Rides & Destinations: Glendora Ridge Road, Southern California

Glendora Ridge Road offers incredible riding and scenery, but be careful of bears, tarantulas and snakes.

  • A great half-day journey, including the trip from L.A., Glendora Ridge Road is a treat.
    Photo by Joe Berk
  • Tight curves and low traffic keep things lively.
    Photo by Joe Berk

Where: Glendora Ridge Road, up in the San Gabriel Mountains above Upland, Claremont, La Verne and Glendora, Calif. Take the Mountain Avenue exit off the 210 Freeway in Upland (about 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles), follow the signs to Mt. Baldy and turn left just as you enter Mt. Baldy Village.
Why: Incredible riding and scenery.
Best Kept Secret: The Mt. Baldy Lodge just north of Glendora Ridge Road in Mt. Baldy Village. Try the tuna melt!
Scenic Route: They’re all scenic. You can retrace your ride back to Mt. Baldy Village, or take either the East Fork Road or Glendora Mountain Road back down to civilization. You won’t be disappointed with any of these rides.
Avoid: Speeding, cutting corners (there’s no centerline so stay on your side) and getting too close to the tarantulas!

Nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains and offering 12 miles of well-maintained, low-traffic twisties, Glendora Ridge Road is definitely one of the best kept secrets in southern California. And it’s not just 12 miles, but 12 miles and 234 curves (yep, I counted them!) through some of the most beautiful country imaginable. The striking thing about this road is its simultaneous desolation and nearness to civilization, as Glendora Ridge Road is only 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.

Imagine a perfect motorcycle road through a nature preserve and you’ll have Glendora Ridge Road. Situated high up in the Angeles National Forest, Glendora Ridge Road began life as a dirt road many decades ago. It was paved in the 1970s, but there’s no centerline for most of its length, requiring extra care in navigating its many tight blind corners.

The road attracts motorcyclists, bicyclists and the odd sports car or two. It runs directly through one of the premier wildflower spots in the country and the colors are positively surreal in April and May when the flowers are blooming. The road also borders the San Dimas Experimental Forest, a 32-square-mile research area. I’ve seen deer, foxes, bobcats, bears, tarantulas and snakes up there. A few years ago, a mountain lion pounced off a cliff and took a swipe at a bicyclist’s rear wheel!

Photo opportunities along the road are endless. There are several areas where cliffs and overhangs provide shade, so even on a bright day you can get great shots without harsh shadows.

Glendora Ridge Road runs roughly east to west (or west to east, depending on which way you travel). I particularly like riding this road in the early morning or at dusk, as it makes for a more interesting ride, plus there’s even less traffic and the wildlife is more active.

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter