Riding Bikes in Joshua Tree on the Section 6 Trail Network

Hold up! Before the internet police turn on their sirens, technically, this post is about riding bikes in the town of Joshua Tree, not the National Park. We don’t condone breaking National Park rules and regulations. With that said…

We’ve already stated the obvious here on the site multiple times: the desert is best explored in the cooler months and in Los Angeles, with the Mojave just over our mountains, we hear its call all too frequently, especially when guests come to town. This past week we’ve been playing host to Jeff Frane from Bike Jerks and All-City Cycles. Jeff wanted to be here in LA for the new Mr. Pink launch and more importantly, he wanted to go to a National Park with us to explore, camp and partake in the rituals that go along with desert camping.

JTree-2

The only debate we had was which bikes to bring. While road bikes would leave us stuck to the main park road, cyclocross bikes would allow us to explore the dirt roads in the park, but clearly, mountain bikes would open the door to the most desert exploration. The only problem is, you can’t ride off-road in a National Park, so we began researching trails in the surrounding areas. This inquiry led me to the Joshua Tree Bicycle Shop and their Section 6 trail network. Nestled in the Desert View Conservation Area, this square mile of land has loads of fire roads and singletrack crammed into its rocky and sandy terrain.

We left LA, found one of the last spots in the park to camp and awoke the next morning, ready to ride when suddenly, Kyle rolled up to our site saying he found his friend Darren in the park, and he was thinking of doing the same. Darren had unbeknownst to him, camped on the opposite side of a large rock, just a hundred feet away from us the night before. He even had a mountain bike with him. We had a solid plan! Yet, not knowing exactly where we were heading was a little bit of an issue. Armed with a low-res JPG that I pulled from the J Tree Bike Shop’s website and a general familiarity with the area, we loaded up the ‘Cruiser and headed towards the general direction of Section 6.

JTree-10

We ran into a local, who advised us to use the MTB Project‘s app to find the trails. It became a huge help and otherwise, we would have been wandering around the desert looking for the various trails as they crisscrossed the fire roads.

What we found was more than what I expected. We parked at the end of the “Luge,” a sandy piece of singletrack with banked corners and began climbing up and over the first hill. From there, it was game on. For over two hours we ripped around Section 6, snaking our way through rock formations and sandy banks before realizing we had left our partners back at camp and the sun was quickly setting over the horizon.

JTree-25

Making it back to camp just in time to consume some magic and watch the sunset, we all felt that our plan to escape Los Angeles on a three-day weekend had been a huge success. Having barely scratched the surface of Section 6, we’re already planning on returning later this spring for a second go.

If you’re ever in Joshua Tree with a mountain bike, swing by the Joshua Tree Bicycle Shop for a map of Section 6, or download the MTB Project app and have a go!

  • Jake Riehle

    Which Tepui tent did you get John?

    • The 3-person Baja Series Kukenam. It’s amazing!

      • Jake Riehle

        Love it! Did you see the 2 person Sky while you were up in Santa Cruz? I’m wondering if that is too small… I’m looking to only fit two people in said tent though.

        • I would go 3-person. I’m 6’2″, jeff is 6′ and we had enough room for our pillows / bags and a comforter, plus backpacks. The 2-person tents are small.

          • Jake Riehle

            Thanks for the input John!

        • Another option is the ARB awning room. rolls out next to your vehicle and you can walk in, stand, cook, sleep. Makes taking a piss pretty easy in the middle of the night too.

  • smoothjazzlines

    tell us more about this magic you consumed

    • Oh you know, just watched the sunset.

      • Chris Valente

        Sunsets that look beautiful….and taste awful :)

  • Don Gouda

    you have the coolest fucking truck I’ve ever seen. any chance you know the name of the color?

    • I have no idea of the name or RAL number – I call it “high desert sage” because it looked just like the sagebrush in Utah during our trip late summer.

      • Richard

        Photoset! Photoset!

        • Just put a new lift on it and finally found a 24v relay to add off-road lights. I wanna get a new rear bumper first, since we *cough* broke *cough* the hitch this weekend hitting a wash going too fast with 3 bikes on the back….

          • Richard

            Oops.

            Akin to, but far less catastrophic, loading the bikes in a roof rack and driving into a garage… (Not that I’ve *cough* EVER *cough* done a thing like that).

    • +1. That color is wonderful.

  • Harry

    I have that FYXO gillet!

  • benb

    hello guys i’m french and I love this blog. I just really love all your cars. We don’t have theese in europe. so let me ask you which one is this on the first picture. thanks

    • Toyota Land Cruiser HJ60. I could say FJ60 but know I’d get banned from this site.

      • Haha. That wouldn’t happen! It’s an HJ61 though, the HJ60s weren’t turbo. ;-)

        • Tom Urquhart

          Easiest way to tell a HJ from an FJ is the vents behind the front wheel well if I’m not mistaken.

    • It’s a Japanese Toyota Landcruiser HJ61 with a turbo diesel engine. Before I added the roof rack and tent it was getting 27mpg (160km / liter) on the highway. These were actually available in Europe as well as Australia and can be found all over the world.

  • Justin Kee

    lets get some photos of darrens van!

  • Rad! Do you have a MTB Project link that’s shareable for the section(s) you guys did? Thanks!

    • It’s hard to share a link from the app, but if you look at Jtree on the app, it’s the only trail system between Park rd. and the main drag.

  • I like your new car way better than your old car. Old one was cool too, but this one is so nice.

  • Dexter

    Cari rocking a Mamiya 7? Too jealous of this trip. Every photoset makes me want to ride, cheers dude!

  • Isaac Joshua

    Do you know what hip bag Kyle is wearing in the ‘crew’ picture?

  • Tom Urquhart

    Love the high roof LC.

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