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Featured Trail Friday: El Prieto, Los Angeles, California


elprieto2

Photos by mtbgreg1.

Trail stats

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Length: 9 miles
  • Average Singletracks.com Rating: 4.71 out of 5 stars.

Description

El Prieto has been hailed by many as one of the best singletrack rides in Los Angeles. After hearing such accolades, I just had to check it out! And let me tell you: they are not unfounded.

To start the ride, park at the lot and head past the upper yellow gate on the paved road. After a couple of miles there will be a fork: head uphill, towards Brown Mountain. Eventually the pavement will turn to dirt, and you’ll see the bottom of the El Prieto trail off to your right. Eventually, this is what you’ll be coming down, but instead of heading up Lower El Prieto, bear left and continue towards Brown Mountain.

Despite the fact that it’s labeled as the “Brown Mountain Road,” much of the climb is actually pretty killer singletrack, thanks to the undergrowth having overtaken much of the old road bed. 

After 3 or 4 miles of exposed climbing in direct sunlight, you’ll reach a saddle, and the El Prieto trail will descend off to the right. Hop on that, and get ready to rip!

Upper El Prieto is swoopy, gnarly, and fast-hang on and rock it! It’s also still exposed to the sun and similar to many of the other trails in the area, but be sure to look for the Lower El Prieto trail dropping off to the right.

Lower El Prieto is unlike any other trail that I’ve ridden in So Cal.

It’s gnarly, and mostly descends, but there are some smooth spots mixed in, some climbs thrown in, and a few well-shaped switchbacks–the singletrack is a really mixed bag. But what really sets it apart is that El Prieto winds down through a canyon bottom, following a small stream. As a result of the water flow, there is actually vegetation: trees, green grasses (not dryed-out brown stalks), and many other types of undergrowth. The trail actually crosses the small stream several times, the cool spray of the water and the shade of the trees a refreshing relief from the hot sun higher up the trail. 

After some absolutely awesome rolling, twisting singletrack, the trail spits back out onto the pavement. Just go back the way you came, and after about 8.5 miles of some of the best riding So Cal has to offer, you’ll be back at your car!

Description added by mtbgreg1.

elprieto

Reviews

El Prieto is my favorite place to ride in Los Angeles. Its got a nice climb for a workout plus a great single track on the way down that will test your skills. —Loera9-1

Great ride, not typical SoCal stuff. You grind up the fire road from JPL, top out and then drop into this singletrack for the descent. It follows a stream the whole way down so you get green and shade. Steep and technical throughout with tight switchbacks. Plenty of poison oak edging the trail so beware! —endokingMN

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Featured Trail Friday: Alafia River State Park, Brandon, Florida


alafia3

Photos by ositoking

Trail stats

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Length: 14 miles
  • Average Singletracks.com Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars.

Description

The skinny: Alafia River State Park trails are IMBA Epic certified. The park offers a wide range of trail difficulties, from novice to intermediate to advanced to highly-advanced sections. Due to the park’s location on an abandoned phosphate mine, the topography is much more convoluted and varied than you would normally find in Florida. To cross the swampy ditches, the trail builders have incorporated numerous bridges and creative trail building techniques, making Alafia unique and endlessly entertaining.

The trailhead parking lot offers bathrooms with hot water, bicycle-rinsing stations, shaded pavilions, a volleyball net, and a playground.

Description added by Adventurecycling. Read more about Alafia River here.

alafia4

Reviews

I didn’t expect to find such a nice trail system in Florida. Trails are well maintained and well built. Not very flowy, but rich in technical sections. Packed sandy trails gives nice traction…. enjoy. —bulletprooftiger 

Apart from Copper Harbor, Michigan, this is my favorite course to date. Moonscape/RollerCoaster/Rabbit Ears/Gatorback are all awesome challenges with lots of ups and downs and technical aspects. Who would think that Florida would have such a great course? I consider myself an advanced intermediate and had a lot of fun on this course and a great cardio workout. If you find yourself near Tampa with a few hours to burn (literally) you won’t be disappointed. Bring plenty of water… rode in April and it was 90F. Just added to the fun! —grahamt

Alafia’s trails are in the best shape they have been in a long time, with Jeff the trail boss constantly doing trail work with his wife and some crew every week. It just keeps getting better and better. Me and a few of my riding friends have actually been adding a few new additions to the trails recently, like on North Creek and Roller Coaster, which include nice banked berms, pump bumps, and a few double jumps, with many more to follow in the future. And also Jeff and his crew have started on a completely new trail extension off of North Creek that’s going to be called Devils Island, which should turn out to be a great addition to that already super fun trail. So if you ride this trail system at Alafia, you’ll have new and improved options each week that will be added for you to ride!!! —peresite70

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Featured Trail Friday is a partnership with Singletracks.com, an online community of trail guides and reviews. Join the Singletracks membership and get access to topographic maps and GPS routes.

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Have you ridden at Alafia? Share your review in the comments below.

 

 

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Featured Trail Friday: Monarch Crest Trail, Colorado


monarch

Photo by BobinConifer

Trail stats

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Length: 35 miles
  • Average Singletracks.com rating: 4.93 out of 5 stars

Description

This is one of the premier shuttle rides in the state and with good reason. With over 30 miles of mostly singletrack trails and all of the best scenery Colorado has to offer, this trail is a must-ride. As a shuttle ride you’ll climb about 2,300 feet (much of it above 11,000 feet) and you’ll descent about 6,000 feet total.

The first part of the ride is above treeline and is not technical in any way. You’ll top out at about 11,960 feet and then begin the first major descent down an old fire road to Marshall Pass (this is about the 10 mile mark). From here you can choose to descend down more fire road to the bottom or you can climb up the Rainbow Trail (recommended). Here you’ll find some dense forest sections and some steeper climbs.

Finally, head left onto the Silver Creek trail and follow this baby all the way down to a forest service road. The Silver Creek trail is pretty technical with some large scree fields, switchbacks, and some rough sections of trail. At the end of the singletrack you’ll ride through a large streambed and out to the forest road.

Go down a bit here until you see a sign for the Rainbow Trail. Here you can take the Rainbow Trail back to US 285 or stay on the road for a quicker descent. An awesome ride, but watch for thunderstorms and be prepared for a long day. Shuttle services are available—check the internet for more information. Trail is usually open (read: clear of snow) from July to August.

added by mudhunny

User reviews

An awesome trail and a must in my book. A lot of up and down until you hit Silver Creek. It was a little more climbing than I anticipated. The altitude peaked at just under than 12,100 feet and you feel every bit of it. The views are unreal and worth every second of climbing but be prepared. — 7ofClubs

WOW. Yeah, this thing is sick. Ride it if you can. I didn’t get a pinch flat myself, but I agree with the previous dude, this trail is perfect pinch flat conditions… Nonetheless, this is definitely worthy of its epic rating. It is a must-ride. As for the technical difficulty, it is hard to call because there are a few hike-a-bike sections for sure… I’ll rate the trail black but if you’re a intermediate rider who is wondering if this is within your grade, I would say definitely go for it. Bring as many power bars as you can safely carry and go for it. — arnolda14

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Featured Trail Friday is a partnership with Singletracks.com, an online community of trail guides and reviews. Join the Singletracks membership and get access to topographic maps and GPS routes.

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Have you ridden the Monarch Crest Trail? Share your review in the comments below.

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Featured Trail Friday: Gooseberry Mesa, Hurricane, Utah


gooseberry

photo: bluejudad

Trail Stats

  • Length: 14 miles
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Average Singletracks.com Rating: 4.92 out of 5 stars.

Description

Gooseberry Mesa provides the fix that every mountain biker needs: fantastic views off the mesa of the surrounding desert and Zion National Park, challenging sections of folded, convoluted slickrock, and entertaining sections of good-ole-fashioned dirt singletrack connecting everything together. It’s rare to get this caliber of views with such entertaining riding all at once, but Gooseberry offers up the perfect blend! — Greg Heil

User Reviews

Tough slickrock billygoating sprinkled with bits of mellower desert cruising, much exposure akin to the lower section of Porcupine Rim, big views in pretty much every direction, and some of the best car camping I’ve ever seen. — stillfat

This is definitly a blue ribbon trail if you like slick-rock riding. The views and terrain are amazing. Take plenty of water (and a camera) and make sure your ride is in good condition as this trail tends to be a little rough on bikes. Definitely a must-do!!! — jereboa

Gooseberry is quite simply the best mountain bike trail on earth. Compared to some of the other top rated (and rightly so) trails on this site that I have ridden, this trail is at the top of the list all by itself. I challenge you to ride here and keep a smile off your face for more than 10 seconds, I don’t think it is possible. You will want to be a decent technical rider, lots of quick ups and downs, ledges, etc. The whole mesa is worth riding and exploring over and over again. — Aussie_Rider

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Featured Trail Friday is a partnership with Singletracks.com, an online community of trail guides and reviews. Join the Singletracks membership and get access to topographic maps and GPS routes.

What’s your review?

Have you ridden Gooseberry Mesa? Share your review in the comments below.

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