Brown Mountain Road

Angeles National Forest, California 91023

Elevation Gain2,898ft
Trailhead Elevation2,381ft
Elevation Min/Max1994/2907ft
Elevation Start/End2381/2381ft

Brown Mountain Road

Brown Mountain Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Los Angeles County, California. It is within Angeles National Forest. It is 3.9 miles long and begins at 2,381 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,898 feet. Along the trail there is a ridge. Near the end of the trail is a reservoir covered. This trail connects with the following: Ken Burton Trail, El Prieto Trail, Millard Canyon Road and Fern Truck Trail.

Brown Mountain Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"El Prieto is probably the most popular singletrack route in LA County. Its considerable technical difficulty and closeness to LA make it attractive to the masses. Although this has become a regular haunt for downhillers, don’t be intimidated on the way up Brown Mountain Road by the their big bikes, full-face helmets, and body armor—any skilled rider on any type of mountain bike can clean this descent. You can even do this ride if you’re a novice as long as you’re prepared to dismount and walk several sections. The heavy traffic this trail receives has damaged it, so all riders should avoid cutting switchbacks and blazing their own lines."

"Located in the Angeles National Forest, above the foothills in Altadena. Highlights: The trail starts just above NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Hazards: Poison oak and rattlesnakes."

"This 15.1-mile loop delivers an unsparing body blow. It leaves you with a sweaty back, waterlogged feet, and an inspired noggin. But you won't mind a bit. Because long after you forget the hot, grueling climb and endless stream crossings, you'll still be impressed by how much of a positive impact mountain bikers can have on a trail system if they really work together. Less than 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, this ride functions as both a hammerhead training ride and a mecca for those who love tight singletracks. Scenery includes sun-baked south-facing slopes, verdant north-facing mountains, and riparian ecosystems along the Arroyo Seco; there's also an optional spur to an impressively large (but man-made) waterfall."

"One of many wild rides in the San Gabriel area, this route involves a long, sustained fire-road climb up Brown Mountain Road followed by a very narrow and treacherous descent into Gabrielino Canyon via the Ken Burton singletrack. This ride is not for the faint of heart: the terrain is very technical, making the consequences of a routine crash possibly severe. The Ken Burton Trail isn’t well maintained, so it can be clogged with dense foliage in the spring and early summer. If you are sensitive to poison oak, avoid the area completely and stick to the scenic Brown Mountain Road for an out-and-back. In addition, this area often has poor air quality, so check the news for smog forecasts if this is an issue for you."

Brown Mountain Road Reviews

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Brown mountain trail closed at mile 4, due to wildlife recovery after fire. Only El Prieto option is ridable.
I ride this trail once a week or more. It is challenging and has everything from water to small drop offs to difficult switchbacks to flowy areas. Its all ride-able, but can be intimidating if you're not prepared. It is considered the "sacred trail" for many of us. For an extra challenge, try riding it up, then back down. But most folks take the fireroad to the the top and ride this down. My only complaint is it isn't long enough.
This review is about the El Prieto option. (I haven't tried Ken Burton yet) It's not too short, not too long. You get a good amount of excercise and the scenery on the single track part is great! (plus it's really shady, which is a good thing because I did it on a hot summer day. Don't go too fast because there are a lot of hikers on the trail, and you usually don't see them until you're only inches away from them (because of blind switchbacks). Every once in a while, the amount of rocks on the singletrack gets pretty annoying, but it's not too bad
I live in Arizona, so I can't compare it to much other riding in So. Cal., but it was certainly an epic ride - the initial fireroad climb is long and hot but not technical at all. You're climbing for quite a while. When you get to the very top, the inviting-looking single track heads back down through a series of sharp switchbacks - the trail was a bit overgrown here - lots of branches and the like. Not the smoothest downhill single track (it lacks that magic "flow" that the best trails seem to have), but certainly fun, and better than fire road climbing! Some of the switch backs are too rutted out to ride easily. The scenery is quite pretty, especially once you get down to the crystal clear river. It was really quite idylic, except for the swarming gnats and mosquitos (even in wintertime - and watch out for the red ants if you sit on the ground!) Once there, the river crossings are beautiful but a bit tedious - short stretch of trail, dismount, scramble over wet, slipery rocks, remount, repeat. Once you get back towards civilization, the trails pick up speed, but you're back among the hikers so you have to reign it in. I explored the side trail mentioned near the end, from the campground to the waterfall - very pretty, with a pool at the base that makes for a great quick and cold dip! It's a good solid ride, that leaves you with that post ride glow and ready for a cold beer.
El Prieto ROCKS! The Brown Mountain uphill ride on the fire road is simply a warm up. As soon as you cross the saddle you are heading downhill to the entrance to El Prieto Canyon. It has some great techy-rocky sections, switchbacks, water crossings, and is all single track. My only complaint is that it is too short!
You just got to love this place. the climb is long(bring plenty water)but the prirto single track is all worth it when you are ziping along in and out as you make your way down. one of the best short single tracks with differnt plants along the trail from catuss to poison oak it has it all.

Brown Mountain Road Photos

Trail Information

Angeles National Forest
Nearby City
Angeles National Forest
Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles River Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Pasadena, Mount Wilson; Thomas Brothers, Los Angeles County.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018