Lower Brown Mt.-El Prieto Loop - TRAIL

Lower Brown Mt.-El Prieto Loop - Trail, La Canada, California

From the gate follow the paved road back toward the mountains. After a mile or so youll see a sign that will say Brown Mt. Youll go right (up) toward Brown Mt. Just follow this fireroad up for about 3 or 4 miles. Youll come to an open gate and a saddle where the fireroad forks. Left leads to upper Brown Mt. Right leads down to the El Preito singletrack. Go right. After less than 2 miles of downhill fun, youll see an unmarked singletrack on the right. That is El Prieto. Its easy to miss, so keep your eyes open. Turn right down the singletrack. El Prieto is what singletrack is all about (Its even received Zaps praise in Mountain Bike magazine. Ooooo!). Its one of those, switchback, creek crossing, downhill, under the trees kinda trails you dream about. Too bad its less than 3 miles long. But that just makes it a great after work ride. Just follow El Prieto to the end. At the end make a left on the fireroad. Youre now on the fireroad you came up earlier. Just backtrack to the parking lot and you car.

User Reviews (15)

Showing 1-10 of 15  
rjhii   Weekend Warrior [Aug 02, 2004]

Trail for the most part seems in pretty good shape. I just went this weekend, and it was wicked hot. Even for this short round trip bring lots of water, one liter wasn't really enough.

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Rick   [Oct 26, 1998]

This is one of my favorite rides for a number of reasons.
1. Easy to get to from my house.
2. One of the best mixes of Climbing, downhill, and technical single track all in the same ride.
3. You can do the whole loop under an hour (if you're in shape) It is great for a quick ride before/after work.
4. El Prieto has it all - switchbacks, stream crossings, fast downhill sections, short technichal climbs, drop offs
5. You don't need an "adventure pass' to park your car.

Watch out for hikers and Equestrians, particularly on the weekends.

In my opinion, this is one of the most enjoyable short rides in the San Gabriels ... If only El Prieto were a few miles longer!

Customer Service

nothing to add here - except that it is worth it to go to the top (upper Brown Mtn) and then back track down to El Prieto.

Similar Products Used: Ken Burton Trail off the top of Brown Mtn - be prepared to hike though!
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Joe   [Oct 29, 1998]

From the sattle (4.2 miles from parking lot), keep going for 2.5 miles to the top of Brown Mountain (which is to the left from the sattle, right is lower Brown Mountain), go to the top and enjoy the view, then come back down to the sattle and go to the left till you reach the trail head of "El-Prieto", one of the best single tracks in the L.A. area, in my opinion.
Total ride is around 13.5 miles and it shouldn't take you more than 1:35 to complete.
Happy Trails!

Customer Service

Same as listed above, but when you get to the sattle and you are in descent shape, keep going to the top of Brown Mountain (another 2.5 miles to top), first 1/4 mile is steep and after that it's a breeze.

Similar Products Used: For a great workout on a fire road going up and down, ride Henniger Flats in Altadena, 2.8 miles of constant 6-8 % grade(commonly known as Mt. Wilson toll road).
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
john   [Nov 10, 1998]

this trail is not as easy as the previous guys suggest. it is a strenuous climb. when i first started riding, i had to take many breaks before i could reach the saddle. beginners, be prepared to take around an hour to reach the saddle which is about 4 miles. El Prieto is very smooth right now. it used to be much more technical than it is now, but be warned. the drop offs have continually gotten steeper. there are 2 particular spots that most people should walk. one is a steep drop off down to a small stream crossing. the other is a rocky steep descent close to the end of the trail. other than these 2 spots most of it is rideable by intermediate riders. there are a lot of steep switchbacks so practice your balancing skills. it is a difficult trail for beginner riders, and i would not want to ride this trail on my first trip out on SPD's. one last thing. beware of large animals. i spotted a bear on Prieto in Sept. it was a pretty good sized bear too!

Customer Service

same as the other guys. riding upper brown is worth the extra effort. the first 2/4 mile is very steep, but the rest of the way is easier than lower brown.

Similar Products Used: beginners should try riding the arroyo. you ride the same way as you would go to brown, but instead of going up brown continue going straight. it is a much easier ride for beginners. it is also fun with lots of stream crossings.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Henry   [Nov 11, 1998]

4 stars because this is an after work ride, although possible the perfect after-work ride

Customer Service

Comments on el prieto -- great trail, not for the unconfident, underskilled or beginners. This is not because it is gnarly technical, but because the trail has enough exposure almost the whole wak through to make falling on the wrong side of the trail a serious mistake. True, it is not like Strawberry peak where one might fall for a long time, but 10-20 feet straight down onto big rocks is bad all the same. I agree with the guy who says walk the last rocky staircase -- over shoot this one and you get an eight foot face plant onto jagged boulders

Similar Products Used: If you got to the saddle at the top of the Brown Mtn Fire road, you can catch the single track that starts on the east end of the saddle all the way back to your car. This is a wild and wooly adventure -- not great maintenance, tons of steep switch backs portages in the stream, many wide stream crossings -- but it is seven miles (estimate) of pure hardcore single track instead of 2 miles (el prieto). Just take this trail and head downsteam -- the vast majority of it is ridable but your feet will get wet.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Word up   [Nov 14, 1998]

This is a great trail that has many different types of riding on one trail. If you ride a lot and in good shape the climb should take you about a half hour. The fun starts when you hit the downhill fireroad with its great banked turns. The singletrack is a lot of fun and advanced riders will find it easy but still a lot of fun. There are many drop offs that are jumpable and many sweet berms.

Customer Service

i've never been past the saddle, i've always ridden down the el prieto singletrack

Similar Products Used: If you enjoy sweet singletrack try the La Tuna singletrack in Tujunga. It is nothing but steep fast singletrack but beware there are some really short but steep climbs.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Joe   [Dec 28, 1998]

December 26, 1998, I was riding this trail with a friend (El-Prieto) as we were comming down, 3 downlhiller's with full body pads were descending with some speed, that's okay with moderation, considering there are other bikers, walkers/joggers and horse backs on the trails, especially on weekend's, with respect to these things, it's really hard to get going fast, plus if you are looking to fly downhill, why are you riding a technical single track instead of a fire road?
One of the guys came up on me and brake locked for about 15 feet for no good reason whats so ever other than to make his presence known. As he rode by me, I politely said to him "easy with the trail", since it's not the coolest thing he could have done, creating these huge ruts from a simple brake.
This self acclaimed downlhiller/Mountain biker did not fit the mold of the rest of us, most riders are considerite to other riders and the trails people use.
Not this morron, he opted to get off his bike and tell me to mind my own !@#$%^ business.
I did not appreciate this verbal abuse so I opted to get is his face and almost came to some blows,
I know that's not the answer to this kind of agression but if more people like me speak up, maybe these so downhiller's will think twice before ripping up our local precious trails.
Don't be afraid to speak up, there are far more mountain bikers that think like I do then one's that don't.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Charles   [Dec 30, 1998]

This is a great afterwork ride! I just wanted to thank the countless volunteers who do trail maintenance on the El Prieto Trail. This canyon is a sweet reward to a difficult day. Offering a woodsy feel, with technical switchbacks, jumps, steep drops to water crossing, Cactus and crystal clear stream crossings and a few resident wildlife. Dont get discouraged! It may not be as challenging as it was 3 years ago, but you can still get hurt bad if you screw up. [12-25-98 I Crashed, got winded pretty bad and I was assisted by a rider on a Trek Carbon bike]

Regarding the comment below about reckless riders. I frequent the Mount Wilson Toll Road / Rim Trail loop during the weekends and I have to say I've always encountered high speed downhillers on full suits w/ reckless attitude. On Occassion, I've had to initiate evasive maneuvers =) We need to put up a sign explaining trail courtesy on the Mount Wilson Trailhead. Especially if the Sierra Club hikers frequent this route.

The only good thing I see, is that the Forest Service Personel are out on the trails and actually ride mountain bikes. (1:30 to wilson!!) Hopefully they could catch and educate these un-informed trail users. I've also seen upset mountain bikers worried about trail access issues.

Customer Service

Full loop 2N66 and up 2N65, to the water towers where the Ken Burton trail head is located. Approximately 6.80 miles one way. Return via El Prieto trail. For a total mileage of 14 miles if you are starting from the JPL parking lot.

Similar Products Used: La Tuna Canyon. Great Afterwork ride! Echo Mountain trail, Sam Merril Trail loop. Mount Wilson Fire Road.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Kerry   [Apr 22, 1999]

This is one of my all time favorite rides. I now go to school at University of California Santa Barbara so I only get to ride it when i go home, but that has not changed my feeling about the ride. It is a great short ride that contains some great tecnical single track. If one is willing to climb a little bit more I reccomend taking the fire road up further to the top of Brown Mountain and then take the single track that drops down. I have also noticed recently that people are not as freindly as they once were. I first started riding this trail in 1994 and bikers were nice to everyone and everything. But I have recently noticed a decline in biker etiquite. I have noticed that some people have not only stopped caring about others on the trail but have also stoped caring about the trail itself. There are certain areas of the trail that are just completly torn up by skid marks that are like fifteen feet long. All this proves to me is that you all don't know how to ride!

Customer Service

Same as above

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Keith   [May 07, 2001]

Well here we go! One time,not to long ago, the trail wasn't to bad. And before that, it was great. Now it's not so technical because of bad biking. Unfortunately
I don't think the folks taking the time to read this are at fault. The people who tear the trails up probably can't read. Last time I was up there three BIG guys in full downhill attire were perched at the saddle. I thought to myself "there goes the trail"and "how did they make it up here, where is the shuttle". I followed after them ,w/my dog, slowly. I was soooo right. Fresh Hugh skids and cut trails.
Anyways. I feel bad for the trail. It should be shut down to biking! But I still ride it on my Santa Cruz.
Trail use to rate 5
Trying not to lock the brakes and still cleaning it.
Ride like you give a s@#*.

Customer Service

None

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 15  

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