I’ve experienced some great off-road and off-the-beaten-path adventures with my teammate, Josh, and our ride over the July 4th holiday goes down as perhaps the best yet. The adventure was planned to loop around Sugarloaf mountain, using the slow-burning Wildhorse Meadows fireroad to access the seldom-descended Wildhorse downhill trail. From there, we would hook into SART (Santa Ana River Trail) and take it down to Radford fireroad, a beast of a climb back over the mountain range to the top of Big Bear’s ski resorts and drop familiar singletrack back home.
But the star of the ride was the Wildhorse downhill and the crazy weather immediately after successfully dropping this trail – which is now my favorite DH trail in the world. No hyperbole here, folks. You drop 2,000 feet in 5 miles and witness at least 3 different plant communities: oak/pine mixed forest at the top; riparian fern forest; and scrub oak & chaparral at the bottom. It’s a 1/2 hour descent that feels like a fun 2 hour Disney Adventure (Soarin’ Over CA) experience. Here’s my attempt to re-create it for you:
The forecast called for thunderstorms and it didn’t disappoint. We commented to ourselves to keep track of the sky and while it was blue sky at the top of Wildhorse, it had turned grey at the bottom. Our traverse on SART was accompanied by rolling thunder and the occasional bright flash. Grand mountain music. Towards the end of our run on SART we were left with a decision: Climb up Radford in this intense weather knowing it might get cold or stop, phone a Dad, and bum a ride back to the top. Factoring in that it was a vacation trip and that we both still had vivid memories of our Whiskey 50 freeze and thaw, we decided to call it a ride and hitch a ride back home.