El Prieto

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↑ 1,900 ft
↓ 2,300 ft
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4.70 out of 5
About This Trail
added by Greg Heil World Champ on July 14, 2012
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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 taking 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, 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!
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Brian_Portzel on February 6, 2015
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Review: El P is the sweetest singletrack in the LA area. The climb up Brown Mountain can be tough especially on a hot day but the technical singletrack that follows makes it all worth while.

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hproctor on October 28, 2014
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Review: A tale of two trails. Brown Mountain trail begins a mile from parking lot and is doubletrack or wide singletrack. You grind a 1200' climb the next four miles. The El Prieto trail is a tough DH singletrack trail with big penalties for mistakes. Rocks, drops, switchbacks, ledges and multiple creek crossings almost the entire 2.3 miles. Great ride if you are young, fit and brave. No country for old men though. Finishes with the paved mile back to the parking lot for almost 8.5 miles total.

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Daniel Lim Jr. on March 19, 2014
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Review: Definitely my favorite local trail to hit up in socal. mild grind to the top, flowy/craggy singletrack that crosses a stream several times with multiple switchbacks to the bottom. Make sure you have a bell or something audible to warn hikers or other riders because there are blind corners that you do not want to be surprised on.

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welker666 on December 29, 2013
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Review: Headed up fern truck then took a left and went to the end of brown mountain road. When you get get to the end turn around and you have 7 miles of downhill! The first two miles are super flowing single then into the more advanced el prieto.

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welker666 on December 15, 2013
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Review: Super Lush Trail. Less scary than most of the trails in the Mount wilson area. A must see for social riders

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mc625569 on November 10, 2013
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Review: Rode this a few times, its a strong climb up, went with some newbies who couldn't make the climb. Also got eaten alive by bugs both times, which was quite annoying. The view at the top is great, and the descent down is flowy singltrack and very fun that drops into a canyon with some steep tight narrow switchbacks, so not for beginners. Highlight to me is first 40% of decent down a mountainside where you can really pick up speed.

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endokingMN on October 26, 2013
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Review: 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!

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nick78 on January 13, 2013
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Review: Did this trail yesterday and had a blast!! A few tricky parts but all out great ride!!!!

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Loera9-1 on August 13, 2012
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: 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.

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Greg Heil on July 14, 2012
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Review: Probably the best trail that I've ridden in So Cal!

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El Prieto MTB Trail 4.70 out of 5 based on 10 ratings. 10 user reviews.
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Trail Features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Trail Conditions
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Feature Article
Riding the Locals' Favorite: El Prieto, Altadena, California
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