El Prieto

3.90 out of 5
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↑ 1,900 ft
↓ 2,300 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
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!
added by Greg HeilWorld Champ
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
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System Trails (1)
System Trails (1)
Arroyo Seco
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Photo & Video Gallery (57)
Trail Photos & Videos (57)
Reviews (14)

Granny Gear

January 26, 2018
Gbone227 Granny Gear  
Review: Best trail I've ridden in so cal so far ! Definitely not for beginners !


December 25, 2017
powderski Gramcounter  
Review: this trail looks more like enduro there is a lot of small uphills and flat points and crossrivers sections


June 28, 2015
macr88 Gnarly  
Review: This is probably a fantastic trail early in the season but at this point it's pretty torn up. There's still some cool stuff to roll through and drop off of and the log jump at the end is a nice treat.


April 10, 2015
Review: Great loop for a quick ride. about a 3.7 mile climb followed by a short descent down a fire road and some fun flowy single track in the shade next to a a stream. Sweet! Takes about an hour to complete.


February 6, 2015
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.


October 29, 2014
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.


March 20, 2014
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.


December 29, 2013
welker666 Gramcounter  
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.


December 16, 2013
welker666 Gramcounter  
Review: Super Lush Trail. Less scary than most of the trails in the Mount wilson area. A must see for social riders


November 11, 2013
mc625569 Poseur  
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.

El Prieto MTB Trail 3.90 out of 5 based on 14 ratings. 14 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
Riding the Locals' Favorite: El Prieto, Altadena, California