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Tags:
Level: Advanced
Length: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Lariat
Elevation: +1,201/1 ft
Total: 117 riders
 

Mountain Biking El Prieto

****   Add a review
#522 of 987 mountain bike trails in California
#6475 in the world

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!

First added by Greg Heil on Apr 28, 2020. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
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Brian_Portzel (on Oct 18, 2019)
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Dusty (on Aug 15, 2020)
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Reviews

  • Kizzykat
    Reviewing Arroyo Seco:
    *****

    Went on this trail a few weeks ago after a large rain. Had so much fun. Parts of the trail were washed out but manageable. The steams were awesome. Only had to exit the bike once after a stream crossing. I came home all wet and muddy just the way I like it. Easy accent for beginners just a bit to technical with all the rain we have had lately.

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  • Gbone227
    *****

    Best trail I've ridden in so cal so far ! Definitely not for beginners !

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  • powderski
    ***

    this trail looks more like enduro
    there is a lot of small uphills and flat points
    and crossrivers sections

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  • Jared Clark
    Reviewing Arroyo Seco:
    ****

    Was on this trail a week ago after the first week of rain. All of the rock gardens got harder where the trail washed out. The creek crossings were insane and where the trail didn't flood to what appeared to be about 6 feet, it slid and slid. Definitely large pieces of trail missing, new boulders in the middle of flowy downhill sections, and a lot more challenge as the usual hardpack is covered in rocky debris. One old roller looked like it was ruined by a torrent of water and is cut a few inches deep now and sent me over the bars when my wheel hit it and bounced my bike back under me (definitely a hard part of the trail on the return as you now have a cut directly to a small upward rolling hill.) Beginners will walk a lot of this trail in the weeks until the trail smooths back out.

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  • macr88
    ***

    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.

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  • Alex Thor Johnson
    ****

    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.

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  • Brian_Portzel
    ****

    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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  • Hap Proctor   ✓ supporter
    *****

    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.
    *****

    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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  • Daniel Lim Jr.
    Reviewing Arroyo Seco:
    ***

    The recent storm washed the singletrack out pretty bad, too many trees and debris in the way to make this ride fun for beginners at the moment. This summer the trail should be broken in again for riders to fully enjoy.

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  • welker666
    *****

    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
    *****

    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
    Reviewing Arroyo Seco:
    **

    Flat trail along a creek - parts of the ride a unfortunately a bit littered up which is a bummer, but a great place to go with kids or people who just want to ride bikes, not really seasoned MTB vets.

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  • mc625569
    ***

    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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  • *****

    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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  • Zamorly
    Reviewing Arroyo Seco:
    *****

    I have a question.
    Would you say this trail is good also for an 8 and 10 years old kids or stay away. Note: my kids are not really experienced in MTB...they ride very well but not MTB
    Thx

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  • *****

    Did this trail yesterday and had a blast!! A few tricky parts but all out great ride!!!!

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