Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fort Ord Public Lands, Monterey, California

Very narrow trail!
Getting There
I accessed the trail from the region near the Laguna Seca speedway. Due to the expansive nature of the trail system it would be easy to access this trail system from all over.

From Google Maps:
Driving directions to Laguna Seca Recreation Area
11.8 mi – about 25 mins
Via CA-68 E - remove
Monterey, CA
1.Head east on W Franklin St toward Alvarado St
0.1 mi
2.Turn right at the 3rd cross street onto Washington St
0.1 mi
3.Continue onto Abrego St
0.2 mi
4.Turn left at Fremont St
0.5 mi
5.Take the ramp onto CA-1 N/CA-68 E/Cabrillo Hwy
0.5 mi
6.Exit onto CA-68 E/Monterey Salinas Hwy/Salinas Hwy toward Salinas
Continue to follow CA-68 E/Monterey Salinas Hwy
7.1 mi
7.Turn left at B Rd/Canada De La Segunda
105 ft
8.Take the 1st right onto A Rd
1.0 mi
9.Slight right at S Perimeter Rd
0.2 mi
10.Take the 1st left to stay on S Perimeter Rd
0.5 mi
11.Continue onto Paddock
0.2 mi
12.Turn left at Pit Out
0.1 mi
13.Continue onto
0.4 mi
14.Continue onto Turn 4
0.3 mi
15.Continue onto Turn 5
0.4 mi
16.Continue onto Rahal Straight
Destination will be on the right
0.1 mi
Laguna Seca Recreation Area
Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California 93940
93940
These guys at Google have a sense of humor. The directions take you down the track!

Anyhow, that'll get you close.

Navigational Resources
Update: cp16 recently rode these trails, and was kind enough to leave a couple of great, informative comments below in the comments section.  He also shared this link to a map of Fort Ord. While confusing due to the incredible number of trails spiderwebbing throughout the area, this is the best map that I have seen of Fort Ord. (The other one I've looked at wasn't worth posting about.) Click here to check it out!

Also, if you check out the comment section below, cp16 gave a great overview about a bunch of the trails in the system.  Be sure to read it for additional info!

Gorgeous views abound
The Route
Asking for a recommended route out here is basically a trick question. This area is so massive that trying to describe how to ride it all is nigh on impossible. Before I flew out to California, I noted that Singletracks.com listed this place as having 18 miles of trail. After doing 50+ miles in two days and feeling like I hadn’t even begun to tap that place’s potential. I went back to the Singletracks.com listings and read some more reviews, and opinions on the total trail lengths ranged from 80mi-125+ miles. That is a lot of riding!

As you can imagine, all of the trails shooting off everywhere can be a bit overwhelming. However, due to the ecological nature of the area, you can see for miles and miles from the tops of the ridges, making it possible to pinpoint navigational markers and determine your approximate location.

Still, I am no expert at navigating these trails yet.
Two quick words of advice:
  • The “Goat Trail” is fantastic!
  • Don’t attempt to cross any fences that say “Danger, Live Ordinance!”


All About the Trail
As I mentioned above, this place is big and complicated! At first it feels like all that’s out here is long, long dirt roads and doubletrack. Eventually, you’ll come across a piece of singletrack, and it will be sweet. And then you’ll find another, and eventually you’ll come across several miles of sweet descending, and you will be hooked!

Gravel Grinding
There are gravel roads up the gazoo in this place. There are long, harsh climbs coupled with fast, scenic descents. If this is your style of riding, come out, bring the cross bike or hardtail, and grind it up!

Singletrack
Yes, there is singletrack to be had, and lots of it! Overall the trail is very smooth and buffed out. The only technical aspects are a few washouts and ruts here or there. Many of the terms are bermed up from a lot of traffic, and as a result these trails have acquired some serious flow! The downhills out here are amazing, ranging from fast bombs in wide open fields to swoopy descents down treed hillsides.

On my first time out on these trails, I ran into a local and asked him for some recommendations. He took us to this trail which he referred to as “The Goat Trail.” That downhill has to be ridden to be believed! To sum it up in four words:
  • Speed: The smooth trail, consistent drop, and flow (see below) make this a screaming fast ride!
  • Flow: Bermed out wide-radius turns abound.
  • Air: Several awesome rollers and lips spread throughout the length of this trail.
  • Views: This whole area is gorgeous! Take a few minutes to gaze over the hillsides.

Finally, the construction of the singletrack is of an excellent caliber. The trail is narrow, ranging from the 12-18” range down to the 4” ribbon-wide straightaways. The benchcutting in some of the steeper areas is pretty good, with one or two nice exposed sections of trail. A big bonus is that the turns are mostly large-radius, allowing you to carry speed down the length of the trail. That’s something I don’t see very often back in the Southeast. The only downer is that some sections of the trail have been widened out into two tracks most likely due to people riding when wet and then going around the mud puddles.

Bottom Line
Beautifully smooth, flowy, high-speed singletrack descents mixed with a ton of gravel roads. Get addicted to these trails, and keep returning again and again to explore the expansive Fort Ord trail system!


Here's some helmet cam footage of me railing one the best downhills out there. It was awesome!



Rides at this Trail

12 comments:

Chatwell May 18, 2010 at 11:16 AM  

Thanks for info. Going to Monterey this week and will make use of this info. Thanks.

Greg May 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

Hey Chatwell, I'm glad this information was of use to you! Have fun tearing up the singletrack... I hope you find the good spots. After you get back from your trip, be sure to drop back by here and leave me a comment and let me know how it went!

Ride on!

-Greg

cp16 July 2, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

Greg, do you mean riders should go down the Goat Trail to Creekside Trailhead for best ride, not make the climb?

cp16 July 2, 2010 at 12:11 PM  

We are doing Ft. Ord this July 4 weekend and appreciate your best trail recommendations. Thanks! I will share our experiences next week.

cp16 July 2, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

Have you done any trails in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Lucia Preserve? Looks like great ridge line riding.

Greg July 2, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

Hey cp16, thanks for the comments! Yes I recommend descending the Goat trail... there are some trails further to the west (I think it's west... if you are looking down the hill it'd be to the left) that are a decent climb. I haven't ridden fort ord enough to know the ins and outs of every trail, but descending the goat trail is a blast, and some of the singletrack over by the laguna seca campground is great!

I wish that I'd ridden more places in California as there is such a wealth of awesome riding! Unfortunately, Fort Ord is it for me.

I hope you guys have fun! Be sure to post back and let me know how the trip went!

cp16 July 5, 2010 at 6:28 PM  

Greg, we spent 4.5 hours starting at Creekside Parking area at corner of Hwy. 68 and Reservation Road. We finished descending the Goat Trail and loved it. Our route: 31 uphill to first ridge. 34 to 33 still going up hill. A nice climb. Took Old Reservation Road to Trail 32. GREAT downhill twisting trail through trees. Not technical, but tight singletrack. 35 uphill was a hassle, sandy and too steep. We walked it. Would recommend fire road until trail 38/39. We took 76 traversing trail to 77, a dead end. Just stay on Manzanita Road to 78. 78 has several advanced technical drops, advanced only. 75 is also very advanced technical drops. We took 42 down to Skyline Road. That was pretty technical too in some places. Skyline to hitch at Pilacritos then up 49 to Look Out Ridge Road. We stopped there for lunch. 49 going up was tough, only for advanced riders including Lookout Ridge. We descended 49 and took Skyline around to 44. 44 is a great traversing trail that sets up the big descent down Goat Trail, #41. We took Station One Road to 01 trail back to parking lot. We would have enjoyed some more moderate trail alternatives on our way up.

Alternative to 78, 75 and 42 is to stay on Manzanita until Jack's Road. You can cross and take Three Sisters fire road to top of hill and you can descend on Goat Trail (#41). Or head down 44 to Skyline Road and do some more work around Skyline to 47 around Laguna Seca. We didn't have the legs to get over there.

Sounds like Guidotti and Trail 47 around Laguna is nice stuff. There is some great looking fire road to a much higher peak and potential ridge line across Hwy. 68 around Toro Creek. It's one long climb up but could be fun ridge biking at the top with sweet views.

Best,
Walter

cp16 July 5, 2010 at 6:29 PM  

Ft. Ord Public Lands map

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:MCiWUFLovFUJ:www.blm.gov/ca/pdfs/hollister_pdfs/Trail_Map_Grayscale_August_2006.pdf+Ft.+Ord+trails&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShDrKM4Ujl53siFsjHI-voxQl2IaWkuhkXqBMaSmeA2CfTLGPSysVslqwnPujvR9aH32IsTUtKCHq4ILCgoPzFKuadDM4hOCAgcI1YwRwV3_9vAimd2ZQruSIE1QcloEz-XqUwb&sig=AHIEtbThL0EWK16cIfe9MWG_S_9oyxMBhQ

Greg July 6, 2010 at 7:51 AM  

Hey man, thanks for taking the time to comment back! Would you mind if I copy/pasted your trail-by-trail ride description up into the main post?

And thanks for the link to the map! That would have definitely helped when I was out there... even with out the map, we were still able to get miles and miles of great riding!

Also, glad to hear you enjoyed descending the Goat Trail! Dang, some of those fast, smooth, tight descents at Fort Ord are just incredible!

wirehairedrunner August 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM  

Just an FYI: most of the "ridge riding" you might be looking at and all of the Santa Lucia preserve are private and have no legal access. Garland Park has limited mountain bike trails, but lots of hiking and equestrian trails. Fort Ord is by far the best place on the Monterey Peninsula for mountain biking. You can also ride from Arroyo Seco area on Indians Road etc. Happy Trails!

adamwiseman July 14, 2011 at 1:58 AM  

Thanks for this great post. I'm military, and I'm fortunate enough to live in military housing here on Fort Ord (even though it's no longer an active base, there is still military housing for Naval Postgraduate School and Presidio of Monterey personnel), and I'm just getting into the sport. I look forward to many, many afternoons exploring what is essentially my back yard. And that video you posted is just sick. Is that the Goat Trail?

Greg Heil July 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM  

Yep, that's the goat trail! Such a sick descent!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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