Lots of riding in the San Gabriel Mountains is either long, relatively placid fire roads or intense singletrack that requires a high caliber of skills. In a landscape of polarized riding options, Monroe Truck Trail is an exception and the happy medium. The trail is a progressive climb that varies from technical rock gardens to wide-open double track, but the majority of the ride is well packed single-track. If you love technical climbs and descents but aren’t really into lots of exposure or black diamond descents, then this is a ride for you.
What Makes It Great
The climb up Lower Monroe Truck Trail takes you from the LA basin up the flanks of the San Gabriels toward the highest peak at Mount Baldy. Although the ride only climbs ~2500 feet, the high peaks above are a constant presence. If you love climbing for that viewpoint and then turning around to descend technical terrain, then this could be for you.
The ride begins in Glendora. From the 210 Freeway, exit at Grand Avenue and head north towards the mountains. After 1.5 miles, turn right onto Foothill Boulevard and continue for 2 miles. Turn left on Valley Circle Drive, continue for 0.8 miles and turn left onto east Sierra Madre Boulevard and then turn right onto the first cross street, Glendora Mountain Road (GMR). The trailhead is 1 mile up GMR at the first switchback. It is best to park at the first dirt parking lot on the left and then ride up the road as a warm up because the first section is a rocky stream climb and can be taxing. The trail starts and stops on GMR and has no alternative routes, so it is rather straightforward and ideal for a group that might get strung out along the ride.
The bottom section is really the best part of the ride. It is full of stream crossings, tight lines and soil that just grips- its almost like its designed by an engineer. Even though the bottom is the best, don’t stop because the entire rides is a wonderful breath of fresh air.
Who is Going to Love It
This ride is ideal for the casual cross country or trail rider. The bottom section is the most technical with soil that has a lot of moisture and grip, while the upper areas are dryer and fast. The grade is not particularly steep, but, like most things on a bike, if you do it fast it is hard. The climb is 6 miles long and climbs ~2500 feet. The top has views of the canyons that cut the San Gabriel Mountains. In the winter you can see the snow on Mt. Baldy. The intermediate skill requirement make this a great first outing for someone looking to move off of fire roads and onto technical single track.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the 210 Freeway, exit at Grand Avenue and head north towards the mountains, go 1.5 miles on Grand. Turn right onto Foothill Boulevard and continue for 2 miles, then turn left on Valley Circle Drive, continue for 0.8 miles and turn left onto east Sierra Madre Boulevard and then turn right onto the first cross street, Glendora Mountain Road (GMR). The trailhead is 1 mile up GMR at the first switchback.