NOTE: As of JANUARY 2023, a good portion of Warm Springs / Fish Canyon has been washed out leading to a long distance of hike-a-bike. You can avoid by shortening the loop returning on Lake Hughes Road at Mile 13.
If you do enough riding, you will probably fall into the formula every month of one ride totally surprising you (in a good way) and one a complete fail.
Heading out to Castaic and not doing enough R & D on this ride, odds were with the latter, but seeing how there was a rare summer opportunity with a break in the weather, this was a chance we had to take.
I already had a score to settle with the Warm Springs Truck Trail after a miserable experience two years ago riding 32s, but getting there was a bigger mystery.
Google Maps would likely send me on Lake Hughes Road to get there which with a gravel bike doesn’t sound as appealing.
I knew there were options to the southeast and with the help of Strava’s Heat Map, I plotted out a probable route mixing Tapia Canyon and San Francisquito Motorway to get there.
There was a problem early on with a bunch of threatening “No Trespassing” signs , but with a slew of mountain bikers coming by we were helpfully redirected to Wayside Canyon.
It was a festival of bikes all the way up to “The Towers” where the view should be the main attraction, but the oddly placed talking phone wins hands down.
From there we were pretty lonely turning onto San Francisquito Motorway which was a nice, tempo setting ride just flowing over the ridge.
Descending down towards Lake Hughes Road required some caution, but just doing this segment was fun enough to be a ride in and of itself.
The looming segment was riding Warm Springs Truck Trail hoping that my wider tires would prove better and anything less than two flats would be a win.
We were making good progress at the bottom, but sure enough the sand kicked in where my wider tires made the climb difficult, but palatable.
Making it to the peak cleanly meant I enjoyed the descent a lot better than before too, although Bill proved he was a better handler than me riding on 32s.
Another feature I got to enjoy more the 2nd time around: Fish Canyon.
Last time, I just sprinted by its beauty as the concrete surface was welcome, but it’s definitely worth taking in at ease to seeing how nature is all crammed in here.
The last hurdle is the three mile, monotonous Templin Highway climb which was worth the pain after this fun experience.
We got a rare break in weather during the summer, but there’s a lot more to discover the Santa Paloma Mountains and expect more adventures out here from Gravel Bike California.