Mt. Wilson, Los Angeles, US - Into Daili Shang's Backyard

From the bottom of highway 2 in LA to Mt. Wilson

is one of the most popular road rides in LA. Cyclists from all over the world have Mt. Wilson on their bucket list. I rode this route every weekend before I started mountain biking. Little did I know, just a few feet away from the clear creek information center on highway 2, there is a trail that leaves the chaos of the city behind.

Strawberry peak is one of the most exposed and scenic trails in LA. This route is 15 miles of exposed narrow single track with cliff on the side. It’s an advance ride with 2600 ft of technical climbing and descending. I used to be afraid of the exposure. I walked my bike all the way on this trail the first time I rode it. It was a miserable day! I went back there the following week and rode most of it. Now this ride is one of my favorite rides. Never give up when the situation is frustrating.


Basic information: 

☞ Intermediate to advance level

☞ Park and ride: Clear Creek Information Center, Angeles Crest Highway, La Cañada Flintridge, CA

☞ Strava ride:

☞ Post ride beer: Luna Grill, 965 Foothill Blvd Suite A1, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

☞ Post ride burger: The Habit Burger Grill, 990 Town Center Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011


The trail head is at high elevation. Most of the time you are riding above the cloud. The epic view comes with tough climbs. This ride taught me that as everything else in life, better views require persistence and hard-working.



After about 7 miles of tough climbing, comes a very technical downhill combining exposure, rock gardens, and flow trails. Enduro riding is my favorite. To me, climbing is hard work but the downhill is the fun play! Enduro riding reminds me of work first, play second. After the first downhill, you’ll descend to highway 2 pavement. You’ll cross the road and continue your ride on Gabrielino trail for the second half of the descent. There is an American Indian Culture Center at Gabrielino trail head. It’s a tiny museum in which you can buy souvenirs. The best part is that they sell cold Coke and hot coffee! But hey, if you are on a QoMs hunting ride, you can always come back another time and take you time here.  


I like to wear my 3/4 sleeves trail jersey on this ride.

The California sun can be brutal and trails are always overgrown.

The 3/4 sleeves protect me from the sun and branches! 


Exploring Mt. Wilson:

Besides the outstanding views, Mt. Wilson has a lot more to offer. Here are few activities you can do at the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

  1. Located at 5,715 feet above sea level, Mt. Wilson Observatory is one of the oldest and most historic gateways to space that’s been treasured by professional and amateur stargazers alike. Check out the weekend public tour before you plan your trip.
  2. On a few select weekends, stargazers are in for a special treat — because the Mount Wilson Institute conducts special behind-the-scenes tours of the 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes, machine shop and historic powerhouse. On the engineering tours, volunteer engineers — like Bill Leflang, who’ve spent years helping to maintain the telescopes — lead small groups through all the mechanical, optical, and electrical details of these historic instruments.

3.Mt. Wilson is in the fourth season of its “Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome” series, which runs monthly, May through October. Check the online calendar for the upcoming schedule of musical performances, plus a monthly lecture series on Saturday nights that includes telescope viewing. 

Fun facts:

✧ The Gabrielino Trail was chosen as the nation’s first National Recreation Trail (NRT) in 1970 because it “represents its region, supports a diverse community, and is among America’s best trails.” Some sections of the Gabrielino Trail were in sad shape (and impassable) until August 2018 when local mountain bikers led a restoration effort that reopened this iconic trail once again. Salute!

✧ Strawberry Peak got its name according to lore because of its resemblance to a strawberry standing with its blossom end down. It is the highest in the San Gabriel Front Range.

✧ At 6164 feet elevation, snow is not uncommon on Strawberry during the winter months. It’s a good place to go if you’d like to see snow in southern California.

✧ Mt. Lawlor is about a mile to the east of Strawberry Peak and is often climbed in conjunction with Strawberry. It is one of the most accessible and fun rock climbs in Southern California and no equipment is required if you have basic climbing skills.

Daili Shang, proud ambassador of the PEPPERMINT collective ♡

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