I reiterate this a lot, so apologies if I’m sounding like a broken record here but we’re lucky here in LA. There are a lot of mountains within a quick drive. To put it in perspective, most of the out-of-town riding is in the opposite direction of traffic. So, if you leave in the morning, you’re on a freeway, in a carpool lane, with no traffic. Then, upon returning home in the afternoon, it’s the same. This leaves a lot of options for riding mountain bikes in the National Forests surrounding our very own Angeles National Forest.
The most diverse, ATMO, being Los Padres and one area in particular that has quickly become one of my favorites is Mt. Piños. Named after, you guessed it, the many pine trees that cover its faces, this day-trip jaunt from LA delivers riding that is uncharacteristic of our local trails. Namely shade, and ground substrate. When you’re used to riding on sand, covering decomposed granite, the idea of riding on actual ground covering, even if it’s just pine needles, gets a lot of us stoked.
Sean from Team Dream has spoken highly of this trail over the years and to be honest, I don’t know what took me so long to follow his advice to come ride it. At any rate, I rallied some troops and we planned on visiting Mt. Piños on a Tuesday morning.
We parked at the base of the climb to the mountain. It was cold. Cold and windy. We were at 6,000′ or so and had about 2,800′ of climbing ahead of us. The Nordic Center and the start of the singletrack is at about 8,200′ but we went to the summit, which sits at around 8,800′. After summiting the peak, we descended back to the Nordic Center parking lot to begin the singletrack.
Once the singletrack starts, it’s full on party time. Steep, fast and mostly smooth singletrack awaits. Booters and log rolls mix it up with giant speed berms reaching over 12′ high guiding you through the turns. Then, once and a while, you’ll hit a rock garden to mix it up. It is a ripping time… You can really let off the brakes and scrub speed by digging into the corners, something we don’t usually get to do in our local trails.
Mt. Piños is a day trip and one that’s well worth the drive. While we only scratched the surface here (I can’t wait to return and camp on the mountain in the spring!) or take the back country singletrack to the coast, along the spine of the Los Padres National Forest… Hopefully, this won’t be the last time Piños is showcased here on the site!
If you want to ride Mt. Piños, here’s our route.