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Cheeseboro, Palo Comado and Las Virgenes Canyon Areas

Map Key


[1,2] Cheeseboro Canyon Fire Road and Sulphur Springs Single Track (watch the videos)

Description: This is by far the most popular trail in the local area and because of the natural beauty of Cheeseboro Canyon year round, and because the trail starts at the parking lot, a very large number of people use it. Starting from the upper parking lot, the fire road has a gradual, rolling climb and is very easy. About 2.9 miles from the start, it crosses the stream and becomes the Sulphur Springs single track whereupon it becomes a little more difficult with some steeper sections. Nevertheless it is excellent for novices except for two rocky sections of about 100 feet each on the Sulphur Springs trail where walking may be in order for beginners (the first and second "Cheeseboro Challenges." See the videos). The trail ends at Shepards Flat at Sheep Corral Trail. The scenery is very pretty year round but during the spring the wildflowers can be spectacular.


Most of the Cheeseboro Canyon and Sulphur Springs trails go through an oak forest.

Length (miles)

4.2 for 3miles, then

Climb (feet)

640

Descent (feet)

120

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Trail Profile


[3] Modelo Trail

Description

 The Modelo Trail has a fair amount of climbing for its short length of just over a mile. Its 390 feet of climbing is over half as much climbing as the four times longer Cheeseboro Canyon and Sulphur springs trail. The first half mile is single track that is slightly rutted and a little rocky whereas the rest is fire road. Overall, this is not a good trail for novices but intermediate riders should find it a decent challenge. The single track part is a lot of fun to descend so riders with some energy left when coming down Cheeseboro Canyon may want to climb Palo Comado or the Modelo Connector to Modelo Trail for the single track descent into the parking lot.

The bottom of the Modelo trail as seen from the parking lot.

Length (miles)

 1.2

Climb (feet)

 390

Descent (feet)

 110

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Trail Profile

 

[4] Modelo Connector

Description

The Modelo Connector is a short and moderately steep fire road that joins Modelo Trail at the point where it changes from a single track (going downhill) to a fire road (going uphill).

Length (miles)

0.4

Climb (feet)

160

Descent (feet)

zero

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Trail Profile The trail profile is almost exactly the same as the single track section of the Modelo trail.

 

[5] Canyonview

Description

Canyonview is a short, moderately steep but smooth fire road that leads to the Cheeseboro Ridge fire road. It continues into Las Virgenes Canyon as the Morrison Ranch Road. Novices will probably find this too steep to ride up and even intermediate riders will find it challenging, but it is the easiest way to get to the Las Virgenes side of Cheeseboro Ridge.

Length (miles)

0.4 (because of steepness)

Climb (feet)

190

Descent (feet)

zero

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Trail Profile can be found with the Morrison Ranch Road Loop profile.

 

[6] Cheeseboro Ridge Fireroad

Description

This trail starts at the top of Canyonview and heads north. It is 100% fire road and has a few challenging climbs. It has some good views into Cheeseboro Canyon but is not nearly as pretty as the canyon because there are few trees and the road follows a major power line. Also, it can get to be very dusty in the summer. The Cheeseboro Ridge trail ends at Sheep Corral Trail, but the fire road continues on up the hill as an Edison road that leads to the Bell Canyon single track.

Length (miles)

4.6

Climb (feet)

1240

Descent (feet)

940

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Trail Profile

 

[7] Morrison Ranch Road Loop

Description The Morrison Ranch Road Loop is an old dirt road that starts at Cheeseboro Ridge and descends almost to Las Virgenes road. This area used to be ranch land and now there are some trees and a lot of grass but not much else in the way of vegetation. Nevertheless, there are a lot of trees in a small valley halfway down the hill and on the southwest part of the loop after the climb back out of Las Virgenes Canyon. The profile below is shown for the clockwise direction of travel; this is recommended because the climbing is a little less difficult this way. The road is not very technical because it is in good shape but there is a lot of climbing (and not much shade to protect from the hot summer sun) so this should not be attempted by inexperienced riders. However, if you are strong enough to climb up Canyonview, you could ride counterclockwise until the steep descent begins, then turn around and ride back.

Length (miles)

2.7 (3.5 including the Canyonview trail as shown in red in the profile below) clockwise, counterclockwise

Climb (feet)

630 (820 including the Canyonview trail)

Descent (feet)

630 (820 including the Canyonview trail)

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Trail Profile

 

[8] Edison Road to Las Virgenes Canyon  (watch the videos)

Description

This dirt road starts from Cheeseboro Ridge and ends in Las Virgenes Canyon just a hundred feet or so from the Las Virgenes Canyon trailhead at the border between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. There are some spurs that lead either to Edison towers to the north or the housing development to the south. There are a few ruts and loose rocks, particularly towards the bottom, but the road isn't so steep that novices wouldn't be able to handle it (keep in mind, however, that you will somehow have to climb back out again!). All in all this is a really fun road to ride down, especially at night when you don't have to worry about the heat of the summer sun, and you can ignore the fact that this area used to be a cattle ranch and the scenery isn't as attractive as in Cheeseboro or Las Virgenes Canyons.

Length (miles)

2.2

Climb (feet)

360

Descent (feet)

870

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Trail Profile

 

[9] Cheeseboro Ridge and Las Virgenes Canyon Connectors

Description

This fire road connects Cheeseboro Canyon, Cheeseboro Ridge and Las Virgenes Canyon about 1/3 of the way from the south end of each. It's a very easy climb from Cheeseboro Canyon to Cheeseboro ridge; everybody should be able to do it. On the other hand, because Las Virgenes Canyon is much lower than Cheeseboro Canyon, the way out of Las Virgenes Canyon is about twice as steep on average, and probably three times steeper in places. Even experienced riders may be walking sections of this, especially on hot summer days! The single track that starts about a hundred yards from the Las Virgenes end of this road forks about 0.25 - 0.3 miles along. The left fork (when going north) doubles back and joins the connector fire road about half way to the top. This is a slightly easier way to get to the top, but still will involve a bit of walking for most.

Length (miles)

1.3  (steep)

Climb (feet)

195 (starting from Cheeseboro Canyon)

Descent (feet)

380

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Trail Profile

 

[10] Las Virgenes Canyon  (watch the videos)

Description The Las Virgenes Canyon Trail starts at the north end of Las Virgenes Road. This is a good place to park if you want to ride in Las Virgenes Canyon but don't want to have to climb over Cheeseboro Ridge (and back) from Cheeseboro Canyon. The trail is a gently rolling fire road that everyone should be able to ride. It has two short single tracks that run parallel to it. The first (the profile is shown in red below) starts at the trailhead and has quite a steep climb at the beginning that novices will walk. It's worth the climb as you have a good view into the canyon and of the ajoining Ahmanson Ranch to the east. This single track winds for a mile and rejoins the fire road below 0.75 miles from the trailhead. The only real hazard is the descent back to the fire road where there is some extremely loose rock, so be careful! The second single track (green on the profile below) starts about 100 yards up the Las Virgenes Canyon Connector trail, coming in from the north. It is only 0.65 miles long and hardly has any climbing. The north end of this trail, about 1.4 miles from the trailhead and 0.95 miles from Sheep Corral trail, is very difficult to find from the fire road because it is not marked. This single track forks about 0.25 - 0.3 miles from the south end; the west fork rejoins the Las Virgenes Connector fire road about half way up.

A single track parallels the Las Virgenes Canyon fire road and bypasses the mud hole...

Length (miles)

2.4 (fireroad)   (singletrack)

Climb (feet)

340

Descent (feet)

100

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Trail Profile

 

[11] Palo Comado Fire Road  (watch the videos)

Description

This fire road starts in Cheeseboro Canyon 1.4 miles from the parking lot and ends at China Flat. It isn't technically challenging but it has some long, hard climbs and so is best left to experience bikers. Even starting from the top, there are some tough climbs at the end to get back to Cheeseboro Canyon. This is a killer hot trail in the summer with very little shade. (When getting back into Cheeseboro Canyon, it is more fun to turn onto the Modelo Trail  and single track to get back to the parking lot than to descend the fairly steep fire road to the Cheeseboro Canyon trail.)

Length (miles)

5.2 (steepness)

Climb (feet)

1440

Descent (feet)

540

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Trail Profile

 
[12] Ranch Center

Description

Ranch Center is a miserable, steep, hot fire road that connects Cheeseboro Canyon and Palo Comado Canyon.

Length (miles)

1.2  (steepness)

Climb (feet)

350 (starting from Cheeseboro Canyon)

Descent (feet)

420

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Trail Profile

 

[13] Baleen Wall Trail

Description

This trail has been permanently close because of safety concerns. The soil is unstable in some places, leading to the trail falling away down the hill. One day, probably later rather than sooner, I'll update the map to remove the trail from it.

Length (miles)

0.75

Climb (feet)

30

Descent (feet)

480

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[14] Sheep Corral Single Track

Description

Sheep Corral trail is an east-west link that connects the major north-south trails of Las Virgenes Canyon, Cheeseboro Ridge, Sulphur Springs (Cheeseboro Canyon) and Palo Comado Canyon. The level of difficulty varies greatly on the different sections. Between Las Virgenes Canyon and Cheeseboro ridge, the trail is quite technical with several steep, rocky sections and should be ridden by very experienced riders only. Between Cheeseboro Ridge and Sulphur Springs, the trail has only a small amount of climbing and is fairly smooth and is suitable for anyone who can ride up to it. Between Sulphur Springs and Palo Comado the trail is also quite smooth but there is some substantial climbing so novices may want to walk part of it. About 100 feet west of Sulphur Springs, the trail branches for about an eighth of a mile. The southern branch is a little more difficult.

Length (miles)

3.1 west of Sulphur Springs Trail, east of Sulphur Springs Trail

Climb (feet)

960

Descent (feet)

350

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Trail Profile

 

[15] Bell Canyon Loop  (watch the videos)

Description  This is a difficult ride that anyone other than a very experienced rider will hate. It has a lot of climbing and miles of tough, loose, rocky technical sections. Also, it's a long way from any trailhead if an injury or exhaustion should occur. Nevertheless, for advanced riders who have lots of endurance and love rocky trails, this trail is great! It starts at the Sheep Corral trail as a steep Edison road that extends the Cheeseboro Ridge trail. The road peaks after 680 feet of climbing and turns right, down into Las Virgenes Canyon. There is an Edison spur at the top that climbs a couple dozen feet more to a local peak where you can get a great view of the area, and can see the Channel Islands when the weather is clear enough. On the Edison road, 2.1 miles from Sheep Corral Trail and just before the bottom of the canyon, make a very sharp right onto the single track. This trail has all the nasties: some sections are seriously rutted, there are loose rocks, parts go through a rocky stream bed, there are steep sandy climbs and overgrown parts. After a mile or two the single track joins a poorly maintained fire road that itself has some loose sections, sandy climbs and big ruts. There are a number of intersecting roads and forks here so this is best ridden with someone who knows the way. The loop ends at the bottom of Sheep Corral Trail where there is a 1.7 mile, 630 foot climb back to the start of the loop (this section is not included in the profile below!). Altogether, starting at the Cheeseboro parking lot, this loop is almost 16 miles long and has 2800 feet of climbing, so be forewarned.

(Even though we call this the Bell Canyon Loop, most of the ride is along the northern egde of Las Virgenes Canyon which turns westward at the top, as do Palo Comado and Cheeseboro Canyons. Bell Canyon is at the eastern edge of the loop and the Las Virgenes Canyon fire road becomes Bell Canyon Road at Sheep Corral trail.)

Riders on the Bell Canyon single track can expect to see many rocky sections like this, and worse!

 

Length (miles)

5.7

Climb (feet)

1400

Descent (feet)

1880

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Trail Profile

 

[16] Dead Cow Trail

Description

This single track starts a few hundred yards from the Palo Comado end of Sheep Corral Trail and less than a hundred yards from a viewpoint that overlooks Palo Comado Canyon. It ends at the Palo Comado Canyon fire road. It is rutted, loose, rocky and has dropoffs on one side or the other for most of its length. If you like technical, this trail is for you! If you're not an advanced rider, go down Palo Comado instead and keep your blood in your body. Incidentally, this trail gets its name from the skeleton of a dead cow that can be seen in a clearing about 20 feet from the trail, on the right side, somewhere about half to three-quarters of the way down. It is often confused with Dead Cow Road that starts from China Flat.

Length (miles)

0.75

Climb (feet)

15

Descent (feet)

440

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[17] China Flat  (watch the videos)

Description

The China Flat trail is a really fun single track for all levels as it has no steep climbs, as can be seen from the profile below. China Flat is criss-crossed with a number of trails so it's easy to lose your way. Starting at the top of Palo Comado trail at the old farm compound, take the single track to the left past the pond. At 0.3 miles, cross the fire road that will become Dead Cow Road (properly called Lindero Canyon Road) and continue along the climbing double-track. At the top, the trail takes a sharp right turn (straight ahead is the Simi Peak Trail) and then makes a close brush to a fire road at 1.25 miles before heading left. At 1.6 miles the trail crosses the same fire road. To the left is a short connector road to Albertson Fire Road that comes from Lang Ranch. Following the single track it winds around and eventually gets back to Palo Comado trail where the loop started. The trail is equally fun in both directions.

Length (miles)

2.1

Climb (feet)

280

Descent (feet)

280

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Trail Profile

 

[18] Simi Peak (watch the videos)

Description

 At 2403 feet of elevation, the view from Simi Peak is spectacular on a clear day. The single track to the top is less than a half mile long so it's worth going to the top at least once, even if you have to push your bike all the way. The way is rutted and rocky so even advanced riders will have a hard climb and will likely have to make a number of dabs. The trail starts at the southwestern most section of the China Flat Trail, about 0.75 miles from Palo Comado Trail when riding in the clockwise direction, and ends at the top of Simi Peak.

At the top of Simi Peak, looking north, with the Albertson Fire Road in the background.

Length (miles)

0.45

Climb (feet)

270

Descent (feet)

50

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Trail Profile

 

[19] Dead Cow Road (watch the videos)

Description

 Dead Cow Road (actually, Lindero Canyon Road) is an old fire road that has not been maintained. It starts about 0.3 miles along the China Flat Trail and ends at the pavement several hundred feet below. It is quite a technical, bumpy ride down over the rocks and through the ruts. Intermediate riders should be able to make their way down slowly but they will probably want to walk long stretches of it (see photo at right). Novices will want to avoid this trail. About 1.4 miles from the China Flat Trail is another trail that comes in from the east, the Suicide connector trail which is even more rocky than Dead Cow Road. One way to get back to Cheeseboro from the bottom of Dead Cow Road is along the road to the Doubletree Connector and Palo Comado Canyon (south on Lindero Canyon Road, east on Kanan Road, north on Doubletree Road).

Dead Cow Road (not to be confused with Dead Cow Trail)

 

Length (miles)

1.7

Climb (feet)

240

Descent (feet)

930

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Trail Profile

 

[20] Lower Suicide Trail and Connector

Description

 Suicide Trail and Dead Cow Road are connected by a trail that comes into Dead Cow Road about 1.4 miles from China Flat. Both the connector trail and Suicide are extrememly rocky and loose. There are some sections that are decent for riding by normal people, but overall these trails are not for the faint-hearted. They make Dead Cow Road look like a bunny hill! Suicide Trail ends at Kanan Road.

 

Length (miles)

1.95 (connector and lower Suicide Trail)

Climb (feet)

380

Descent (feet)

800

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Trail Profile

 

This page last updated on February 24, 2012.

 

Thanks for looking at Steve's guide to trails in Ventura County, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) and other locations.