Sycamore Canyon is comprised of 1500 acres of protected wildlife reserves, with approximately 25 miles of trails within its confines. There are three main entrances to enter the park, so you can create your own loops and customize to your skill set, depending where you enter. We like the Central entrance so we can start with some climbing and begin a descent towards the Water pipe trail marker. From there we continue on until we hit the ecological reserve, which is comprised of rocky terrain and boulders with smooth trails built within it. There are several signs that point out this reserve, so you can’t miss it once you are there. This is a fantastic place to ride with beautiful scenery and fast flowing trails. We love that you can make this loop a technical descent with the terrain it offers, but you can also ride around it and keep things less bumpy. Although the trails themselves are not visibly named by trail markers, if you zoom in on our GPS view of the park, you will see that the trails actually have names. Some sections of the trail also have nicknames such as “the plunge”. The park is also full of trails that connect to each other so you will eventually end up in the same area. The point is, you will have to ride this place a few times to figure out where things are and how to get them. We will do our best to navigate you around the park.
Distance: 9.64 mi
Avg Speed: 5.1 mph
Elevation Gain: 1,333 ft
Calories: 729 C
Avg Temperature: 91.7 °F
400 Central Ave, Riverside, Ca. 92507
91 freeway, exit Arlington. Head south. Make a right on Central for approximately 1 mile and enter on your right. Parking is free.
(hover over steps for images – some steps may not have images)
Start at the Central entrance and begin your ascent towards the right. You will notice a mountain with a steep trail cutting down the middle, and a single-track to its right side. It’s a gradual ascent. As you get over this hump, you will continue riding through and eventually make your way towards the center of the park (your right). To your far left you will notice a trail or fire road that follows the side of the park, that is lined with buildings and homes. You will eventually make it there, but don’t head towards it. The fun stuff is in the middle of the park. About a mile into the ride, you will encounter an intersection where the right takes you to a rock, boulder formation. You want to head LEFT and continue climbing.
1.23- When you reach the peak of this climb, you will notice a rest area with 2 benches. At this point, begin your descent towards the single-track. The trails intertwine with one another, so there are several options as you make your way down.
2.74- At the end of your descent, you will reach the Waterway trailhead. You have the option of heading left or right on the wide dirt road, but instead, continue straight on the single-track. In a few moments, you will end up in a small creek area. Great spot to take a breather and absorb the beauty around you. Get back on the trail and continue to ride for about 1 ½ mile.
4.33- You will have reached the Sycamore Canyon Ecological Reserve boundary at this point. It is a beautiful formation of flowing rocks that are reminiscent of the formation in Moab, Utah (mini version). No wonder the locals nicknamed this place, “Little Moab”! Upon climbing and passing the second Sycamore Canyon Reserve sign, head towards your right, riding over the terrain and descend back down towards the left. You will stay towards the right and climb a short but steep hill. From there, you will see a series or trails ahead of you. Head towards the left and begin climbing shortly. You will notice some BMX style berms that you can charge through. This section will have you make a quick roller coaster type drop on the rock formations. Not only it is fun, but scenic. Head straight and towards the left. Continue to ride and follow the trails towards the left side of the park. You will continue to climb until you reach a trail map display, with a great view of Riverside straight ahead.
6.52- You are at the trail map marker. This is where you make your descent, not directly in front of you though. Head towards the right for a few yards and catch the trail that descends down. It’s a fast and fun ride but very rutty. Use caution. You will notice the trail intersecting in the middle of your descent, and make a hard left. Stay on this trail until it takes you out of the park and into a local neighborhood. It is also a fast and fun descent.
7.67- You have exited the park. Ride through the neighborhood, heading towards the left to Canyon Park. Ride towards Central and make a right back to your car.