Trail talk

Reviewing Mt. Wilson Descent in Los Angeles

First off, this is an extremely difficult ride with extreme dangers, lots of hikers, no cell service, no emergency response, and serious technical features. Los Angeles has real alpine territory that should not be taken lightly by anyone. In Los Angeles the descent from Mt. Wilson’s Eaton Saddle, down to Hahamonga Watershed park in Pasadena is regarded as a world class downhill ride. The ride starts off with a slight ascent which often sits above the clouds at around 6000 feet. The descent is 16 miles long with over 5000 feet of riding. From Eaton Saddle head up about 150 feet vertical and even pass through a tunnel in the mountain. After reaching the apex there is an option to go down some fire road or continue up to through another short but more technical ascent which leads to some of the gnarliest trail riding in the San Gabriels. Continuing down the Sam Merril trail passes along the backside of the mountain on single track with technical rock features that will work even experienced mountain bikers. After crossing Sam Meril the Sunset ridge trail offers more gnarly single track with dry loose dirt. The sun shines on this part and a hue of beige is on the trail. This part has exposed drops and serious no fall zones with rocky step downs and switch backs. The trail leads to an abandoned hotel and cable car where the Los Angeles public transit red car would lead vacationers in the early 1900s. Heading up for another short climb we are lead along a fire road Mount Lowe road which is the first bug out point since there is an asphalt road with no cars that leads to civilization. The next drop in is an amazing combination of flowing rocky drops, switchbacks, and exposed single track. There are two amazing view points to stop at with picnic tables along the trail. When it crosses mount lowe road again there is an option to take the horse trail which is a dry hard packed trail with some fun features to descend all the way into Altadena or continue down to millard campground. Or continue down to Millard Campground. The descent to millard campground is similar to the previous descent with some nice tree tunnels and a cooler temperature in the summertime. From millard canyon it is another short climb to El Prieto regarded as one of the most popular trails in Los Angeles. The perils continue on El Prieto through a canyon and next to a stream. More rocky drops, and no fall zones await with some of the best terrain possible. After concluding on El Prieto the full descent is complete with 16 miles and 5200 feet of descending.