Mountain Bike Access Threatened in Cheeseboro Canyon

Recent comments by National Park Service ranger personnel indicate that resource damage caused by mountain bikers in Cheeseboro Canyon Park in Agoura Hills could threaten future access.

Over the last few years increased off-trail “bonus runs” have been created by mountain bikers and is a fairly serious breech of accepted activity. These bonus runs include parallel routes along designated trails for the purposes of creating a more challenging experience.

Bonus runs are a direct example of mountain bikers not adhering to posted designated trail routes. Continuing this practice could lead to access restrictions. Please think twice about going off-trail: A little personal fun now could cost a lot of fun for a lot of people in the future. Remember, your individual actions speak for the entire mountain biking community.

Tags: , ,

12 Responses to “Mountain Bike Access Threatened in Cheeseboro Canyon”

  1. tessat says:

    Where is this evident?

  2. John Wallace says:

    Could you be more specific as to what “bonus runs” you are talking about. There was a trail north of the lower Palo Comado Fire road that was closed about five years ago, appeared to be open again about a year or so ago; now it is clearly marked as closed [a portion of this trail is on an old service road].

    Again, about one year ago, somebody built up a large jump off of the China Flat trail [which was demolished and now is hard to notice with the recent rains].

    Other than these two examples, I am not sure what you are talking about.

    I ride in Cheeseboro all the time – so it would help to know some details, so we users can do our own policing.


    • markmtb says:

      Thanks for your concern! There are several examples of bonus runs in Cheeseboro Canyon. The most obvious one is about two thirds of the way down the canyon between Shepherds Flat and the parking lot. If you are traveling south (toward the parking lot) there is a slight downhill section leading into a left hand corner with an exposed hillside approximately 15 feet high on the right side of the trail. Bicycles ride up onto the hillside in an arc then come back down. Several similar (yet smaller) examples of this exist, for example just south of Sulphur Springs; bikes ride off the trail up onto the hillside for several yards then come back down onto the trail. Basically, anywhere where you see a short parallel trail off the main trail. Of course, there are also some parallel trails that have been created recently which divert around mud puddles, but these are not considered bonus runs. We’ll try to get some photos posted within the next few days to hopefully better illustrate what we’re talking about.

  3. Al says:

    I was riding there yesterday and talked to the Rangers and helped them out a bit. They put tree trunks, branches, etc to block the “bonus rums” that are off the main trails. Don’t, don’t !! remove them !!! We want to keep the full access there.

  4. John Wallace says:

    OK. I thought you meant an actual trail or something more significant. If trail users want something more exciting, they should be on a different trail! In the overall scheme of things, this seems a bit petty to be threatening access, especially since most of these “bonus runs” have existed for as long as I have been riding in Cheeseboro (15+ years). For the record, I do not ride on them – except maybe that exposed hillside maybe a few times in 15 years [and for most people, I bet they consider this part of the trail]. The only way I see that this can be addressed is with signs, at these specific locations, since the vast majority of users will (unfortunately) not read this article/post or will not know what specifically you are referring to (like me, before your clarification). For the Park service to be spending their limited funds to create, install, and maintain signs for this purpose does not seem appropriate – there must be more important issues for them to deal with. However, if it is really that important, then maybe we users can take up a collection to help with this effort; however, I have an idea of where this is coming from, and in my experience, there is little that can be done to satisfy this person as she has a strong dislike for bikers.


  5. Simon says:

    I dont see how these small off run banks jeopordize the use for mtb riders. The large bank you talk about has been like that in Cheesebro ever since I have been riding there for many years. I see more damage on the trails from the horse community that dont wait for the trails to dry up and get back to normal. The hoof marks left from the rain this year are worse than ever. Do the park rangers ever make a move to restrict their use ? I think not ! I don’t see Cheesebro being abused in any way by the MTB community.

  6. Douglas Kubler says:

    I see there’s a new sign that closes the 100yd singletrack that parallels the dip in the fireroad about 1/4 mile from the kiosk. The singletrack has worked for years and is a safe way to bypass equestrians who take the fireroad and it bypasses the mudpit that forms on the fireroad. If they want to avoid damage close the park to all uses when the trails are damp. I’ve seen equestrians mob the place after a rain. Do they do it because soft dirt is easier on the horses? One wonders. A mob of equestrians went through gaspipe after a rain and carved more erosion than decades of biking.

  7. Glen says:

    I had to chime in here. Although I read the blogs, I rarely comment. I see this from three perspectives, 1. As a Trail Runner, 2. As a Mountain Biker, 3. As a Horseback Rider. I have done all three in the local State/National Parks since their inception here. I’ m not trying to brag, just showing my experience. Cheesebro is consistently pummeled after the rain by three users, 1. There are many responsible Horseback Riders that will stay away after the rain, a select few literally destroy the trail. 2. a select few Mountain Bikers are equally guilty. 3. I hate to say it….the State and National Park employees and their permitted agents consistently feel the need to drive on the fire roads right after the rain and “WE” all see the results in the form of two giant ruts down the road. The Parks should be closed for 48 hours after a measurable rain storm…period. We are all guilty and banning one part of the problem is not the solution. Closing the trails would cause an enormous political backlash and consume everybody’s time when they could be working on actually making improvements that are needed. Education and enforcement is the answer.

    • tbt says:

      Great comment Glen. I think it is important to hear from both sides. I’m an avid mountain biker but I can understand the frustration of having an oncoming biker racing towards you — it’s scary and completely annoying. It’s happened to all of us at some point, I’m sure. But targeting all mountain bikers for that one incident is uncalled for. I see plenty of terrible, unsafe motorcyclist on the roads but we don’t ban all people from riding motorcycles — we create rules that make it safer for everyone. But the frustration I have is simple, we all use the trails and no one should own the right to use them exclusively. The horses and bikes don’t cause damage to the trails, people do. Banning bikes is not the answer. Banning horses will never happen. Closing the trails after rains is a great idea. Orange County already does and anyone on those trails is guilty of doing harm – regardless what they’re riding. Ticket the offenders and gain more $ for the parks, trail maintenance, etc. It seems to be an obvious solution. Has this been proposed?

  8. GT says:

    I believe the equestrians mob the trails after the rain including the bypass trails in an effort to discourage mountain bikers from riding the trails. It does not take a Brian surgeon to observe the 20 foot wide trail with hoof holes in every square inch of it including the mud bypass trails. It would be impossible to do so much damage without intent. The mountain bikers riding over these hoof holes help to repair the trail not damage them. The bonus runs you speak of are doing nothing to harm the park and add to the enjoyment of the park by all users. Putting tree branches in front of them will eventually lead to someone in the dark getting hurt trying to avoid the hoof holes or oncoming traffic. A lot of these parallel trails end up getting started trying to get around large groups of hikers, not that there is not enough room on the road to pass each other but large groups are generally talking and not paying attention to anything else so they cover the entire 20 foot span and do not move over when oncoming traffic approaches. These parallel trails offer more opportunity to avoid confrontation with oncoming traffic, avoid mud and avoid rangers driving their trucks. There are acres and acres of land for us to enjoy and the more trails we have to access these areas the less congestion and confrontation we will have. I suggest the park allow mountain bike groups to create new one way trails for mountain bikes only that will draw most of the mountain bikes off the trails used by hikers and horses; you would think this would make everyone happy.

  9. Simon says:

    I know there is some trail work planned for Sheeps Coral area in Chesebro in a week or two. I expect that the main body of people that will be there helping will be either hikers or mountain bikers. I doubt many horse people will turn up to help out maintain our trails. Does that say something ??
    Its a shame that the blame gets bounced around for trail damage. We all do our part in damage one way or another. If you can sleep at night feeling you have done nothing wrong then kudos to you. We can only be responsible for setting good examples, and working with all communities to share the trails and enjoy such a beautiful part of the natural habitat. Lets not forget we are all privilaged to be there and should not take it for granted.
    The horse community are generally pretty friendly to myself and the group of bikers I ride with, as long as you show courtesy to them. Can’t we just all get along? 🙂

  10. Rob says:

    The so called “resource damage” that is being mentioned here has been going on for the 10 years I have been riding Chesebro.
    The park service must have been blind for many years…..
    I second the comment about the horse community, could be that I ride horses as much as I ride bikes, I never had any bad encounters with horse people in that area.
    I have a feeling this is started by people who are not local to the area, and who are not frequent visitors to the park, we who are, HAVE to stand up against these sinsister people !

Leave a Reply for tbt