Destinations: Newcomb's Ranch, Flintridge, California

Classic Motorcycle Destinations

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    Photo by Joe Berk
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    From old Guzzis to the newest MV Agustas, the parking lot at Newcomb's Ranch can be quite a show, especially on the weekends.
    Photo by Joe Berk

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For those of you who don’t live in the Golden State, the Crest is California Highway 2, the Angeles Crest Highway. It’s a marvelous road, full of twisties, climbs, descents and great views through pine-forested mountains well above the Los Angeles basin smog. The pearl in this oyster is Newcomb’s Ranch, a restaurant and bar nestled in the center of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Newcomb’s Ranch is a great stop along this marvelous road in the Chilao Flats area of the Angeles National Forest. During the 1860s and early 1870s the infamous bandit and horse thief Tiburcio Vasquez frequented the area, as he found the area’s meadows to be an ideal place to hide his stolen herds. Sometime before his capture in 1874, one of his men was said to have killed a bear with a knife, earning his nickname “Chillia” (or Hot Stuff). From this story comes the name of the region today, Chilao.

An explorer named Louis Newcomb then settled in the area in 1888, building a cabin not too far from the current location of today’s Newcomb Ranch, which was erected in 1939. The Ranch has served as a restaurant, hotel, general store and gas station over the years, and much of the original two-story structure was destroyed in a fire in 1976. The building was rebuilt and opened as a restaurant, run for many years by Lynn Newcomb Jr. Today, Newcomb’s Ranch is owned by Dr. Frederick H. Rundall, a lover of nature with a passion for the mountains.

Highway 2 runs from Glendale (off the 210 Freeway) roughly northeast across the San Gabriel Mountains to Wrightwood, and then down to Highway 138. For several years now, road damage has closed the Crest about 20 miles north of Newcomb’s. You can ride up to the point at which it is shut down, but you can’t go all the way through to Wrightwood. That notwithstanding, the ride is still a worthwhile one and the stop at Newcomb’s is always fun. Newcomb’s always has an interesting selection of motorcycles in their parking lot. It’s not uncommon to see exotic cars too, but motorcycles and their riders far outnumber everyone else. Classic bikes, high end sportbikes, cruisers and more add to the mix. Bring a camera; you won’t be disappointed.

Unlike many of the motorcycle gathering spots in southern California, the food at Newcomb’s is great. The restaurant was recently remodeled, the service is great, the breakfasts are outstanding and their chili is some of the best you’ll find. They’re open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Even without the great ride and the cool bikes, it would still be worth the trip just for the food.

From Los Angeles:
Take the 5 Freeway North to the 210, then take the 210 Freeway north to California Highway 2. Turn right, and after 27 miles of glorious twisties, Newcomb’s will be on the left.

7/11/2015 3:37:40 PM

My wife and I stop in for the first time on Father's day of this year. Great time great vibes from everyone. Food is very good and please don't ride in thinking that everything is going to be fast, because its not. This is a great place to take your time and order your food and enjoy all the nice bikes, cars, and people while you are waiting. Tomorrow 7/12/2015 I'm bringing our youngest son Justin(a Sophomore in high school)for the first time. The ride is going to be awesome for him, and just to spend time with my son on two wheels is a blessing within itself. He can't wait to set and eat, with bikers from all walks of life. He will be the kid taking photos and walking around going WOW look at this bike or that car. As a father and biker, this have to be one of my special moments in my life and sons life.

Dan Wineinger
6/26/2009 1:32:24 AM

It's been a long time since I have ridden the "Crest". I remember meeting in Glendale at Eddie Arnold's restaurant, all on cafe bikes like 850 Nortons, a retired 441 factory road racer not quite legal, a Daytona Yamaha that had been purchased at the track from Sarinan who was killed at that race as I remember, and definitely not legal, and a really neet 350 4cyl Honda built by a retired cop from Glendale. I'm sure we stopped at Newcomb's place but we may have just called it "The Ranch". Too many rides and years have passed, but at one time you could ride down to the De Anza Indian rez. and come home to the San Gabriel Valley through Indio and back to Cajone Pass, DeVore Cut off and home. I don't remember road numbers or directions much. I just kept riding until the money ran out, and at$1.00 @ hr wages, it didn't take long!

9/27/2008 8:50:29 PM

I don't know about great service.... I tried bringing my 3.5 year old son, a cancer patient, and my elderly parents for a breakfest mid week, ...and had to leave without eating, due to the lack of service. There was only one person taking orders/ serving food and couldn't handle the 10 guys on cycles, and the 5 forrest rangers. I ate there before, it was not memorable. It's the location that is, or was for my family.

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