I had heard a lot about the closures of Anderson Truck Trail and decided to go check it out for myself. I had biked Anderson dozens of times before almost dying there in 2008 (see Crash … You Should be Dead). Although many of you have visited Anderson before and might be reading just to learn the extent the closures, I am going to show photos and talk about the truck trail as if my readers have not been there.
Like most visitors to Anderson Truck Trail I parked below the I-8 bridges which span Peutz (pronounced pitts) Valley Road. As expected, I did not see any other vehicles under the bridges as this was a Friday morning … a work day. Non working riders might also have stayed away due to the news about the closures.
After the eight tenths mile ride up the paved Peutz Valley Road I was glad to hit dirt … happy to be riding along a nice piece of singletrack with views of El Capitan Reservoir on my left (Anderson Truck Trail used to all be a doubletrack suitable for autos but for the most part has turned into a rutted, rocky trail only passable by two wheeled vehicles) … especially since the installation of the Great Wall of Bofus.
The initial seven tenths of trail gradually dropped me down a rutted doubletrack until I found myself crossing Peutz Creek.
Just past the creek crossing the trail begins the climb along the face of the cliff overlooking El Capitan Reservoir.
The climb is steady and continues for about a mile and a half before Anderson Truck Trail reaches the top of the plateau and heads away from the lake and enters huge, flat, dirt area. Looking east I could see the mountain where all the trails lay, but could see no individual trails or closures (just a few glimpses of the upper part of Anderson Truck Trail).
From this clearing the condition of Anderson Truck Trail improves … and although in many places water has cut deep grooves into the surface, the road often shows tire marks of four wheel drive vehicles.
The first place I came across a trail closure was right along the sides of the truck trail … about two tenths of a mile above the clearing. I knew this was where the downhill trail (called World Cup by many) crossed the road. Both sides of Anderson Truck Trail were fenced. There were signs saying to keep out.
I continued up Anderson, passing the Anita Way turnoff, the dirt road leading to the Lower World Cup run. I was, and still am baffled as to why they did not fence off this entry. Most the riders I know turn there because they are not interested in doing the humongous jumps and drops on the Upper World Cup run anyway.
My next stop was to take a photo of the place in the road where I almost died. I continued up to the ranch where I had propped up my head (placing my elbows on top of a utility pedestal) waiting for a helicopter.
From the ranch Anderson Truck Trail gets real steep for about a half mile, until it finally tops out at a flat place with a huge boulder. Just prior to getting to the boulder I once again came across a whole bunch of fencing on both sides of the road.
I was a little surprised when I got to the boulder on top and found no fencing! From my experience, many people started their runs from the boulder and not higher up (there was more fencing above and behind the boulder).
Looking down the trail from the boulder I did see the fence line (perfectly straight) cutting through the World Cup Trail a few hundred yards below.
I had to take a few scenic shots looking to the west from the boulder … especially of the massive hunk of granite we call El Capitan Mountain and farther, where I could see the ocean beyond some high rise buildings I know are at least 20 miles away.
As I turned around and headed back down Anderson Truck Trail (the way I had come) I thought more about the fencing. The way they placed their barricades didn’t make a lot of sense. The places where mountain bikers typically start their runs were not fenced off.
On my return I decided to take the Anita Way turn off. After cruising a hundred yards down I took the right turn onto the singletrack (as I had many times before) and began the Lower World Cup run.
As usual, I did a lot of ride-arounds as I was not up to jumping or dropping anything more about three feet … especially riding alone on a day when (most likely) no other riders would be passing by (in case I was severely hurt).
Passing by the Frank Wada memorial didn’t help my courage much (he died up there riding alone in 2011)
In addition to the usual big obstacles the recent rains had taken quite a toll on the riding surface, making the approach to some of the features difficult.
Eventually I arrived at the fence I knew would be waiting for me … the one blocking me from crossing Anderson and continuing on down Lower World Cup … the one I had seen from the road earlier. I still find it strange I was allowed to ride almost the entire Lower Cup run, only to be stopped near the end.
After walking along the fence line to return to the truck trail, I turned left and soon found myself riding the area called “Spicoli One” … an area just to the southwest of the clearing where I had taken the photos of the mountain.
I found no fences on Spicoli One, just the usual hurdles … severely rutted.
Spicoli One dumped me back onto Anderson, which I took back down to where we used to be able to ride down to the lake. However, just a quarter mile shy of the lake I cam to another No Trespassing sign. Rather than backtrack back up to Anderson I decided to bushwack my way across to the access road for the reservoir, having to ford the two streams feeding the lake (Peutz Creek and Alpine Creek).
Once on the dirt access road I ground my way back up to the bridges to finish the ride.
In conclusion, I had enjoyed a most beautiful day and the awesome scenery surrounding Anderson Truck Trail, and I am glad I got to see the closures so I can share the information with my fellow riders. Am I sad that riders who enjoy doing big stunts have one less place to play? Yes. If I owned that property would I think about fencing it off? Yes. Can a person still enjoy a gorgeous ride up Anderson Truck Trail? You bet!
*Note – All the fences shown here are different. I did not show the same fence from multiple perspectives trying to give the allusion of more fences. Yes, I saw several different fences … maybe more exist.