so stay alert and be respectful of other users.
From the Switzer Picnic Area, you'll make your way down the newly refurbished Gabrielino Trail (NRT) and into the Arroyo where you'll reach the junction of the Ken Burton Trail. DO NOT go up Ken Burton! Parallel the Arroyo all the way, ride the river bed, and pay attention to the colorful trail marker flags.
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.