Matt Takes on the Leadville 100: Video #2
Matt Gough, SB staffer, cyclist and general badass, folds us into his life again as he gives his overview of the most iconic MTB trails at Joaquin Miller Regional Park in the East Bay (check 'em out below!). He also aces an interview and goes on a date. You won't wanna miss it.
THE BAY AREA'S BEST MOUNTAIN BIKING
A TRAIL GUIDE TO JOAQUIN MILLER PARK
So you’re looking to ride your bike on some trails? Well you're in the right place! In this blog we will cover some of the best trails the East Bay has to offer, but first, here’s what you will need: 1) your bike 2) a couple of hours 3) the desire to get into nature. Pretty straightforward stuff right? Now that that’s sorted, let’s talk about the trails!
The location: Joaquin Miller Park is one of the best regional parks in the East Bay. There are numerous hiking trails, places to picnic, and most importantly awesome mountain biking trails. Joaquin Miller Park is home to beginner, intermediate, and expert mountain bike terrain - there’s something for everyone in the park, and with this trail guide you’ll have everything you’ll need to start riding!
Joaquin Miller Park is located just north of the 13 Freeway in Oakland, CA, and for most east bay residents it’ll be a short and totally worthwhile drive! There is ample parking at Joaquin Miller both inside the park near the ranger station and outside the park along Joaquin Miller Road. Pro tip - try not to leave your valuables in your car, especially if you park along the road outside of Joaquin Miller Park.
Once you’ve parked and gotten your gear set up, you’re ready to ride! Joaquin Miller has many trails, and fortunately there is a main connector trail within the park to get to them all. Most people start their ride near the ranger station - from there you will need to climb along the Sunset Trail to get from the lower level of the park to the upper level of the park and the Sequoia BayView connector trail. The climb up Sunset trail is short but steep! Don’t be discouraged, once you get to the top it’s mostly flat from there. Once you summit the Sunset Trail, you’ll make your way along the Sequoia BayView Trail for about 1.5 miles, and at that point you’ll be at the heart of the trail network. Joaquin Miller Park is most known for Big Trees, Cinderella, and Chaparral, and though there are others to choose from, we will focus on the three classics in this blog.
THE THREE CLASSICS
Big Trees is the every person trail. This trail has a mix of single track, double track, smooth sections, rougher sections, and even the occasional, optional, jump or two. Riders of all skill levels will be fine riding either a hardtail or a full suspension bike down this trail. Big trees is a great trail to start out on if you are newer to the sport, and if you’ve been riding for a while, doing a lap down big trees is a great way to warm up before you get to some of the more technical trails in the park.
Cinderella: Once you’ve done a lap on Big Trees, it’s time to head over to Cinderella. Cinderella is the must ride trail for Joaquin Miller - it combines flowy singletrack with a technical rock garden and some nice jumps sprinkled in to create roughly two minutes of pure downhill joy. Cinderella is an intermediate trail. Newer riders can ride this trail, though it will be important to manage speed so as not to lose control. Intermediate and advanced riders can let loose on Cinderella, though be sure to be alert as this trail often sees hikers going in both directions. If Cinderella is a breeze for you, then it’s time to check Chaparral.
Chaparral is the heavy hitter of Joaquin Miller Park. This trail is steep, rocky, rooty, and tons of fun. Chaparral is best done on a full suspension bike, though talented or brave souls can ride Chaparral on a hardtail. Top to bottom, Chaparral takes about 1 minute and should only be ridden by intermediate or advanced riders. If you’re not sure about riding this trail, you can always hike it beforehand to get a sense of it.
Once you’ve made it down these three trails, you’ll have ridden some of the best trails in Oakland! Congratulations! But if you’re still itching for more, you can check out Trail Forks to find the other trails in Joaquin Miller and across the Bay Area! You can also watch my video above to get a sense of what these trails are like. Lastly (maybe most importantly) don't forget to be courteous on the trails, both to other riders and to the parkland itself. Here's our guide on MTB trail etiquette so you can brush up before you head out!
jack action says...
Good vid. Tip: don’t ride up Bishop’s Walk. It’s mostly ridden down and just up a bit there is a road that takes you to the same place.On June 25, 2021