I had been needing a little Iron in my diet so a ride out at Iron Mountain near Poway was in order. This place is pretty popular with the hikers so if you are going to ride out here you need to plan to be real patient and mind your trail etiquite as you will certainly have plenty of interactions. That is one of the reasons why it is best to do this ride on a weekday. It has been some time since I was last out here and I was quite shocked to see some of the maintenance that was done to the lower half of the Iron Mountain trail. There were lots of sections were most of the rocks has been either removed from the trail or buried in decomposed granite. While it may make the trail smoother in the near term I think it will cause more erosion problems in the long-term than it will fix. There were some sections that had been needlessly widened and debrushed to the point where they may never recover as the vegitation that stabilized the soil has been removed.
Luckily the upper half of the Iron Mountain trails has not been touched (yet) so the iconic rocks and technical features of this trail are still intact. The trail can be quite exhausting on the way up and on more than one occasion I had to stop and catch my brest breath. I felt like a boob for not being able to clean some of the sections that I have handled in the past.
After a nice break at the top it was time to play on the way back down. The chunk of this trail is always a challenge and we sessioned our way back down the trail.
Steve working an interesting line.
One of numerous gnarly switchbacks.
Steve taking a roller
After the Iron Mountain trail we hooked up with the Ellie Lane trail. I had nearly forgotten how much of a grunter it is get get up up the first saddle where the downhill chunk-o-rama starts.
Once over the first saddle on Ellie Lane there was some high quality chunk to tackle on the way down.
Steve taking on an interesting line. After the first chunky descent were would have two more grunt/hike-a-bike sections before the final technical descent of the day. By the time we got down I was feeling pretty worked over but stoked to have got in some solid technical riding.
From there we had some mellow cruising to loop back over to the trailhead where….
the marvels of modern MTB frame designs could be really appreciated. This Santa Cruz frame features a built-in bottle opener!
I had some things to attend to in Temecula this morning and since I was already halfway to Hemet, I decided to check Simpson Park off of my to-do list. What I had heard was the that place had a small but nice network of singletrack as well as some features that would require your “A”game. I have to say that this place more than lives up to that reputation. There were more trails there than I expected and the quality of the singletracks were outstanding. They were often a mix of buffed tread with frequent undulations and rock features. With great views of the snow-capped San Jacincto and San Bernardino Mountains coupled with green grass and Lake Perris in the distance this was a great place to spend and afternoon exploring.
There are at least several trails that leave the Simpson Park area and go to the east and west along the ridgeline that park is situated on. I did some exploring to the west of the park and found some really nice stuff.
I turned around once I had made my way out to the Ramona Cross about the Ramona Bowl in Hemet.
If you are looking for some techno-fun stuff make sure to check out the Lake View trail. There are many rock-rolling line options of varying degrees of difficulty with the easiest being “tricky”.
I have bumped this trail to the top of my trail reviews in progress stuff to do. Hemet can be blistering hot during the summer and I have a good feeling that these super nice trails will get sandy during the dry months so now is a really good time to check this place out.
Until I get my stuff together here are a couple of rambling bits of information:
- Pick up a trail map at the visitor center. There is also a big map by the restrooms.
- Climb the Crest Trail, it will take you out of the park. When you get to the top at a fireroad, take your first singletrack on your left (I think it is Canyon). You will soon be back in the park. Hit the Redtail trail.
- At the other end of the park, at the intersection of the Quail trail and Buck Brush, take a single track off to the south that rolls up onto a small ridge. Mucho fun as it take you west. Berms, jumps, and rollers are some of the stuff you will find out there.
- From the restroom at the far end of the park pickup the Lakeview trail by the highest elevation picnic table you can find. Take Lake View down, hang a right, go by the water tank and pick up Lichen. Follow it until you come to a junction go left, cross the road and pickup the Black Sage trail. Take that to Live Oak and Ribbonwood and head back to the parking area on the fireroad.
Getting there: Check out the Google Maps directions to get from Tecmecula to Simpson Park.
This place is cool so check it out while the conditions are great.