Ride Report The scoop on Silver Fish Road/Trail

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by 53-12, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. 53-12

    53-12 by design

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    I love maps; I like finding places I have never been and then going there. A week ago while looking at a map I found a couple trails - Silver Fish and Silver Fish Ridge Trails which I had never heard of, or seen any write up on. To get to the trails you have three options: the trailhead at Monrovia County Park seemed like the best bet so I drove over paid my five dollar support fee and parked. While there I started talking to a park ranger, a fellow mtber who had ridden to where I was going a number of years ago and found the trail to be rather indistinct and made a couple alternative recommendations. Not to be deterred I thanked her for the info and rode on. To get to where I wanted I first had to ride up Sawpit Canyon road. The first half mile is a painful pavement climb to the top of the dam, pretty steep, but easily done. Another half mile gets you to the entrance to Trask Scout camp where the pavement ends. From here you follow a beautiful dirt road beneath big oaks and you can hear the stream running along your left. A little further along the road crosses over to the other side of the canyon and it gets drier with more sun exposure. It also gets a bit steeper, but look back from time to time and take in some great views across the LA basin to the Pacific and Catalina. After you reach White Saddle, where there is a sign courtesy of Arcadia Pro Bikes you briefly follow the Van Tassel Road beneath the transmission lines until after maybe 1/4 mile you see the Silver Fish Road branching off to the left.

    Here could begin one the best kept secrets of the San Gabriels if it would only receive a little love and attention. While the road bed is distinct for its entire length, the combination of rock slides, deadfalls and just general overgrowth of vegetation has created what in reality is a double to single track trail. Along sections you weave in and out between plants always searching for the odd rock that may lie hidden by them just waiting to knock you over. If you ride with exposed skin on legs and arms, don't expect to get back home unbloodied, it is impossible to avoid being whipped and stabbed by various sharp edged demons at one point of another. Even so, the road is mostly rideable; a few deadfalls block the way, a rock fall or two had me walking as well. These condions continue off and on until at about the 8 mile mark you come to a stream crossing with a major log jam which is impossible to ride. It is the kind of place I can imagine rattlers would love, and being a solo rider had me a bit nervous. But cross I did, and within .10 of a mile I came to the remains of a bee keeping operation, there are box hives strewn all about and a barrel which I have no idea what it contained. The ranger had told me of this place so I knew I had arrived at my goal for the day, Stone Cabin Flat, roads end. No, I didnt see any stone cabin, or even any remains. This was the place I was most interested in seeing because maps show a trail continuing on where the road ends. The ranger had said no way, she had looked and there was nothing there. But she was wrong, a trail was clearly there, but so overgrown that I could not ride it. I pushed my bike along being stabbed by this and that for maybe 1/4 mile until coming to a blockage I just could not get past, a nasty shrub which for the life of me I just can not remember the name of, grey green leaves, every branch grows into a sharp point. I wasnt about to push through that, though I could see the trail continuing on the other side. There was a cliff to my right and plants to my left that would have required a machette to get through.

    This is a truely beautiful trail, and it is a shame that it is dying. I can easily imaging that this is what the Monroe Truck Trail looked like as it was begining to be reclaimed by nature. On the way back I stopped and looked across the canyon and could see the cut of the trail in the opposite slope, winding along until it eventually comes out at Morris Reservoir in San Gabriel Canyon and wished I was able to ride it to its end. Trail work anyone? Oh, by the way the gates to Monrovia Park close promptly at 5:00 and they are required to contact Monrovia PD if there are any cars left up there, so if you do not get back in time you could have a search and rescue team looking for you. Would I do it again, simple answer yes, beatiful area, great workout. Totals: 16.55 miles, 2900 feet of elevation gain.

    the pix:

    1. You can see Catalina,
    2. entrance to Trask, dirt starts here,
    3. easy climb at the middle of Sawpit Canyon,
    4. trees,
    5. you can see LA,
    6. White Saddle sign,
    7. still some snow,
    8. beam me up Scotty,
    9. Silver Fish Road / Trail on the left,
    the remainder of the photos show the Silver Fish in its various conditions
     

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  2. 53-12

    53-12 by design

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    Just a few more photos of the Silver Fish
     

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  3. JimN

    JimN Member

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    Nice report! I went off on a similar mission around eight or nine years ago. Somewhere along the Silver Ridge Trail I startled a huge black bear. Decided it was best to turn around and work my way on out of there. Never have returned. Seems like it would be a worthwhile project to restore this route if the forest service approves. I'm guessing that El Presidente has already looked into it. Perhaps he'll chime in here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2009
  4. MTBMaven

    MTBMaven This is Shangri La

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    Thanks for the report. I'm glad you followed through with your idea to check it out. With Mt. Wilson Toll Road Close until at least May I need to get out and climb that fireroad to Monrovia Peak before the VQ. That's a great ride.
     
  5. dstepper

    dstepper Over the hill

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    Very nice, thanks for thanking the time to explore and writing up a report....good work.

    Dean
     
  6. KonaDawgDeluxe

    KonaDawgDeluxe REKE/DMC

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    Thanks for sharing. Nice pics. :wave:
     
  7. maxwell

    maxwell Dirty Stinky PATH Love

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    Man, what a great RR!:clap:

    Finding "new" old trails is COOL!
     
  8. Sewellymon

    Sewellymon Member

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    In 1985, I rode the faint- to - fainter fire road which starts along highway 39 and originally went to Stone Cabin Flats. First 2-3 miles was overgrown double-track turning into single-track. Next 2-3 miles was a wall of chaparral with a 12” corridor I could barely ride through. Ultimately the going either got too brutal or purely impossible. Forget which.

    On the return ride, brushing non-stop against the chaparral I picked up countless ticks. Too gross/ never went back.
     
  9. allroy71

    allroy71 New Member

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    Any update?
     
  10. 53-12

    53-12 by design

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    Wow, I had forgotten about this one. Have not been back in maybe 2 years, so 3 years since this post. Last time there I found an old blanket and clothes scattered along the trail just past where the bee hives are. I half expected to find a bear-eaten body, or some crazed person running around, and got the heck out. Who knows what it's like after all this time.
     
  11. WC-Rider

    WC-Rider New Member

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    Nice pictures...
     
  12. Nathan Gray

    Nathan Gray New Member

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    Interested in accessing the Silver Fish via Highway 39 side?
     

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