Art Smith Trail - TRAIL

Art Smith Trail - Trail, Palm Desert, California

never do it alone, and i highly recommend taking somebady that knows the area well.....scary desert dry rocky, sandy cacti death... trail has a voluntary closure from feb. to june so the bighorns can hump in peace.....

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
Brad Rodgers   Cross Country Rider [Feb 04, 2011]

The local bike shop we rented from suggested the Art Smith trail and gave us a map to assist in finding our way to the starting point in Cathedral Canyon. Once we found the starting point (white gate) up a remote road off Hwy 111 we just followed the bike tracks. At the top of the double wide climb there are picnic tables to have some lunch along side some old machinery left to rot up there. The Art Smith trail is clearly marked but when you do enter the odd wash area just follow common sense (and bike tracks). We brought 3 liters of water each and plenty of food as we stopped twice to refuel plus photo opps. All in all the ride took us 3 hours but we're experienced riders with lots of hill climbing under our belts. Have fun it is a great trail consisting of great climbs and fun undulating descents.

Customer Service

Start at Cathedral Canyon up Terrace road, look for a big white gate and from there the bike tracks make it a no-brainer. Once you finish the climbing (about 3 miles) on open double track. You can sit down at a picnic table to enjoy whatever snack you brought. The Art Smith trail head and trail are very clearly marked. Just remember to drink water as you ride and take the needed breaks before you "bonk".

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Zachariah   Cross Country Rider [Nov 11, 2010]

The Art Smith Trail is NO JOKE. You must:

a)Be in supreme physical shape to do this...NEVER ALONE!
b)Set aside 5-7hrs to ride this trail
c)Be totally prepared in provisions, including food, drink and be ready for any unforseen mechanical breakdown, injury or flat
d)Ride this in COLDER weather. Otherwise, anything hotter than 85 degrees F will beat you down HARD
e)Shuttle either route(see below)
f)Be ready for hike-a-bike sections

Once the above criteria is met - you will be rewarded with a truly memorable epic ride experience. Remember, this trail was built by Art Smith, an avid hiker and horseback rider. I say 80% of this trail is rideable by MTB, at best. Not only is this well-traveled trail signed in all the right places, but the breathtaking scenery is unlike any other in all of Southern California.

Customer Service

Stage a vehicle at the Art Smith Trailhead along State HWY 74, in Palm Desert. Go west about 7 miles and park on Channel Drive at the top of Cathedral City cove. Begin the grueling 4-mile Dunn Road fire road climb(it's an average 18% grade in the first mile alone!). Take as many breaks as possible, to conserve water and energy. Bear left along the mountainside after the climb crests and pass an abandoned Earth Mover(left @1973) at mile 3.7 and approach "the wall"...a 16% grade that goes up about a quarter mile. To your left will be the ART SMITH TRAIL 1977 sign, picnic tables and Mike Dunn's deserted International Harvester Pullman bucket loader/Bulldozer(it broke down in 1971).

Follow all signs accordingly and see your car about 6 hours. The descents are full of tight switchbacks and rolling ridges....

There is not very much WOW factor in this ride, but if you value your cardio fitness and enjoy the rawness of Mother Nature....this ride will make you SMILE!

Similar Products Used: Palm Springs Goat Trails
Hahn Buena Vista
Vanderventer
Wild Horse
Garstin
Hurkey Creek Park (The Desert's finest MTB playground!!!)
Palm Desert Cross/Bump & Grind
Hopalong Cassidy trail
Alvin Meadows Idyllwild
Humber Park
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
TTMAC   Cross Country Rider [Sep 27, 2006]

Unless you are capable of climbing over 3000 feet of vert in a few miles and have a half day to kill, don't attempt this trail. It starts with a 6 mile approximately 2000 vert climb up the fire road called Dunn Road. This is where us locals lose most riders. A left turn at the tractors and picnic tables takes you off into about 10-15 miles of rolling singletrack with lots of tough intervals. The trail doesn't get used much, so watch for washouts. You come out above the famous Bighorn Country Club and take your shuttle vehicle back to Cathedral City and the start of Dunn. The jumping cactus will be everywhere, so carry spare tubes and patches. Bring at least 100 ounces of water.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lord Mortis   Cross Country Rider [Jun 27, 2005]

My riding buddy and I tackled the Art Smith trail this weekend knida by mistake. We ment to ride the Hahns Buena Vista trail. When we got to the picnic area we ran into a couple of locals who told us that the best way back to my truck would be the Art Smith to the 74. The 74 is a high speed down hill into Palm Desert. Our hotel was on Monterey which is the 74 so we planned to go strait to the hotel and pick up my ride later cutting off the 8 mile ride to Dunn rd. By the way the locals we spoke with said they had been riding the trails here for about 14 years and have never seen a Big Horn Sheep, EVER! I told them that they could check out some Big Horn at the Living Desert Zoo! They got a bunch there!! I gave this trail 5 of everything because I almost died on it! The Art Smith is longer than the Hahns so we didn't bring enough water and by mid morning it was pretty hot, I was told by my wife upon our very over due return to the hotel that it was 106 deg. At the end of the trail, but not the end of the ride, we were both out of water (started with 4 liters between us). There is a welcome center at the 74 where the dirt ends. There we found a drinking fountain and a gift shop that had three bottles of warm water at a dollar a piece. drank all three in the a/c and filled the camelbacks at the fountain. rode to the hotel filled both tubs with cold water and taped my last will and testament on the digital camera. What an awesome ride! The guys we met at the top comented on how "they"( insert your favorite eco-terrorist group here) wanted to keep bikers off the trail. Which is evident by the one mile strech of Dunn rd. which is marked by "no trespassing" signs and a bunch of "Please let the sheep hump" signs (note the word "Please" on all the signs).What I thought was odd was the BLM signs on the "privite" land. Check out my gallery for all the signs I take pics of. Lots of decomposed granit, sandy washes, and very little shade. stickers thorns and other sharp stuff. bring 2 spare tubes and extra water. I had to change a tube on the trail My buddy had a flat the next morning and today I noticed both of my tires are soft. The ride down is a blast and we plan to do it again, just not soon.

Customer Service

Interstate 10 to the Monterey exit. Take Monterey south to hwy 111. West on hwy 111 to Cathedral Canyon. Cathedral Canyon south to Terrace. West on Terrace to Vally Vista. On the right hand side of Vally Vista as you are headed south you will see a white gate. climb over the gate and ride the sandy trail to the Dunn rd. sign and a collection of warning signs( all of which start with "please"). Climb the rock barrier and start the climb to the picnic area.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
johnwww   Cross Country Rider [Dec 22, 2003]

Unfortunately Art Smith is now closed from Jan 1st to October 1st. They made it mandatory closure and is enforced by trailhead cameras.

Customer Service

Out and back starting from Art Smith trailhead. There are some hike-a-bike sections but most are ridable for an experienced rider.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
john   Cross Country Rider [Dec 22, 2003]

Unfortunately Art Smith is now closed from Jan 1st to October 1st. They made it mandatory closure and is enforced by trailhead cameras.

Customer Service

Out and back starting from Art Smith trailhead. There are some hike-a-bike sections but most are ridable for an experienced rider.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Pauly The Ripper   [Jun 06, 2000]

This Is a Great ALL day Excursion if you want it to be.
tho not recommended, we did a niteride last week on it!
it was a full moon, a cool 70, and the trail was pretty sweet!!! got done about midnite

Customer Service

well its june, and now open, but its 115 degrees!!!!
Its goin to be a hot 1 this summer!!!!

Similar Products Used: theres plenty of other trails around the area and at cooler elevations, drop me a line ill set you up....
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
The Dirt Torpedo   [Jun 27, 2000]

Start off climbing the dunn road (Wide and Steep!!). This trail is pretty sweet once you get to the trail the dunn road climb is the hard part.This trail is pretty technical. Once on the trail you will encounter sand, rocks, cactus and other hazardous desert things. Your not supposed to ride this in the winter which is the best time because of the bighorn sheep breeding however they just found out that they are all dying and not reproducing because they are very imbred!!! Not because of the hikers and bikers! GIVE US OUR TRAIL BACK!!!

Anyway have fun and bring water.

Customer Service

Up the Dunn Road from Cathedral City to picnic tables and then East on Trail over to Palm Desert. Probably best to park in Palm Desert and ride Hwy 111 West to the Dunn road which is situated at the top of Cathedral Canyon.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
M. Howe   [Feb 14, 2001]

This is a great trail! I've finally found some riding in California that actually takes advantage of the rocks etc. The climb isn't thrilling but it's well worth it to ride the rolling trail from that point on. Shame the Bighorn don't like us - can't we all just get along?

Customer Service

Follow the directions given at the top. Up Dunn Rd. then follow the signs.

Similar Products Used: This is the best trail in the area that I've ridden. Check with the lads at Tri-A-Bike - good folks.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
KvV   [Jan 27, 2002]

didn't get on it

Similar Products Used: Just a follow up on "Pauly the Ripper"s review above, I just rode up from town to go for a run on the trail, it being january and all, I thought I'd be ok. The posted signs say the trail is actually closed Jan 1 thru Sep 30. Doesn't leave much riding/running time...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 10  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.