Ride: Lower Lytle Creek Ridge

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Ever been driving down the highway, looked at some mountains and wondered what it’d be like to explore them by motorcycle? My friend Alex (pictured here showing off his freshly-learned Texas Tornado Boot Camp skills) and I have. But, because we’re from the East Coast, we’ve rarely had the opportunity. Now that we’re in SoCal, all we needed was a couple Yamaha WR250Rs and an afternoon off work. We didn’t know where we were going, but we found a pretty good trail that you might enjoy too.

Now, just because we’re in Biketopia, doesn’t meant that we can just point ourselves at some mountains and get riding. While all those mountains are filled with fire roads and trails, a lot of them are in a permanent state of closure due to fire damage, erosion or hippie infestations. There’s also not a good central resource for monitoring which trails are open or closed other than word of mouth or by trawling ADVRider.

Acting on less than complete information, we initially headed for San Bernadino Canyon, only to discover that all the trails off it are closed. Talking to a Ranger, we learned that Lytle Creek Canyon, just 20 or 30 miles away should be open. We also learned that California Rangers assume east coasters are a couple of pansies who are going to get eaten by rattlesnakes the second we venture outside a shopping mall.

So, an hour later, there we are contemplating dragging the WRs under the gate closing off the fire trail at the end of Lytle Creek Canyon when another Ranger, even less impressed with kids on dirt bikes, shows up. After making it exceptionally clear that we weren’t welcome on his turf, he escorted us back down the road.

Then, just before giving up and hopping back on the highway, we lost the Ranger and found an open gate. Better than nothing, right? Turns out is was much more than that.

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If you’re looking for the trail yourself, it’s on the right as you enter the Canyon from the 15. If memory serves, it’s just after the first pull-off on the left. Regardless, look for a trail and an open gate. After a short run straight in, the trail forks in two. To the right, it takes you up to a couple electricity towers and through some relatively challenging climbs or, if you’re on the way back down, descents. To the left, it’ll run you up over the ridge and back down to the 215, by Glen Helen, on the other side.

Switchback after switchback after switchback, the majority of which are more sand than rocks and relatively easy, unless you decide to haul ass sideways like Alex. The views are good too, taking in the 15, 215 and San Bernadino and Fontucky below you. You can see all the way out to the ocean and Orange County on a clear day like last Friday.

I’m relatively terrible at dirt riding, but all the easy, sandy corners made practicing backing it in pretty easy for me. If I keep spending three day weekends off road, it shouldn’t just be a case of practicing before too long either.

On a Friday at least, we were the only two vehicles on the trail. It appears fairly lightly travelled compared to other area dual sport destinations like Silverardo Canyon in the OC. Over Silverado, I’d give Lytle Ridge the nod for surface, views and isolation, but it is a further trek from civilization.

Down the east side of the ridge and there’s a gas station just at the end that stocks Monster Rehab. There’s something imminently satisfying about ripping down a trail, pulling back onto pavement covered head to toe in dirt, then fading back into mundane traffic as your ride home.

  • Brant

    That brunette has dirt all over her face.

    You’ll never live it down, Wes.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Even on different sites!

      • Scott-jay

        What a chameleon! How long in CA so far? : )

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          2 months on Friday.

  • JaySD

    Gah, I am close to selling my WR250R I just never get to really ride it

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Try harder.

      • JaySD

        I know,I should the lack of a truck and having a baby is what did it

    • noone1569

      Interesting. I am so close to buying one . . .

      • JaySD

        Well if you are serious (and if I am serious about selling) get in touch with me. Otherwise I will probably list it on ADV Rider craigslist stuff won’t appreciate the stuff I have done to the bike or the fact I have the 2 complete wheel sets for street/dirt

  • Alex

    That was fun :)

  • dirtridingBil

    I like it when u guys ride dirt.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We like it too. More of it from here on out.

  • Paul B

    This is why I will never NOT own a dual sport. The fact that you can take off and go any where combined with the feeling of doing something illegal every time I ride past the cops on it, makes me feel like I am 12 riding my MR175 all over town again.

    Oh how I love you my little DRZ400E!

    • slowtire

      +1…XR650L…will always own a DS!

    • occam

      +1. KTM 250 EXC-F here (+ Triumph Speed Triple for the street and ocasional track).

    • pplassm

      +3 DRZ400, KTM520, YZ250, all with plates. Bwahaha!

  • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ gregorbean

    Cool report! If you want another option, you guys should check out the area just north of Santa Clarita. Specifically just a couple miles into the Angeles National Forest, heading north on Bouquet Canyon road past the ranger station on the right there’s a number of forest service roads that switchback up and lead to decent ohv stuff. Some wide open trails, and a little bit of tighter single track, all with good views on a clear day. Find your way along the ridge and you’ll be looking down at the Bouquet Reservoir. I went up there a couple times on a DRZ and wasn’t able to explore all it had to offer. Then you can ride the trails down and go around the reservoir to the little town of Green Valley or back to Santa Clarita for your Monster Rehab. They had trails with the little ohv placards telling you if you were on a green (easy), blue (moderate), or black (difficult) terrain route. Pretty cool.

    Might take a little while from Long Beach, although not too long on the 405…but when I lived in Los Feliz I’d usually get myself to Little Tujunga Canyon Road off the 210 in order to get some nice twisties on the way to the dirt. Little Tujunga>Sand Canyon Rd>Sierra Hwy (for a moment)>Vasquez Canyon Rd>Bouquet Canyon Rd.

    Good Stuff!

    • Alex

      Okay Wes, we have our next destination! Maybe the Tundra can help us get North of HelL-A.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        You and Jen want to come Dual Sport camping this weekend?

        • JaySD

          Where Gregorbean is talking about is the Santa Clarita Divide area which is right off Little Tujunga Canyon. That area is home to a weekly ride from advrider with a bunch of cool guys


          • GoFasterPB

            Awesome. Thanks for the linky.

        • Alex

          Mid-Ohio AMA this weekend. Call ya when I get back.

          • noone1569

            I’ll be there!

    • GoFasterPB

      Are you talking about Rowher Flats? I know it’s in that area somewhere. I always see the dual sport guys when I ride Bouquet… been looking to take my DS out there to explore.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Enjoyable read, Wes. I do like riding vicariously through HFL while I slave away at the works.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Looks like fun. What’s with the monster rehab reference? I thought only motogp riders and 12 yr old boys drank that stuff? Ha, as I drink a red bull, d’oh.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D


      Or, you could have some water.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Alex brought a case over from work and I’ve become addicted to it.

      • Alex


  • debra

    what great fun Wes. i enjoy following you on your trips! thanks..

  • Andrew

    Any opinion or review like thoughts on the WR250R?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler
      • Andrew

        Thanks Wes, great article and good info. in the comments too… if only I’d searched. ;)

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Or followed the links in the article that we’re always careful to include :)

          • Andrew

            Oh sure, I didn’t feel dumb enough already!

  • HammSammich

    Nice to some really dirty stuff on HFL every once in a while. ;)

  • Beale

    You guys just scratched the surface of that area. There’s a ton of good riding on the other side of the 215. You should do the Big Bear Moonlight Madness dual sport ride on the 17th. That’ll turn you on to a ton of good trails up there.


    Silverado has had a lot of the gates closed lately there’s not much to ride right now.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, we might need to do that.

  • Joe

    I don’t quite understand the “because we’re from the East Coast, we’ve rarely had the opportunity” reference. I spent the better part of my late teens exploring the mountains of Southwestern Vermont on a bike. Power lines, logging roads and back roads have been and still are literally everywhere(hell, I live on a back road).

    • Joe

      By the way, where on the East Coast are you from?

      • Alex

        Boston. Spent my dirty time riding tracks and sand pits. Some woods thrown in.

        Sure you can dual sport in New England. Just living in Cali you see those shimmering fire roads and mountains EVERYWHERE you go. Constantly beckoning you like some sort of siren song.