Sullivan Ridge (and Caballero Canyon Option)
Ride Level – Intermediate-Advanced
Total Ride Distance: 10 to 17
Total Elevation Gain: 1,327 to 3,300 feet
Total Elev Drop: Starting at 1,923
Located in the Santa Monica Mountains off dirt Mulholland, this trail’s proximity to Los Angeles makes it a perfect riding stop for anyone in the city. It can be accessed from the Valley on the east, or the coastal/western side.
Dirt Mulholland is a major artery with trails dipping down almost every ridge. Sullivan is just one of the many options and you can choose on this ride by climbing up Sullivan Ridge fire road. If you’re coming from the valley side or want more bang for your buck, try climbing up Caballero Canyon trail off Reseda Blvd. Dirt Mulholland runs for eight miles between Topanga Canyon all the way towards the 405 freeway and offers expansive views of the coast and downtown Los Angeles. It’s also worth visiting the old Nike Missile site for a piece of LA’s wartime history.
Big Tree and Jedi Approach are fast singletracks that branch off Sullivan Ridge fire road and are littered with jumps and turns. All features have ride-around options, making the area ideal for riders looking to progress and get comfortable with high speed riding or wanting to practice their jumping skills.
At the bottom of the descent you’ll end up at a junction where you’ll have three options. You can either turn back up the fire road and climb to dirt mullholland, take the paved road down to the first trail on your right into camp Josepho or continue down the road about 150 yards to Squirrel Cage (the first trail on your left next to a phone pole). It’s easy to miss the entrance to this fun, steep singletrack descent into Sullivan Canyon. We recommend dropping down that and pedaling back up from there– unless of course you parked on the coastal side.
If you climb back up to Mullholland, take a left and continue down the fire road for a short bit and you’ll see two singletrack options branch off to the right. If you’re looking for something a bit steeper and gnarlier than Caballero you can take a right and end up at the same parking area on Reseda. Be warned they are technical and rocky.
This ride is an iconic LA ride but isn’t necessarily one of the most jam-packed on our list. Instead it’s the amount of saddle time mated with expansive views and Nike Missile Site history that put this ride on our recommendation list.
Directions from South:
Parking is found in the neighborhoods at the intersection of Amalfi Drive and Capri. Once unloaded, pedal up Capri and turn left on Casale. Follow Casale until it turns into the Sullivan fire road. You’ll continue up the paved road until arriving at a gate. Go around the gate and continue upwards. As you climb this fire road you may notice Big Tree and Jedi Aproach trails as they parallel and intersect the fire road. When you get to dirt Mullholland, you can either turn around and enjoy the descent or venture towards Caballero and check out Cookies DH down towards the San Fernando Valley.
Directions from the Valley:
Exit Reseda Blvd from the 101 and head west. Continue towards the mountains until a stop sign by Braemar Country Club. The trailhead is just off the road. Park along the curb and make your way up Caballero Canyon Trail. You will reach dirt Mulholland and after catching your breath you’ll make a left turn. Continue up Mulholland and you’ll see Sullivan Ridge off to your right. If you go just a bit passed Sullivan you can visit the Nike Missile site before dropping in.
As you descend Sullivan be aware. Big Tree and Jedi Approach break off to the left and right of the fire road respectively in a rather obvious manner. Nevertheless, keep your eyes peeled as it crosses over the road a few times.
On the way down, the trail alternates between fast, loose shale and sections with small jumps and berms. Be warned and always stop to look at the feature before jumping. Some of the jumps go over rather large gaps or even clear over canyons that have serious consequences. That said, every feature has an easy go around option so taking the smooth and easy line is no problem.
Once you return to the pavement, go straight and look for a steep trail dropping off to the left, this is Squirrel Cage and will take you down into Sullivan Canyon below. Find a shady spot to fuel up and pedal back towards Mullholland.
If you want a bigger adventure, follow the paved Sullivan Fire Road down until the first trail breaks off to the right. Take the Nicholas Cage trail down and into Camp Josepho. The area was once a remote camp for Nazi sympathizers in the U.S. and was more or less a self-sustaining city. Today, the area is nothing but a few ruins, but nevertheless it is an interesting piece of Los Angeles history to pedal through. Once you’ve had your fill, take the paved road out of the ranch and back onto the main Sullivan Fire Road. The scenery, history and awesome trails make Sullivan Ridge a must ride in LA.
Be sure to watch this Red Bull video of Curtis Keene shredding Sullivan Ridge for inspiration.