Recently, we stumbled onto an article where the editor shared some of his favorite places to ride, and he mentioned a trail called “El Prieto” in the San Gabriel mountains (Pasadena area). The article was from a prominent mountain biking magazine, so we had to check out the trail for ourselves. It did not disappoint!
We parked our car along Arroyo blvd, but if you go all the way to where the street curbs, you will see an open area on the left for parking. Straight ahead, you will see a trail-head entrance. To the right of the trail-head is a paved section, or you can enter on the left up a dirt area. This is probably about 100 yards or so, and drops you on the paved area again.
Time: 45 min-1:15 hours
Total elevation climb: 892 ft
Total descent: 906
Calories burned: 550.
Average speed of ride: 8-10 mph
Exit Arroyo/Windsor and head towards the hills for about 1/4 mile.
There is street parking as well as a small parking lot on the left just before trail-head.
(hover over steps for images – some steps may not have images)
.05 At this point, continue straight on the road.
1.00- cross the bridge and continue straight.
1.3- you will notice the El Prieto trail ahead of you. You will be coming down this section during the second half of this loop. For now, head left towards Brown Mountain and begin climbing. You have about 2.1 miles of nice, steady climbing. At approximately 3.4 miles, the trail levels off until you reach the top area.
3.8- Enjoy the scenic views from this area. It’s also a great place to take a quick breather before starting your ascend. There are several options from here, including continuing your climb up Brown Mountain. However, we like to get straight to the fun part, which is bombing down towards El Prieto! Take the trail that descends for about a mile before it intersects with El Prieto.
4.75- El Prieto will be on the right hand side, and it’s clearly marked. It has several technical sections and switchbacks, some stream crossings, and lots of shade. Hikers enjoy this trail as well so have fun, but use caution.
6.8- Exit and head back towards car.