Barrett-Stoddard rd, Cucamonga Truck Trail

TRs for the San Gabriel Mountains.
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dima
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Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:35 am

Post by dima »

Today I took the mountain bike to see how much of the Cucamonga Truck Trail is passable, since there're rumors that it's being worked on.

I've never been on most of Barrett-Stoddard road either, so I figured I'd start there, instead of the shorter option in Cucamonga Canyon.

Alright, so initially Barrett-Stoddard is wide and clear, since people live off it. Then there's a gate, and the road gets a bit more narrow, and there's a boulder on it here and there, but it's still excellent. It's 2021, so every destination that's mentioned anywhere on the internet is a big thing to go check out. Thus there're many people walking this road to bag Stoddard Peak. There're cool views on the way. Here's the view of the tunnels on Mt Baldy Rd and some peak (Sunset?).

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The lower tunnel has some sort of bypass trail, or something?

The road climbs steeply up to the saddle at Stoddard Flat. Here the use trail up to Stoddard branches of. Nobody around past that. I descended down to Cucamonga canyon. Initially it's steep and bouldery. The road is still mostly a road here, albeit a messed-up one. There's a crag for those who care about such things:

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There's another gate just before the crossing of the East Fork of Stoddard Canyon (there's water). At this point it's not a road anymore, and is solidly a trail. One with lots of boulders and lots of brush poking you from both sides. The road junction to Frankish is barely visible: the road (trail) I'm on clearly gets SOME use, while nobody goes up to Frankish. The roadbed is visible, but it's brushy. I've been there. There's no reason visit.

Eventually the route meets a fork of Cucamonga Canyon, and follows it East. Brushy. Bouldery.

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Most of it isn't this nice and shaded and relatively clear. Eventually the trail hits a good dirt road, right before crossing the main branch of Cucamonga canyon. This whole thing was very doable on a bike, and would be really easy (but boring) on foot. I wouldn't do it on a road bike.

In Cucamonga canyon, there're a few good roads, and lots of people walking around. The waterfalls are just below, but there's clear signage that they're off limits. Anyway, I found the start of the Cucamonga Trail, and started climbing. The good dirt road ends at the gate, which is just above the junction at 3100ft. Past that it's single-track again. Still very bouldery, but not as brushy. The lower section is REALLY steep, and I walked much of it. Steep + bouldery = hard.

At the saddle above the first steep section (3570ft) the views open up

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Neat views of San G an San J. And there's some twisty road below that doesn't really connect to anything. Looking ahead, the trail leaves the saddle and keeps climbing

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This goes on for a while, and it's in great shape. Narrow single-track with boulders, but not a lot of brush. It's great! Then there're lots of switchbacks, and you end up at a saddle at 4700ft. Better views here. Saddleback and the switchbacks I just climbed:

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Turtle's Beak, Ontario, Bighorn, maybe Cucamonga?

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There's a sign

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And the trail keeps going

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Up to this point it didn't look like there was any major recent work happening. I'm sure people cut back a bush here and there, but nothing big. Maybe the maintenance was semi-regular, so the roadbed never got badly overgrown. Above here, that changes. Clearly the whitethorn and manzanita completely dominated the roadbed. But it looks like a crew came by recently and cleaned it up. Must have been really recent. The ground is still soft, and the cuts look fresh. Looks like this:

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This looks like it was a massive effort. Whoever did this rocks.

Let's talk about whitethorn. Normally it's full of thorns that are attached to the plant. So unless you're bushwhacking through it, it's not a problem. But what happens when somebody comes through and chops it down? You get lots of thorns on the ground. And then they end up in my tires. I got the flat at 5000ft: a chunky thorn went straight in maybe 3/4 of an inch. After I pulled out the tube, I checked the tire, and there were 4 or so thorns poking through that must have not been an issue because the thorn itself was holding the hole closed. My turnaround time was approaching, so I called it a day here. Replaced the tube, and gingerly rolled back down the hill. I checked the tires periodically, and there were definitely more thorns stuck to them. Pulling them out wouldn't do anything good, so I let it be, and hoped for the best. Worked out! I managed to get back without losing any appreciable amount of air. At the car I actually pulled them out: 3 were holding back punctures. And when I got home I checked out the first tube: 3 punctures too!

The whole point of this trip was to figure out how far back the road remains passable, and I still don't know. Passable beyond 5000ft. Fun even. I brought the loppers to cut back the front line, but I never even got to the front line. I want to go back, but this bike needs to become tubeless before I dare. Also I'm going to say, mtb STRONGLY recommended. This whole thing is chunky.

The gate at the bottom of the road and the sign at the saddle had a "hikerevolution" sticker. I looked them up just now, and found their facebook page. Apparently they were up there cutting stuff on Mar 22. And they replaced Sean's register on Calamity Peak with an ammo can. Yay internet.

Before calling it a day I checked out the old paved road that runs along the canyon S of the bottom of Barrett-Stoddard. I runs past a big waterfall and some stiff-looking climbing routes, and keeps going South, sometimes falling down into the canyon

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There's another minor detail, but I'll ask that question in another post.
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