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Sam Merrill Trail  (California)      21k views  
          Route creator Cycling Escapes  

Route Overview

Overall:  8.7
Technical:  7.9
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Distance: 16.1 miles
Ascent: 3,690 feet
Time: 3:27 minutes
Ladder Points +96
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A tough switchback and fireroad climb, and then a VERY technical 3,700 ft descent! It starts by climbing straight up to the top of Mt Lowe with a mix of singletrack and fireroad. Then you turn around and descend the entire mountain on very technical singletrack with lots of exposure (exercise extreme caution). This is the same ride as the middle & lower loop ride that is already posted, but with an additional fireroad climb to the top of Mt Lowe and a bonus section of singletrack descent. This is the "Complete" Merrill Trail. Lower Merrill is VERY busy with hikers on weekends. Best done during the week.

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GALLERY  13 images
SlideShow  25 Images

Finish Times
PlaceNameBest Time  SpeedCompleted
5:12:393.1 mph1 
5:00:003.2 mph1 
4:40:003.4 mph1 
4:20:003.7 mph1 
4:08:003.9 mph1 
4:02:004.0 mph1 
4:00:114.0 mph1 
 Shake Dust 
4:00:004.0 mph1 
 Scooter 5.5 
3:49:004.2 mph1 
 G.T. Jake 
3:40:004.4 mph1 
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  Route Comments
Very similar to posted ride, did not want to put in new ride. Tough Ride with a lot of hikers on Saturday morning. Starts with a lot of hike a bike. Once you get to Mount low railway trail it is a very enjoyable climb on fire road to top. Skipped Mount Low East and West trail. Looked pretty rough. I was on a short travel XC bike, had zero armor and SPD's. Middle SMT is fairly technical again I had to walk quite a few sections. Lots of exposure! Be very careful riding this. Lower SMT has about the same amount of exposure but is actually a really fun trail. Not a beginner ride, anyone with MTB experience and a lot of common sense can do this. Just be prepared to walk a lot. (After looking at it on Google earth maybe someone can tell me is MT low EAST and West trail more technical then middle SMT?) I also think that MT low east and West are called upper SMT, is this correct?
1st time on this ride. Loved it. Tired at the top but was worth the effort for the descent!
Amazing trail. Rode with Israel, took tons of pictures up top since there was still snow on the whole backside of the mountain. Awesome Single Track. 57 Min to Top of Lower Merrill.
Brief shower near Mt Lowe. Sunset instead of LM.
Ladera Dave06/04/11
great weather today with 5 of my buddies, first loop
OK, San Juan is no longer my favorite trail! Wow. That was frickin' awesome. I'm officially hooked on San Gabriel Mountain trails! Mountain biking the way it was meant to be! Glad I'm not squeemish about hights, there are tons of gnarly cliffs. Upper Merrill was pretty wrecked from landslides and rocks. 2" of snow from 8 miles on. Cold!!! Temp guage said 29 deg at the top. SPECTACULAR day.
Upper Merrill is in horrible condition. Most of it is unridable due to the landslides, missing sections and large loose rocks that have fallen on the trail. Especially the switchbacks on the south side. The rest of the trail/fireroad is in fine condition and rideable. The fire devastation up at the top is a sobering and depressing scene. Landslides everywhere.
angry red squirrel11/21/09
solo ride cuz ya know what they sat-if youre not the lead horse-youre smelling the other horses arse!!!!lol-best 2 ride with someone in case u fall off the side of the mountain or pack a parachute-zigged when i should have zagged a few times(had 2 backtrack)(5hr) ride-due some x-ploring around -if u ride any sa mtns trail this is similar
jzm 317211/18/09
cold.dark quick.PEACE
This this route yesterday, took me 3 hours to get up to Mt.Lowe. Some of the Upper SM is wayyy to hard to bike, had to hike quite a bit of it, the fires did some real damage to them. It was really rocky/risky to bike. Fallen trees near the top. Got really scratched up. The middle part was awesome! I spent some time doing maintenence. Just watch out on the Lower SM because of all the blind spot and hikers! Got chased by a bear near Inspiration Point.
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