Guadalasca and Rogers Road Trails to be Upgraded in 2012

CORBA's Bob Trailers will be used by crews on Rogers RoadCalifornia State Parks (CSP) is hiring a crew to work on Rogers Road Trail in Topanga State Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park. The work will include brushing to remove the overgrowth and some tread work to remove the ruts. The bridge on Chicken Ridge will be repaired and upgraded, and new signs put up to remind riders (bikes and equestrians) to walk through this section. CORBA will be supplying bicycles and B.O.B. Trailers to allow the trail crew volunteers easier access to the remote work sites. The work is expected to take place from February to June 2012. We will post notice of the work schedule and impacts to trail users as it is supplied by State Parks.

This project is made possible by a grant from the National Park Service. It serves as a prime example of how the National Park Service can help another agency achieve their goals through financial support and shared resources, as we are advocating for the San Gabriel Mountains Special Resource Study.

The Guadalasca Trail in Point Mugu State Park will also undergo some substantial improvements over the next year or two. First, the lower section (part of  the old ranch road), will be brushed out to allow access for motorized equipment. An excavator will be used to remove the existing drain culverts and convert them to level crossings. The large rut on the uphill side will be filled in and the travel surface moved to the downhill side to improve water drainage. Part of the newer section of the trail will be rerouted and in the process will add 1/4 to 1/2 mile to its length. The old trail will remain open while construction takes place on the re-route. Some of the switchbacks could be converted to climbing turns, and rolling dips will be added to help control erosion. Using IMBA-influenced designs, sinuosity and pinch points will be incorporated to reduce downhill travel speeds. This will help reduce conflicts with other trail users, including climbing mountain bikers. CSP has asked CORBA and other organizations to recruit volunteers to help with some of this work. We expect to be announcing trailwork days in the new year to get this work done.

Tapia Spur trail will be receiving an upgrade as well, bringing the trail up to the State’s shared-use standards. There are many blind corners and other potential problem spots, and narrow sections where two trail users cannot safely pass each other. The trail will serve a model for how shared-use principles will be implemented as other trails are converted to shared-use and new trails are constructed.

11 Responses to “Guadalasca and Rogers Road Trails to be Upgraded in 2012”

  1. Brad Cristea says:

    Improvements? By that do you mean, making the trails easier to ride? By that, do you mean taking the challenge out of the trail? Granted I’ve only been riding the Santa Monicas for the last 7 years, it seems as though if you wanted to increase your skill level, you should be riding trails that would let you do that. By grading trails and making switchbacks more “user friendly”, your taking the challenge out of it. Guadalasca is good the way it is. Leave it alone! SPEED BUMPS ON DOWNHILL SECTIONS! WTF!!! Someone did this in Wildwood and it sucks. It actually creates a dangerous situation. How about some love for the AM / gravity crowd?

  2. Jonathan Hayward says:

    Hi Brad,

    Frankly, the AM and gravity crowd should follow the rules and guidance of the organizations that promote trail maintenance. I love you guys, but you are developing a bad reputation for cutting switchbacks, exceeding safe speeds, and scaring equestrians. The Guadalasca trail modifications are intended to preserve the trail for shared use. If you tear it up and terrorize the other users, you put all mountain bikers at risk of being denied access. There are plenty of other trails for DH thrills. Guadie was not built to challenge your skills.

    I would love to see a large contingency of AM and DH riders at trailwork events, but that just doesn’t happen. If you exercise care and maintenance of our trails, you might develop respect for the purpose of shared use.

  3. El Salt says:

    I’m rarely against any trail work that is done by Corba, State Park crews, or private companies (SoCal Gas Co. Sullivan Cyn – WLA). Often times peeps get their baggies in a bunch. And, often times in my opinion, once the literal dust has settled, mother nature comes in, and lines have reformed, we end up with something new and sometimes something better / more fun.

    In the case of Guadalasca out in Sycamore Cyn, I do hope both Corba and the State Parks staff sited go about their work with a delicate hand. Guadalasca is one of my all time faves in SoCal, both for climbing, and descending. Fun trail, flow, mini tech, amazing views, true single track, and in the spring like riding in a botanical garden. Living in WLA, its not my “local” trail, but really only less than an hour away it do get out to the area often, in fact just this past Saturday, and it was amazing!

    Anyway, I’m hopeful one of the most fun (for many reasons) trails in SoCal is able to maintain its character.

  4. markmtb says:

    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for weighing in on this. As you are aware, trails are dynamic. Work must be done to them periodically to repair erosion from water and normal wear and tear. CORBA helps with this work because we feel it is part of our responsibility as advocates for open space trails and shared use. CORBA does not make policy or decisions when it comes to how, when, or why work gets done. We hope that our concerns are heard and our involvement is recognized, but in the end it is up to the agencies to make the final decision as to the kind of work that gets done.

    If you have been riding the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains for more than a few years, no doubt you’ve seen work performed that initially changes the trails’ characteristics, then through weather and use the trails take on different, some would say more natural characteristics. But the bottom line is that trails need maintenance, or they will erode and become unsafe. It has nothing to do with the types of users that are enjoying the trails, it is a matter of long-term sustainability and resource management. Sometimes trail work can seem overly aggressive, but the result is less overall work needed to maintain the trail’s condition. Like most everything in life, things that get used often need maintenance and upkeep.

    Regarding the specific comment about “speed bumps”, sometimes water diversion drains can look like speed control devices. I was riding in Wildwood just yesterday and the southern section of Lynnmere Trail that ascends from Wildwood Canyon has had some water diversion mounds installed across the trail. Due to the nature and steepness of this trail, these are the most effective means of keeping water from running straight down the trail and causing dangerous and damaging ruts. As the chairperson for the Conejo Open Space Trail Advisory Committee I will bring up your concerns of safety at our next board meeting, which takes place Monday March 5, 6:30pm, at the Conejo Recreation Park District Headquarters, 403 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. This is a public meeting and you are welcome to attend and voice your concerns in person. Thanks!

    Mark Langton
    President, CORBA

  5. Rick Rodgers says:

    Every day, some government agency somewhere chips away at our personal freedoms. Just a little at a time, almost imperceptible, death by a thousand cuts. And now it looks like CORBA is conspiring with the State to ruin a beautiful single track trail – the Guadalasca.

    Today, I road in the Sycamore Canyon up Wood Canyon to the Guadalasca Trail. I was quite surprised to see three large vans parked on the Wood Canyon Trail at the Guadalasca Trailhead. Big vans with CORBA signs. A few hundred yards up our sweet Guadalasca single track, I see 20-30 people wielding chain saws, axes, hoes and cutters – clearing chaparral on both sides of the trail to about a 15’ wide clearing. WTF? Why?

    I got off my bike and started asking questions, but all I got was a half-hearted response, “trail maintenance”. But I know the State Parks’ mission – bulldoze, widen, smooth, pave over, and put up signs – it’s the natural progression of the government – take away and restrict. I finally found papa bear – a State Park ranger named Dale in a 4x Gator giving directions to these CORBA volunteers. I lit into him and asked him whose idea this is – he said it was his idea(!) I said oh really – you came up with this idea all by yourself? Of course he backed down and said that it was State Park Regulations for “regular trail maintenance.” I got pissed at that and said bullshit this is not maintenance – its ruination!

    You guys, CORBA, are ruining a beautiful sweet wilderness trail. What is the purpose of widening the trail? Ranger Dale said the widening is necessary so that the trail is accessible for everyone to pass by. BS! I have been riding this trail over 20 years and I never had a problem passing a hiker a bike or a horse, and it’s too steep for wheelchairs so what is the real problem? I have a pretty good idea why they are clearing it out – so that after running a dozer up the trail and smoothing it out like a baby’s butt, the rangers can drive their big ass pickup trucks up the “trail” without spilling their coffee – that’s why you’re doing this.

    Ranger Dale informed me that they will be “leveling out” some of the erosion (doze over the rock garden and drop offs). That’s like leveling out all of the moguls and contours of a black diamond ski run – this is stupid –you’re trying to turn a beautiful wilderness trail into a Disneyland path. Ranger Dale also added that they plan was to cut a new (wide and smooth) trail on the downhill side of the Guadalasca trail and eventually block off the classic old trail. WTF?? Why?

    If you can’t tell, I am really disturbed by this and even more so that a so-called mountain bike advocacy group is doing the actual ruination!! What is CORBA for anyway? I read this on your website about the hack job on Guadalasca: “Come join CORBA as we kick off a major rework of Guadalasca Trail in Pt. Mugu State Park. Over the next weeks and beyond, a substantial amount of work will be done to revitalize this favorite trail. . .” Revitalize?? What the heck are you talking about? How can you really believe that widening and leveling a sweet single track is “revitalizing”? What kind of BS word is that? Revitalizing? What does that mean?

    I found a previous blog post that said: “An excavator will be used to remove the existing drain culverts and convert them to level crossings. The large rut on the uphill side will be filled in and the travel surface moved to the downhill side to improve water drainage. Part of the newer section of the trail will be rerouted and in the process will add 1/4 to 1/2 mile to its length.” Level crossings? Why? What’s wrong with a little whoop-de-doo? That large rut is actually a very cool trail challenge for technical riding (its damn fun!), and adding ½ mile to the length can only mean one thing – less grade! On hell – let’s just level the whole damn thing and pave it over!

    • Steve Clark says:

      Rick, Thanks for your views on trailwork. About 15-20 mountain bikers passed us 22 mountain bikers as we were working on the trail, and most of them thanked us for our work as they went by. They understand the value of maintaining the trail. There was only one biker who bitched and moaned that we were destroying the trail. You can read the wrap-up summary of the work here Probably you won’t agree with it, but it explains what we’re working towards.

    • clyde devins says:


      I couldn’t disagree with you more.

      I appreciate the effort Corba makes in providing trail maintenance and building new trails.

      Where Guadalasca is concerned I’ve certainly noticed that the current drainage has created a “V” pattern that will eventually destroy the trail. Who wants that ?

      I would venture to guess that many of the volunteers were mountain bikers with just the same or more experience as you claim to have. And you might be surprised how many times your “sweet wilderness trail” has been maintained by the same folks to keep it in a condition where all trail users can enjoy it – including you.

  6. Hans Keifer says:

    As a trail contractor I hear it all the time. Anytime we are hired to go in and do major trail repairs someone claims we are destroying the trails. I do understand how it can look that way at first. When you use a machine to do the work the trail will be wide and maybe smooth for a while. Once the trail beds in and the vegetation fills back in you will have a narrower trail once again. Rocks and roots that are just below the surface will become exposed and roughen things up.

    Regarding ruts being fun and challenging to ride I agree with that and do enjoy the challenge. The problem is most people ride or walk around ruts leading to more erosion and a wider trail. Next time you ride really look at the trail and you will see what I mean. I have seen guys with 8″ travel bikes ride around ruts and rocks!

    The State needs to consider all trail users, not just mountain bikers. Have you ever tried hiking in ruts or a V shaped trail? It is very uncomfortable. Hikers complaining about the trail may have led to these repairs being done. There are also many mountain bikers that don’t like riding on rutted trails.

    I don’t think it is anyones goal to make the trail smoother or less challenging. The goal of California State Parks trail guidelines is to make the trails safe and sustainable. If trails are eroding there is a problem and they are not sustainable. Erosion is bad for the trail and the environment!

    I am not involved with this project and do not know the details but I can guess the longer reroute is so they can put in grade reversals. Grade reversals can allow you to have steeper short sections of trail. The grade reversals can add flow as you can pump through them so they can be fun to ride and at the same time allow the water to drain from the trail. In trail building and repair it is always about getting the water off the trail! Water is the trails greatest enemy!

    If you are concerned with what is being done, come on out and lend a hand and give your input on what you would like to see happen. The State asked for CORBA’s help on this I assume so they could get mountain bikers help and input! Bring your bike to the work day, once a section is complete, ride it and see how it feels. If it does not feel right, keep at it and dial it in!

    Also keep in mind that this trail that so many of us mountain bikers love so much was built with the very same machine that will be used to make these repairs.

  7. Chris Lombardo says:

    I understand the reasoning for trail work, just not the need for it on Guacamole. I suppose Space Mountain is next? Lots of challenging single track there too that awaits “improvement.” Those deep “V’s” everyone’s worried about? A lot of us call those great opportunities to improve skills. BTW, last time I was riding up Wood Canyon one of those little 4×4’s came screaming down around a blind corner right at me.

  8. mike says:

    I was one of those bikers on the 25th who were happy to see maintenance one of my favorite trails. It is clear that the condition of lower Guadalasca was getting really bad and needed repair.

    I would be distressed if the upper switchbacks were widened when all they really need is water diverters and a good trimming. I would expect CORBA to balance the need for maintenance while preserving the single track ride that distinguishes this from just another fireroad. I don’t think a singletrack needs to be wide enough through the whole trail to accommodate two way traffic. The bells employed by the riders coming up seem sufficient warning for me as I come down.

    Maybe the CORBA team can give a little more insight into the plans to prevent angst about the fate of the existing trail.

    Thanks CORBA and I hope to join you in maintenance one of these days. My son joined me on the 25th experiencing Guadalasca for the first time and he agreed that it is one of the treasures of the conjeo valley.

    • Steve Clark says:

      Mike, I don’t believe that State Parks is planning to ‘widen’ any switchbacks. That has happened natually because of the use they get, and people wanting to avoid the ruts and rocks in the original main line. Instead, State Parks wants to convert a subset to climbing turns. Climbing turns aren’t as sharp as switchbacks so you don’t have to slow down quite as much to go through them. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of skidding that leads to ruts, and widening of the trail as people avoid the ruts. I don’t see a lot of room for climbing turns, though, so I’m as eager as anyone to see how they turn out!

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