VIDEO: Gravel Las Virgenes

Gravel Las Virgenes

Truth be told, our January ride was supposed to be a mostly gravel Las Virgenes getting into the Cheesebro and Palo Camado Canyons sections as well.

Supposed to…

Prior, I did a scouting ride with Bill (who’s coming off of major surgery) and Vic (coming off of a two week non-bike vacation and a red eye) to see how well this area played.

First of all, there are a lot of dirt options in the area, but they are far on the rugged side of gravel riding.


It can get a bit Star Trekish out there


The other issue out here is if you hit a wall or have a bad mechanical, you’re a bit further from civilization than you would think.

We did a clockwise loop starting off of Las Virgenes Rd getting some pavement in before launching up Palo Camado Canyon.

This is easily the most tame and easy going portion of off roading, but it gets to be a bit chippy after that.



As the pitch goes up, so does your insertion into the Woolsey Fire zone where this scarce landscape looks even more bare than before.

Handling the grade on top of the sandiness is not what you call a morning of fun, but at least we were up to the task.

There’s a short connector that takes you to Albertson Motorway which is the most direct east-west way of getting across this open space.


It can get a bit Star Trekish out there


You’re able to get a nice mixture of views of Simi and San Fernando Valleys, but there’s a last, nice smack in the face before you turn off to complete the loop.

The start down Edison Road will give your arms a workout dealing with brake grippage, quick turns and plenty of loose rocks.

It’s hard to look away from the beautifully rugged landscape, but the climb out is a bit unwelcome after you thought downhill would be a break.

You soon reach an unsure four way intersection of trails and going straight is the best non-single track move as Edison transitions to the Cheeseboro Ridge Trail which is absolutely exquisite depending if you still have some left in the tank.


Gravel Las Virgenes Loop – 21.3 Miles / 3,226 Feet of Elevation (link)


It’s mostly a lot of descending but it’s deceiving with the carpet like nature of these hills that the climbs are longer than perspective suggests.

Getting your immediate bearings out here is difficult, but seeing the bulk of the Santa Monica Mountains ahead of you to the south is a good landmark to focus on.

Finally, we had a fork in the road which my crew semi-confidently took my direction as there was still a wee bit of climbing left.



Not to their knowledge, we narrowly escaped a rattlesnake attack as Vic startled one that may or may not have made a move at me (I was still processing what I saw before I could react).

Needless to say, I don’t know what would have been proper, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.

The last leg was a fun stretch of with a slight decline weaving our way through the bottom of the canyon until we spit back out onto Las Virgenes.

It was only a 21 mile ride, but you take a lot of blows over the 3,200+ feet of climbing.

But gravel Las Virgenes is an experience worth taking.