Earl Canyon Motorway Mountain Bike Ride



Fire road




Elevation Gain


2092’ per GPS

Starting/Max Elevation


1827’ / 3839’

Starting Coordinates


34 13.501’ N, 118 12.993’

Although this ride qualifies as one of the shortest on this site, it’s also one of the toughest. The fire road 2N81 is usually in fair condition, although loose in places after grading. The gradient however makes this ride best attempted only on cooler days. You begin from a residential area in La Canada Flintridge, climbing 2000’ in just 3.5 miles to intersect the fire road 2N76 to Mount Lukens. The route can therefore be extended to include Mount Lukens.

Getting there

From the 210 freeway in Montrose take the Ocean View exit and go right to Foothill Blvd. At the junction with Foothill go right. Continue to Palm Dr (less than a mile) and turn left. Park on the street beyond the intersection with Fairmount Ave. The ride begins by turning on to La Sierra Drive - a very short gated road. Google directions to start


The Ride

Earl Canyon motorway near startAfter turning on to La Sierra Drive you will come across a yellow gate. While not the easiest to traverse I find holding the bike on its rear wheel and passing to the right of the gate works best, especially when alone with no one to pass the bike to. This is the 0 mile marker.

The road soon drops into a drainage gully (no water flowing at time of writing) and then after climbing out has a another dirt road joining from the left at 0.07 miles - bear right. At 0.15 miles take a sharp left to begin the climb. At 1.75 miles you may see Mount Lukens peak in the distance (look for a building and transmission towers as in the picture below). A short fire road is on the left at 1.96 miles - stay right, and at 3.1 miles you will see the water tower ahead - that’s the turnaround point.

Earl Canyon motorway near startThe road to Mount Lukens (2N76) is reached at 3.45 miles after approximately 50 minutes of riding. If you feel like resting cross the road and go right to the water tower. There are some good views from here both into the valley and the mountains.

Return the way you came to follow this trace, or if you feel up to more climbing head North towards Mount Lukens on 2N76


Ride log

Last Ridden


Pedal Time

Elapsed Time

Dec 30th, 07

Good - scattered rocks make for a cautious return, but otherwise road is in good condition. Saw only one hiker during the whole ride.

1 hour 5 minutes

1 hour 13 minutes






[Directions to start]

[Map in pdf (319 KB)]

[GPS Trace (waypoint every quarter mile)]

[GPS Trace (all waypoints)]

[Topo file (.tpo)]






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Site Last Modified: Tuesday, March 10, 2009