Sage to Elliot Barker Loop
We only rode a part of Elliot Barker Trail the other day so we came up with a loop that incorporates some of the closer in town trails, and also climbs up to Apache Pass on a different section of Elliot Barker before descending back to the start. Our loop was 20.5 miles with 2990′ of climbing.
To start, we rode Elliot Barker Trail out to a trail called Whoop De Doo. These climb up above the town and we were able to hook into some of the Greenbelt singletrack trails to get down into town. Sage Trail switchbacked down and then we hopped on Bear Trail and then Coyote Trail. These are fun little local trails that didn’t have anyone else on them. Coyote spit us out in a residential hillside neighborhood that then required us to climb for a few miles.
At the top we hooked into a section of Elliot Barker Trail that we didn’t ride the other day. Unfortunately, it starts with a wicked climb up what locals call “Death Climb”. It’s steep, rocky, and primitive. I had my bear bell jangling here for sure. It’s quiet up here, eerily quiet! The reward is the next part of trail. It’s rocky and technical with flowy fast sections thrown in. I loved this part!
We eventually popped out in a giant meadow and unfortunately, took a wrong turn. It wasn’t for a couple miles of downhill that we realized we were headed the wrong way and had to alter our ride plan. Instead of finishing on a new to us section of trail, we had to backtrack a bit from the way we had started in the morning. Oh well, it happens.
About 10 minutes down the road from our boondocking spot is Mondragon Loop. It starts on Mondragon Trail right at the highway. This ride is actually a lollipop where you ride up, do a loop and then come back down the stick part. The day was 16 miles with 2529’ of climbing.
The weather forecast called for 70% chance of thunderstorms after noon so we got an early start to this one. The trail starts off right away climbing, climbing, climbing. After awhile you pop out on an old logging road that is reverting back to singletrack because it isn’t open to motorized vehicles. The surface is a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s chunky rock, sometimes it’s hard dirt, sometimes it’s even grass. We churned up through the thick forest all alone. Just when I was getting tired of climbing, we intersected with South Boundary Trail. This took us up to another side trail we climbed to the very top of Sierra De Don Fernando Mountain. Big name, big views!
Back on South Boundary Trail, we flew through the forest on very fast trail down down down we went until we intersected with another doubletrack that circled back down the mountain to our start. These abandoned doubletracks are sometimes trickier than singletrack because you have to pick a line through the rubble. There is not one smooth section on this entire descent. It’s washed out, rutted and rough going. Perfect.
We finished before the forecasted thunderstorms and relaxed back at camp. I have been getting a lot of reading done as usual and just finished Pacific by Simon Winchester. It’s nonfiction but reads like fiction. He does a fantastic job of keeping all the stories about the Pacific Ocean interesting. At the advice of a friend, I’m also listening to a podcast about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy called The RFK Tapes.