Our December MTB Day Trip was a ride on the Palm Canyon Epic. We all gathered bright and early to meet our shuttle driver Tristan from Beaten Path Shuttles in Corona. Next stop was Murrieta to pick up Ben, one more of our team riders, then off to Ribbonwood, the drop off point and start of our ride. At 4500’ there was snow here a week before. We were prepared for cold weather and wind. When we got there the sky was clear and the sun shining. Not too cold, but a brisk wind was blowing. There were 10 of us, all eager to get started.
The first couple miles on the trail looked like Sky Park Bike Park – jumps and obstacles with beautifully maintained hero dirt. A few technical spots, but all rideable. We started peeling off layers after about 15 minutes.
The biggest issue was thorny bushes and lots of cactus. It didn’t take long for Sid to brush up against a cactus and get a few needles stuck in his glove, which we couldn’t see or get rid of until Ben loaned him a spare pair.
We re-grouped many times and all managed to stay together for the entire ride. Lots of opportunities to take photos, enjoy the scenery and have a good time.
The Palm Canyon Epic has quite a lot of technical rocky descents on the trail, a few hike-a-bikes, but most of it is rideable. The dreaded “wash” segment, which is normally an hour+ of hike-a-bike due to soft sand was all rideable thanks to the recent rains.
There was one intersection which had fairly new signs – Mountain Bike straight, Palm Canyon Trail straight, we went left - on purpose. This actually resulted in a little more hike-a-bike, but also good trails, eventually re-joining the original trail.
Ben led most of the way, and Tim was sweeper. Sid went down on a flat, smooth, straight trail, trying to ride a line that didn’t exist resulting in his front wheel in a ditch and some bruised ribs. Many others also left DNA on the trail with thorny bushes and cactus encroaching the narrow, single tracks.
Towards the end, we had two options – the easy fire road back, or exposed, narrow, technical single track. Of course we took the latter.
Overall 27 miles, 2400ft climbing.
Our shuttle driver picked us up in Cathedral City 5 hours after we left. He told us most people that start the ride don't make it to the end so we were pretty stoked to learn we completed a trail that most never finish!
We re-fueled at 7-11 (yum), then endured the 3-4 hours in traffic to get home ☹.
An epic day ride, we will definitely do again!