Nestled amidst the bustling life of Los Angeles, California, the Sunset Trail offers a downhill biking experience that's both challenging and exhilarating. With 15 miles of technical singletrack, crisscrossing streams, and dramatic drops, this trail promises a thrilling ride but demands unwavering attention.
Getting to the Trail
Using the Shuttle
- First Car: From I-210, take the WindsorArroyo exit near La Canada. Go north to a large parking area on the left side, approximately 1/2 mile up.
- Second Car: Get back on I-210 west. Exit at Angeles Crest Highway 2, make a left, and continue up. Stay to the right at the junction to Angeles Forest Highway at 11 miles. Proceed another 5 miles to the Red Box ranger station. Make two immediate rights into the parking area.
Using the shuttle service allows for a downhill-only experience and an opportunity for multiple runs in a single day. Some even recommend the 6 a.m. shuttle to start the adventure early.
Trail Features and Highlights
- Technical Singletrack: Sharp rocks and exposed roots, interspersed with fireroad sections.
- Stream Crossings: Several towards the end, contributing to the trail's adventurous vibe.
- Dramatic Drops: A range from 5 to 20 feet, especially in the Sunset trail section.
- Physical Hazards: Riders must navigate loose ground, mean drops, and occasional rocky uplifts.
- Human Traffic: At points, the trail intersects hiking paths and campgrounds. Watch out for pedestrians.
- Natural Obstacles: Poison oak is present along the route. Use caution and protective gear.
- The trail kicks off steep, requiring immediate concentration.
- Following the campground, riders must manually carry bikes over rocks and streams.
- Past a fork in the trail, riders should turn right and proceed to experience exciting cliffside downhill sections and rocky terrains.
- A dried-up river bed offers nothing but rocks for about 150-200 yards.
- After a minor uphill, riders will descend to JPL, the trail's endpoint.
Safety and Recommendations
- Gear: Knee and elbow pads are highly advised due to the technical nature of the trail.
- Route: Many experienced riders recommend connecting with El Prieto at the bottom for an added thrill.
- Cautions: The trail is unforgiving, requiring intense focus. One moment of distraction could lead to falls.
The Sunset Trail provides a unique amalgamation of technical challenges, natural beauty, and the pure adrenaline of downhill biking. With its shuttle-accessible point-to-point route, the trail offers a convenient yet formidable journey, cementing its reputation as one of Southern California's must-ride trails for the seasoned mountain biker.