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Angeles Crest vs. GMR

Old 01-27-15, 06:25 PM
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PhotoJoe 
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Angeles Crest vs. GMR

So I've done GMR to the Village several times, but it's a bloody long drive from Santa Clarita. I know I have Camp 9 and Ridge Route close to home, but I'm tempted to ride Angeles Crest to Mt. Wilson. I had a few minutes before a sales call this morning so I drove several miles up Angles Crest, but couldn't go all the way due to time. To me, it seemed like a busier road than GMR/GRR. Does it mellow out at all further up? I'm assuming it gets pretty quite after the cutoff to Mt. Wilson Road where the 2 cuts north at 14 miles from Sport Chalet.

Overall, what are your observations comparing the two rides?

Thanks.
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Old 01-27-15, 06:50 PM
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i once rode it from La Canada to Wrightwood. Traffic was not too bad but heavier than gmr. It seemed to thin after Redbox. Could be different today. That was over 20 years ago. One issue was water along the way. Not much available during summer but some creeks in winter might have some. One hazard is motorcyclist going up to Neucom Ranch (SP?). They hit it pretty hard.
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Old 01-27-15, 07:20 PM
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I haven't rode either yet but have driven up the Crest dozens of times to go hiking in the mountains and that is the reason I'm afraid to ride up there. I see plenty of cyclists on the road on the weekends but lots of cars and motorcycles. As pointed out, motorcycles go up there in groups intentionally to hit it hard but also a lot of sports cars racing up and down and more importantly tuner cars driven by kids with little experience. I've seen more then a few cars/trucks over the railing and down the side of the mountains because they are taking turns too fast and I don't want to be on my bike on the side of the road when that happens.

with that said...you only live once and dozens of cyclists are up there every day and live to talk about it
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Old 01-27-15, 07:24 PM
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@PhotoJoe, I don't know the answer to your question, I have not yet ridden Mt Wilson. But I have the route from Sports Chalet in La Canada up to Mt Wilson and then beyond to Newcombs Restaurant & back, including water stops. 62 miles approx, 7000ish feet of climbing. Obviously less if you just do Mt Wilson.

Let me know if you want the route.
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Old 01-27-15, 07:38 PM
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Fire it up Heathpack, that sounds great!

PJ, I want to do that too and it's probably better to do it before it gets too hot. I still want to get up to Crystal Lake / Dawson's saddle one of these days too. I understand it's a bit dull as a cycling route goes but you know how it is once you get a bee in your bonnet.

Honestly, GMR gets pretty busy with the lunatic motorcycle crowd too but they seem to sleep in, so earlier is usually better than later.
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Old 01-27-15, 07:52 PM
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Here's the route:

Wilson Plus the Ranch | Strava Route

Water at miles 9.5, 14, 19, 24, 36, 48 and 53.

From my friend who put the route together for me: "If you ride past Newcomb's for 5 miles, you climb up to Cloudburst Summit at 7000 ft. That would make the day 72ish with 8500 ft of climbing."

BTW "The Ranch" is the restaurant. I think its actually Newcomb's Ranch Restaurant.

Last edited by Heathpack; 01-27-15 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 01-27-15, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
Here's the route:

Wilson Plus the Ranch | Strava Route

Water at miles 9.5, 14, 19, 24, 36, 48 and 53.

From my friend who put the route together for me: "If you ride past Newcomb's for 5 miles, you climb up to Cloudburst Summit at 7000 ft. That would make the day 72ish with 8500 ft of climbing."

BTW "The Ranch" is the restaurant. I think its actually Newcomb's Ranch Restaurant.
Pfff. 72ish with 8500 feet? Remember the ride to Bear Divide. I've been riding so little that my calves were cramped up for 2 days after that silly little ride. I'd love to do that ride, but need to get back into better shape first. Although the grades look comparable to GMR, just more miles.

BTW., the day that @TrojanHorse and I do this ride, I need you there. He rides circles around me....and I need you to put him in his place!
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Old 01-27-15, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
Pfff. 72ish with 8500 feet? Remember the ride to Bear Divide. I've been riding so little that my calves were cramped up for 2 days after that silly little ride. I'd love to do that ride, but need to get back into better shape first. Although the grades look comparable to GMR, just more miles.

BTW., the day that @TrojanHorse and I do this ride, I need you there. He rides circles around me....and I need you to put him in his place!
I'd love to do it. We can skip the restaurant, that will cut quite a bit off the ride. This route is steep at the beginning but after that, I think it's average 4.5% grade. So not bad at all.
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Old 01-27-15, 09:22 PM
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I ride both pretty regularly.

If you're riding up to Mt. Wilson, the Red Box-Mt. Wilson Road is a lot less busy than the 2, but it's also narrow and winding. If you want something really steep, there's a turnoff a quarter mile up Red Box Rd. that goes to Mt. Disappointment-- 3 miles to 5900', and closed to traffic. The last few hundred meters are pretty gnarly.

On the 2, it thins out more the farther you go just because people get spread out more and it's on the crest rather than switchbacks. After Newcomb's Ranch (14 miles past Red Box) it thins out a lot more-- the motorcyclists typically are riding up to Newcomb's and back. On weekdays traffic is headed down into La Canada in the morning and up from La Canada in the evening-- I've gone down the 2 on a friday afternoon and had a steady stream of cars coming up and seen only one on the way down.

If you come up the Angeles Forest Highway, Upper Big Tujunga is generally extremely light traffic, and intercepts the ACH about 5 miles east of Red Box.

If you're riding up from La Canada, you can go down the Forest Highway (turn left at Clear Creek) and then turn right to go up Upper Big T. There's no water from when you leave Clear Creek til you get back to Red Box, and right now water is marginal at both (there used to be a store at Hidden Springs but it burned in the station fire. I don't think there's water in the Hidden Springs park unless you want to drink from the stream)

There's also a steep paved road (closed to traffic) up to Barley Flats just west of the ACH/Upper Big T intersection, on ACH.
I think there are signs that say no drinkable water at Clear Creek (the faucet was working last week- it may be turned off now), and the drinking fountain at Red Box wasn't working last week when I was there, but the faucet down low on the back of the fountain was.

There should be water in Skyline Park on Wilson, but the gate is generally closed in the winter. I'm not sure if they turn off the faucets, but it would make sense to so they don't freeze. If you descend the fire road near the gate to the fork where it splits to Mt. Harvard, there's a foot trail that leads into Skyline Park and you can then exit via the gate.

edit: my girlfriend ran up the toll road last week and up the trail into skyline park and said the faucets were working.
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Old 01-27-15, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
I'd love to do it. We can skip the restaurant, that will cut quite a bit off the ride. This route is steep at the beginning but after that, I think it's average 4.5% grade. So not bad at all.
The worst part is from La Canada to the sign that says you're entering the forest. It gets less steep after that. It's steady up to Red Box, and then mostly much easier riding from there.
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Old 01-27-15, 11:27 PM
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^ what Biting Duck said is pretty much accurate.
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Old 01-27-15, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
I still want to get up to Crystal Lake / Dawson's saddle one of these days too. I understand it's a bit dull as a cycling route goes but you know how it is once you get a bee in your bonnet.
OMG I love that route, not sure how that can be dull, especially on the closed section of 39 if feels like you are the only one up there and it is soo raw. I guess it is just me?
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Old 01-28-15, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
BTW., the day that @TrojanHorse and I do this ride, I need you there. He rides circles around me....and I need you to put him in his place!
If I go around you one way, and heathpack goes around me and you the other way, but faster, you'll get sucked into some sort of polar vortex, never to be found.
@lesper - I'm not sure where I got that feeling, so no, it's probably not just you. So many roads, so little time. (I'm looking at you, kid's soccer!)
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Old 01-28-15, 10:49 AM
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weekdays...just sayin.
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Old 01-28-15, 11:07 AM
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anyone planning on doing any of the rides above between feb 16-22? i'm coming to california to ride (it is damn cold in Canada right now) and an planning on riding in this area, but it would be great not to do it alone!
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Old 01-28-15, 09:33 PM
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The main problem with Angeles Crest is the Chip Seal pavement. Very rough but hopefully that will be fixed sometime this year.
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Old 01-28-15, 09:59 PM
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Both good routes, I've done each lots of times (but not as many a Vertical Bob!) and with GMR/GRR, Angeles Crest (and Forest), the Tijungas and Hwy 39 we have a lot of excellent climbing roads.

I agree with comments above about the traffic but that's not enough to keep me off the roads up there!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 01-28-15, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pb_toronto View Post
anyone planning on doing any of the rides above between feb 16-22? i'm coming to california to ride (it is damn cold in Canada right now) and an planning on riding in this area, but it would be great not to do it alone!
Alas, not I. I'm doing the Camino Real Double on Feb 21.
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Old 01-29-15, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pb_toronto View Post
anyone planning on doing any of the rides above between feb 16-22? i'm coming to california to ride (it is damn cold in Canada right now) and an planning on riding in this area, but it would be great not to do it alone!
It can be "damn cold" in the San Gabriels in February too. ;0)
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Old 01-30-15, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by vertical bob View Post
It can be "damn cold" in the San Gabriels in February too. ;0)
it was -17C when i rode my bike to work this morning!
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Old 01-30-15, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by vertical bob View Post
It can be "damn cold" in the San Gabriels in February too. ;0)
Originally Posted by pb_toronto View Post
it was -17C when i rode my bike to work this morning!
Uh.....45 F doesn't sound so cold anymore!
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Old 02-01-15, 10:49 PM
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photojoe, you could do the 2 Tujungas from Santa Clarita, go to Acton and climb Aliso Canyon to AF Hwy, then down Big Tujunga to Foothill and return via Little Tujunga, or do it reversed. About 73 miles and 7300 feet.
btw, you can get water at the fire station near where the Hidden Springs Cafe burned down.
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Old 02-02-15, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
photojoe, you could do the 2 Tujungas from Santa Clarita, go to Acton and climb Aliso Canyon to AF Hwy, then down Big Tujunga to Foothill and return via Little Tujunga, or do it reversed. About 73 miles and 7300 feet.
btw, you can get water at the fire station near where the Hidden Springs Cafe burned down.
Interesting route. Thank you. Need to get in better shape for that level of ride, but that looks good.
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Old 02-02-15, 03:30 PM
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Knowing what I know about AC I would never cycle up it on a weekend that's for sure. Way to many people racing up and down that are just not worthy of the speeds they riding and driving at. Later in the afternoon is even worse.
Crashes are many on any given weekend so that tells you something about the area.

I know AC very well from the base to Wrightwood we use to ride up in on motorcycles and sports cars but always very early before the kids would be coming up we'd be long gone and home before 10am.
If your going to be on the road after 9-10am not a good idea as far as I'm concerned I don't need people buzzing past me at 100mph+.
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Old 02-09-15, 08:37 AM
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My friends and I have been riding Angeles Crest for years. It's a lot quieter than PCH or many of the other crazy roads around SoCal.
It was the best back when it was closed near Vincent Gap, good times.
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