Named after nature-loving abolitionists that moved west in the 1880’s, Brown Mountain has been an alpine haven for over a century. The Brown Boys, as they were called, had large beards and strong personalities. These two brothers moved west after the civil war and built a cabin in the canyon below what is now Brown Mountain. They were known for a wonderful garden as well as an effervescent love for the mountains; it is fitting that their former space continues to inspire generations of nature-lovers.
What Makes It Great
It is an out-and-back ride that finishes at the Peak of Brown Mountain. After the initial section on pavement, the entire ride is on old fire roads that have become overgrown so they are, in effect, single track. Grades are not super steep, but the entire ride is exposed to the sun in the afternoon, so be prepared with protection and water.
To access the trails, there is a parking lot at the corner of Ventura Street and North Windsor Avenue (exit Windsor Ave/N. Arroyo Blvd from the 210 and head north 2.3 miles, parking on left). Just north of the Windsor-Ventura intersection, the San Gabrielino Trail begins, ride it north. San Gabrielino is paved and slightly downhill, after 1.2 miles you hit a fork, continue right onto the Fern Truck Trail. It climbs for a few hundred feet until it turns to dirt where there are two trails that turn off to the right, ignore these and continue straight up the fire road. The climb is 2.7 miles long and not very steep, but it is exposed to the sun in the afternoons. This is an old fire road that has been over grown and narrowed over time. The views are awesome.
After 2.7 miles, you enter a clearing; a sign on the left indicates that if you continue left that will take you up Brown Mountain. With another 2.7 miles to the summit, this is halfway. The upper section is more of a traverse up and across the mountain’s contours; this is where the views of the valley and upper mountains really begin to reveal themselves.
Take in the view from the top, and then descend back the way you came. This can be a fast descent, so be cautious. This is a very “flowy” trail and great for anyone who wants to work on technical skills, but doesn’t yet feel comfortable with big drops or lots of rocks. Remember to remain vigilant for riders and hikers going uphill, as the sightline is not very long.
Who is Going to Love It
The afternoon, after work, crew will love this ride. It is a great space to work on some fitness and technical skills, while, most importantly, having fun.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Exit the CA-210 at N. Windsor Ave/N. Arroyo Blvd and head north 2.3 miles, parking on left just before the Windsor-Ventura intersection. North of the Windsor-Ventura intersection, the San Gabrielino Trail begins, take it north for 1.2 miles then turn right onto the Fern Truck Trail. Open from sunrise to sunset.