Distance – 3 miles out and back
Elevation – 400′ drop down to end of the loop
Trail Conditions – Good dirt road all the way
Difficulty – Easy, with no technical riding
Camping Options – There are plenty of places to camp along the loop if you have enough water. No fire are allowed.
Topo – Figueroa Mountain
The route itself isn’t long and it’s actually not a trail but a well graded road which goes down the main ridgeline leading north from Ranger Peak. Yet it is an enchanting place; the ridge is covered by tall Coulter pines and their ever-present smell. The roads goes downhill gradually for 1.5 miles to the end of the ridge where you can enjoy a fine picnic and wonderful views. Several trails lead off this road, providing access to other parts of the mountain.
From Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos, take Figueroa Mountain Road 15.0 miles to the start of trail. The East Pinery turnoff is 3.3 miles beyond Figueroa Mountain Campground. Park in the open dirt area located at the saddle on the back side of Ranger Peak. Look for the dirt road leading west.
This easy ride is along an excellent dirt road leading down the north side of Ranger Peak, dropping 400′ in elevation to a loop at its end. Lush stands of Coulter pine, black oak, and a low covering of manzanita provide excellent scenery and a pleasant afternoon ride. In the Fall, the numerous Kellogg oaks in the area provide seasonal color. There are a host of small niches to be found along the way, each providing a picturesque and rustic picnic site, nicer than those found at many of the established sites.
As you coast down the road you’ll probably notice that most of the trees are almost the same size. This is due to a forest fire which burned through the area several decades ago. The wildfire started in Davy Brown Campground and burned unchecked up the north side of the mountain until stopped at Figueroa Mountain Road. Most of the trees were actually killed by the intense heat of the fire rather than the flames, and afterwards most of them were cut down and hauled away. The whole area was replanted after the salvage effort. In recent years this area burned again in the Marre Fire.
Though the trip to the end of East Pinery isn’t long – only 1.5 miles – longer rides are possible by connecting with one of several trails leading off East Pinery into Munch, White Rock, and Fir canyons. To connect with the Munch Canyon spur, follow the East Pinery road to its end (a loop). Take the right fork of the loop for 100 yards, looking carefully for the trail which diagonals down and to the right. It is .75 miles of gradual switchbacks down to the Munch intersection. When you reach the saddle, Munch Trail leads immediately to the right. Fir Canyon is to the left.