Fast fire road, 5 different single tracks, 2 climbs, jumps, rocks drops, jumps, switch backs, and jumps. Bring your pads, bring lots of water, bring you balls and your mother for a prayer, it's going to be a bumpy ride!
You'll start at Mt. Wilson and end at JPL. Leave a car at JPL then, take the 210 West exit Angela's Crest Hwy. Go North on Angela's Crest until you hit the Red Box trailhead. Go in the parking lot, but keep going toward Mt. Wilson. Drive until you see a dirt parking area on your left and a white trail gate on your right.
Park on the left, gear up and head for the gate.
If your bad with directions like me, there is a shuttle service on Sat. and Sun. at JPL. 1st pick up is at 6:00 A.M. and 2nd pick up at 7:45 A.M. Look for a white van and a guy names Cruze. I'll probablly be in the van with you. It's $5.00 per rider. It's worth.
Summary: NOTE: As of JUly 2009, a 160 ft section of the fireroad (the start of this trail) was wiped out and the forest service has posted a DO NOT ENTER sign at the trail start, complete with a $10,000 fine if you do - unreal). Anyway, it's closed indefinitely per that sign.
It's called JPL because you can, ultimately, end up at the rear employee entrance to JPL (there's a parking area - u can't miss it, it's crawling with bikes and hikers, at the top of Arroyo Windsor Blvd - exit off 210 fwy), however, you can end up out Chaney Trail (actual street name) which makes it about 12 mile run, or top of Lake St (Sam Merrill, Echo Mtn - trailhead) which makes it about 11 mile run but I dno't recommend coming down Echo Mtn (the old electric railway line) - that is a serious hiker trail and u will run into 100s of hikers every weekend - all day. I live at the base of this trail so i know. This is a fairly hardcore run (12-17 miles depending upon which way you go) and you need serious gear (minimum full suspension with 3-4 inches travel - (I consider 5 inches perfect). I am not a big "gear guy" - i only wear knee/shin pads and standard helmet. Prob 80% of riders use standard pedals on this run because you will be getting off your bike - unexpectedly - unless you turtle your way down. You can take the shuttles at the prkng lot. You rly dno't want to have to self shuttle this - I've done it 100 times, sucks. I recommend you take the shuttle and pair up with some guys who a) have done the run and b) are willing to hang with you. PS: Most of them are not going to be willing to hang with you - especially the guys with the 60lb downhill bikes who look like they are getting ready for an AMA Motocross event. They will do this run in under 2 hours reaching speeds of 28 mph on single track and many of the riders who come down this are elite downhill riders. There are many section you can die on and most would consider seriously scary but u can always get off and walk em. Don't let the above scare you off though - it's THE epic ride in all of southern california in terms of technical difficulty. The tight stuff is constant - it never stops.
Recommended Route: go with someone who knows.
Review Date February 4, 2004
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: ken
Summary: It's a long ride, depending which way you go, i'd recomend going with someone who know the trails, i don't know the names of em' yet, but regardless, I've done the "San Gabriel" singletrack ride down from Redbox, climbed back up Mt. Brown and down "El Prieto" singletrack again. It's quite a ride, make sure you bring some goodies to munch on and a drink. This is a nice technical trail, wider tires are recomended but it's ok on 2.1's, it does get rocky at points and it's fast and can be very technical in some spots, but I agree, if you have good manuvering and balance, it shouldn't be a problem at all. The ride is one you'll want to go back and do again. You can do the shuttle ride or take a couple of cars if you're taking a friend along... park one car at the Switzer Camp parking, at the bottom, and then drive with the other car up to Redbox. This ride alone is very awesome and if you like it, do the full ride to JPL sometime. I normally do the Redbox-Switzer once a month. I give it a high rating just cause it's fun to do.
Recommended Route: Angeles Crest Hwy (palmdale exit), head towards the mountains, (north) and drive up towards Mt. Wilson (redbox camp) and park.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Redbox-Switzer (shorter but also great)
Review Date October 25, 2003
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: SC4Life
Summary: Dropped Mt.W today for first time and it rocked! Was a bit nevervous before reading reviews eslewhere about how crazy and technical it gets, but it was great- if you are an old BMXer don't even sweat it, the "hard" parts aren't that bad if you have a good BMX background. Not kidding about using a good Freeride/DH tire on some of the super rocky sections, a 2.1 might not be enough. Great great ride in So. Cal. We shuttled it and it was just fine with me. A good Dirt Roadie might want to do the climb but that is crazy!
Review Date March 10, 2003
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Reviewed by: Christian "Kamikaze" Lopez
, from L.A.
Summary: This is all from memory. You have to trust me, I've only fallen on my head a few times. After you put on your pads, packed your beef jerky, called your next of kin, and prepared yourself for an adrenaline rush of a lifetime, head to the white gate. There is some sort of map there, but who cares because you're trusting me. Get ready for a little climb on a fire road. You'll come upon some rock slides on the trail (see if you can side over them). You'll go through a tunnel that's cut into the mountain (creepy cool) and more rock slides. you'll get to the top and it's time to go down. Stop for a moment, get your bike ready and get yourself ready. If your lucky, sometimes it snows up there and your first quarter mile is covered in snow. It's fast so hang on. I think it splits once, but remember to stay left (this split is on some big left turn that I always miss and my buddies pass me up all the time). Don't go straight, turn left here. After this left turn, the fire road gets twisty. Use the berms to pass your friends who previously passed you at the big turn that you missed. As you are passing them, remember the smug look on there faces as they laughed when they passed you. Let them eat your dust. Follow the fire foad until you get to a fork in the road. Left, is a fire road. Right, the fireroad that you are on continues. in the center is a single track (it's marked by a trail marker on the left of the begining of the single track). SIDENOTE: IF YOU ARE FACING THE SINGLE TRACK, LOOK OVER YOU RIGHT SHOULDER AT THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN. RIDERS USE TO RIDE DOWN THE FACE OF THIS WALL. YOU CAN SEE THE TRAIL. IT WAS SCARY AND FUN, BUT THE RANGERS PUT LOG UP SO NOW YO CANT PROVE YOUR STUPIDITY, SKILL, OR PURE GUTS TO YOUR BUDDIES. Go down the single track. It's a long one so get ready. Watch out for roots, rocks, the edge of the mountain. Enjoy how this trail test you riding skills, enjoy the view, and enjoy the jumps in the trail. When you get out of the woods, head left on the fork and follow the single track down (you'll know it's the fork because there is a big rock to with a light #7 painted on it). If you head right it is a short cu to the Sunset trail. This cuts the climb, but it is recomended to have a big hit bike. If you head left, you'll taste a wicked single track. Take the jumps, but becareful of the blind switchbacks. At the end of it you'll find the remains of an old hotel (time to rest and explore and do some stupid stunts off the stairs). After you take in the history, head out and up from the hotel (back from where you entered). Pass the single track you came from and you'll come to a fork marked by a marker. Go left,(down) and you'll end up at Lake Ave. (BOOOOO!). Head right,(up) you'll end up at Sunset trail (Yeay!). Get ready for a climb (check out the info markers on the climb, more history). At the top you'll hit a paved road. Go down, but keep the speed low, it's the ranger's road. Keep an eye out for the Sunset trail single track marker on the right. Get ready for more fast, jumpin', single track action. GO hard and fast, watch out for the switchbacks and lots jumps (take them, you'll get some major air). You'll end on a paved road, but you'll see the opening for the second half of Sunset trail (more switch backs). at the end, there is a paved road. Go down untill it crests upward. There will be a fence and some sort of building ou the left. Do not continue down the paved road. You'll end up at the millard Camp ground parking lot (boring, yawn). I recomend you head down the single track opposite of the building, to the right of the paved road (what joy, what rapture). This track is quick and littered with little dirt jumps, HAVE FUN. You'll end up at the Millard Camp ground. Take a rest here 'cuz you've got a climb comming up. Now that you're rested, climb up the fire road. When you get past the houses, stay to the right and follow the fire road. Keep climbing until you hit a trail marker marked El Prieto. Go down this last single track. It's the last one I swear. This is all technical, all awitchbacks, water splashing, and short burst climbs. Watch out for poison oak, hikers, poison oak, bikers, and poison oak. The single track heads down (getting lost factor on El Prieto is "0"). When you're done, the trail leads to the fire road. Head down the fire road (left) towards the paved road. Always head left or stay on paved (be aware of hikers, bikers, horses, dogs, rangers with ticket books giving away fines for speeding). Pedal, pedal, pedal until you comeout into the street hand head for you car at the JPL parking lot. Take off your gear, load your bike, turn on the A/C, take a nap, and know that you're one bad motha' f***er and you've just finished one hell of a ride! I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT AS MUCH AS I DO. I LOVE IT MORE AND MORE EVERY TIME I RIDE IT.
Recommended Route: I'm not good with trail names, I just follow the fastest way to get to where I want go. I do remember all the trails you have to be on to end up at JPL. (in order) Some fire road first, Echo trail, Sunset trail, Millard Camp ground, then El prieto. You'll be going so fast, you won't see the trail signs either.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Red Box to JPL, Wilson to Chantry Flats, JPL to