Sullivan Canyon trail (Santa Monica, CA area)

I’m wanting to do this Muni trail as I hear it’s one of the best in all of Los Angeles county. Vivalargo and company often do this trail and say it’s really fun and challenging, and I want to go out there tomorrow and ride it…the problem is, I’ll most likely be going it solo (unless anyone living in this vicinity, and reading this post wants to join me!) but reading all the forums about this trail, the consensus is that there are LOTS of cougar/mtn lion sightings and they STRONGLY advise against going alone! :astonished:

Problem is, these big cats are super stealthy, and you won’t even know they are near until thay are ON YOU! So that gives me pause about going alone…any thoughts? Am I overreacting? Should I go alone anyway and just keep alert? This is a very popular trail so I’m sure there will be hikers/bikers there througout my ride, but that’s no guarantee of safety.

Of course you should just go ride it. Cougars be damned. But be sure your camera is set up well so we can have some clips of the carnage. “Uni-Geezer: A Big Cat F***ing Ate Me!”

Joking aside, I’d say wait until you have a riding buddy. I get nervous riding alone even on the popular trails in my area, and always bring along ID and a cell phone. Maybe I’m paranoid, though.

The trick is to ride a quarter mile up the Westridge fire road, then drop into Elevator Shaft which takes off the fire road directly on the left. That is a short but challenging run into the bottom of the canyon. Then you ride UP Sulivan Canyon and reverse it, picking off all the obstacles on the flanks of the regular trail. There’s some good drops up to 6 foot and a bunch of skinnies on trees and so forth. The regular trail is easy and a blast at high speed. I’ve done this run twice in the last month or so - with both Jamey and Don and will probably do it again this weekend with Eyal because it’s local and fast and it’s a shuttle (or a big ass atreet climb back to the top).

Cougars and mountain lions virtually never attack people and I’ve never seen either in Sulivan. It’s still a little spooky to find yourself in the bottom of that canyon on a weekday and all alone. Unlikey too beacuse it is so popular.


I’d ride it without hesitation. Firstly I don’t know the numbers, but I’m sure that you are much more likely to get killed both by the drive to and from the trail and by riding the trail itself, than from a cat attack. And secondly, what better way to go out (and I’m being totally serious here) contributing to the food chain the way it was always intended to be. If a cat eats you, it was hungry. Sure you died in the process, but you allowed a starving cat to live a bit longer. When I die (possibly in direct result of) I’d like to be fed to wild animals. Screw expensive burials and such. I’d like to get back to the way things used to be, no reason to waste a bunch of really good meat.

You’re kidding about the mountain lions, right? We ride at night where 2 mountain lion attacks have happened. You are much more likely to be killed by a coconut or a donkey!

Oh my god!! My biggest fear in life. Death by coconut.

I would bet that the noise/sight of a unicycle on the trail would keep lions away. I’ve never heard of a mountain biker being attacked. When I do hear about it happening, it’s alway a lone hiker. I have a very paranoid friend who runs in lion country all the time. He figures that a lion would see him as fleeing prey and that he’d be much more prone to attack. His solution is that he wears a custom bandana around his head with embroidered ‘eyes’ in the back. He says a mountain lion will only attack from behind. You could just paint eyes on the back of your helmet.

Ooh, I like the eyes on the back of your head thing! Statistically you are more likley to be killed by a falling coconut than eaten by a shark or a mountain lion.

Haha, well I rode a new trail today called “7th Avenue loop”, and the BIG sign at the trailhead warned about Mountain Lions, Poisonous insects & snakes, poison oak…I was pretty much the only person there, but I went anyway and LIVED through it, lol! This is a really fun trail, although the first mile is solid climbing and very steep.

I had to walk the last 1/4 mile climb to the top as it was way to steep to keep any momentum, even standing on the pedals and doing half revs! Beautiful views and lots of shade, and the last half of the loop was all DH singletrack and fast! My GPS logged a Max DH speed of 8.8 mph! That’s fast for me.:slight_smile: The loop is just under 4 miles.

Anyway this trail was fun and not very technical, but a helluva good workout!:smiley: Here’s stats on the trail:


Been gone from the forums for over a week and I saw this.

Last I read, in the paper, though it was about 6 months ago. That there is only one mountain lion in the Santa Monicas. I read that it and it sounded,to me, like it was unlikely, but I swear that’s what it said. If that’s true, then the odds of being attacked are dismal. I don’t remember if it was a male or a female.

In researching the trail, how old were the reports or warnings of mountain lions? Try a backwards search on the net with “Santa Monica Mountains” “mountain lion”. Try also and search the site itself. I think that’s where I read the story.

Have a good ride.