Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mountain biking on the cheese! (Cheeseboro/ Palo Comado Canyons)

What's so great about it? The fire roads and trails at Cheeseboro/Palo Camado Canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains in Agoura Hills cut through grassland hills and oak woods, skirting along babbling creeks and climbing to peaks that look down on the Conejo Valley. These trails are perfect for beginners and intermediate riders. Nothing too technically difficult. The toughest sections you'll encounter are steep drops over "baby-head" rocks.

My favorite feature? The land is home to a menagerie of animals, including some beautiful hawks and majestic deer. Take your time to spot the critters and breathe in the scent of wild flowers.

Where to ride? First time riders should stick to the Cheeseboro Canyon trail from the main entrance off Chesebro Road. It follows a stream bed, past picnic areas and near a sulfur springs where you can smell the odor of rotten eggs. (Maps of the trails are available at the trail head.)

For a more challenging ride continue beyond the "Sheep Corral" near the north end of the park and follow Palo Comado Canyon Trail to the Simi Peak at 2,403 feet above sea level. The view is worth the climb.

A word of warning: There is no drinking water in this park so pack plenty. Shade is also minimal so dress appropriately on hot days.

Directions: From Highway 101, take the Chesebro Road exit near Agoura Hills and head north, following the signs to the main park entrance. Bathrooms are located at the trail head. Click here for a trail map.

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