This wknd I'm planning on doing this ride so figured I'd finish this post from 3 months ago(!).
Waaaaay back on Memorial Day wknd I finally rode up to Mt. Wilson on dirt, using the cross bike. I took roads out past the Pasadena Aquatic Center, the Rose Bowl and all those exercising bodies then up through the JPL trailhead. From here it's a route we utilize often when mountain biking: Brown Mountain fire road -> 3 points -> Millard -> Sunset Ridge (paved and steep!) -> The intersection with the Echo Mountain trail. Normally we'd then shoot down the Sunset Ridge single track -> Millard trail -> El Prieto.
On this journey I continued up, where the grade lessens and you are following the old (19th century!) train route. This mbpost.com page has some photos and a description of the trail. Photo is looking south toward Pasadena. Echo mountain is off to the left.
Not long after this and you are surrounded by pine trees and there is no sight of civilization. Even on a holiday weekend I didnt see anyone for the next few hours.
Mt Wilson finally comes into view. Less than a mile from the tunnel you hit Mt. Wilson road, which I have ridden on the road bike many times. After some more climbing, sneaking through a closed gate to snatch some water, texting from the top (gonna be late! sorry!), I descended Mt. Wilson toll road, which is unpaved and apparently closed. Have to admit that on the end of a 6-hour ride it was a little tricky and tough on the upper body. Saw two hikers, who were as surprised to see me as I was them. Then rolled through a closed campground. Suddenly you arrive at Eaton Canyon, crawling with day hikers and their bottled water. No bikes? Oops.
Hit the world's only vegetarian drive-thru on the way back to NELA to grab a recovery peanut butter soymilk shake and then onto the rest of the wknd's exploits.