GBC is about to close out year three and it’s time to return to not only the ride that started it all, but my favorite throughout Los Angeles.
Pacifico Mountain is no easy task with almost 4k feet of climbing in the first thirteen miles, but the rewards far surpass the efforts with views of the Sierra and an incredible escape from the urban.
When we first held this ride in 2019, we were only a small group on Facebook and questioned whether people would show as it’s roughly a forty minute drive just from Pasadena, but sure enough I made some new friends.
While this is a special ride, please read the notes as there are additional challenges with this location being more remote:
- The climbing is HARD with 5K feet of climbing over 38 miles. These are not rides for beginners or those working their way back.
- You will need to buy a $5 Adventure Pass to park in the Angeles National Forest. They are available at the Shell station at the bottom of Hwy 2, the 7-11 at Little Tujunga or check here for other locations. The first rule is that this is an unsupported ride and everyone rolls at their own risk.
- Parking is available off the side of Angeles Forest Highway on the turnouts just north of the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road. The ride will start promptly at 8:30am at the intersection.
- Cellphone reception is limited / non-existent over most of the region.
- There will be a number of regroups, but once everyone’s back, we roll!
- Make sure to bring your own tubes and a couple of water bottles. We’ll be stopping at two spots (mile 6 & 20) along the way for refills.
- Riding tires 40mm and above will do the trick for most, as the climbs are steep and there’s some soft patches on the dirt descents, as well as loose pavement on the road.
- This will not be race pace. At the same time, you have to be in the good to great shape range to do this ride even in the Party Pace group. If you’re just getting back into riding, I suggest you read Rule #1 again.
The Gravel Guide video goes in depth about the route itself, but this 38 mile loop will let you know early if you’ll make it through.
Starting at the intersection of Angeles Forest Highway and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon, you have a six and a half mile climb up the highway which gets gradually steeper, but not red zone level until you hit the turnoff at the peak of Mill Creek Summit.
With an opportunity to refill and a bathroom stop, you hit the dirt and a three mile climb up Pacifico Mountain Road averaging 7.5%, but pushing you harder than the numbers with some soft spots and pitchy stretches along the way.
You hit rollers that trend up the next mile and a quarter before reaching the turnoff to Pacifico Mountain itself.
This is the only out and back of the day, but even averaging 7.5% for a mile and a half, the surface does get loose and steeper towards the top which is just as challenging on the descent.
After reaching the 7,100 foot summit and returning to Pacifico Mountain Road, you get three miles of dirt return followed by a one mile paved climb, before going off road for another three miles on a gentler descent to Chilao.
Leaving the campground, we briefly roll onto Angeles Crest Highway for a short two mile diverter up Mount Mooney which was recently reopened from the Bobcat Fire.
Returning back the to highway, it’s five miles with just a short pitch before returning back on Upper Big Tujunga Canyon beginning with a light speed descent before some windy rollers for the final nine miles.
Afterwards, everyone is encouraged to bring their own foodstuffs and beverages to hang out for the post-ride.
We’re super looking forward to celebrating an adventure like this and hope you can make it out June 26th!