Story By Chris Denison | Photos By Drew Ruiz
At Dirt Rider, we receive a lot of inquiries from riders all over the world asking about the best places to ride off-road in the state of California. While the majority of trails that we use for testing are located on private land, there are plenty of recreational opportunities in the Golden State that are perfect spots for safe and responsible OHV use—the operative word in that sentence being “responsible,” as it’s up to all of us riders to make sure these areas stay open. With that in mind, we decided to bring you a closer look at one of California’s popular SVRAs, along with some insight as to what you can do to enjoy this spot responsibly.
Name: Hungry Valley SVRA (also known as “Gorman”)
Location: Tejon Pass, northern Los Angeles county and Ventura county
Elevation: 3,000 to 6,000 feet
Terrain: Various—includes sand washes, desert-style trails, flowing single-track and long hillclimbs. A motocross track is on the east side of the facility, along with a 4×4-training track for jeeps and multi-use vehicles (such as side-by-sides).
Size: Hungry Valley is the second largest unit of California State Park’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, with 19,000 acres and over 130 miles of trails.
Red-Sticker Season: Open October 1 to April 30, closed May 1 to September 30
Fees: $5 day-use parking fee or $50 day-use annual pass; $10 overnight camping
Operating Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Tips For Responsible Use
Hungry Valley is not unlike any other SVRA in that there are a number of commonsense rules and regulations that riders are required to follow in order to enjoy the area. To begin with, all riders need to stay on established trails; that one is a given and applies anywhere you ride your dirt bike. Additionally, courtesy must be extended to other outdoor enthusiasts, meaning that hikers, equestrians and mountain bikes get the right of way, and you need to be careful not to dust out campers or loudly warm up your bike at 4 a.m. Seeing as open-container and DUI laws in California apply off-highway just as they do on-highway, it’s important that adult beverages be consumed responsibly—inside of a campsite—if at all, and never before riding. In terms of equipment, all OHVs must display either a license plate or a green sticker, red sticker or some other form of registration (such as a California Nonresident OHV Use Permit). Spark arrestors are required and must be in good working order, with noise restrictions of 96 dBA being enforced by the standardized 20-inch test. It goes without saying that all bikes must be safe to operate (good brakes and such) and all riders must be able to reach and operate all controls, and are required to wear proper riding gear.
Did You Know?
The Dirt Rider 24-Hour Torture Test took place at Hungry valley for several years. Night riding at the facility is incredible, with loops up to 45 miles providing a fantastic venue for the strenuous bike test, both during the day and in the dark.
California State Parks has a informative website (http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/ OHV [laws/safety?] section) that outlines the laws that are enforced and other important information. Also, all of the California SVRAs have a variety of trails that are identified with signs that indicate the level of difficulty (similar to ski slopes), and which types of OHVs are intended for the trails. This is a big help as some trails are motorcycle-specific and some are mixed use, and you should know if an ATV or a jeep could be found on the trail. Many of the trails are two-way, and others are one-way trails. It’s important to always ride the correct way on a one-way trail, and to pass oncoming traffic on the right. Maps of the trails are posted on signboards and are found at the entrance of the parks and at many of the local stores, and they are free!
The Bottom Line
Hungry Valley is a great off-road area, and if you live out of state and want to come to California to ride some fresh, fun terrain, there’s something for everyone out at Gorman. Another great feature of Hungry Valley is that several specific areas are set aside for special uses such as a kid’s mini track, an ATV training track and a 4×4 course. These are good features as Gorman has something for almost every form of off-highway recreation fun. Like all other public riding opportunities, Hungry Valley remains open because responsible riders are committed to using the land in a manner that promotes the future of OHV recreation. Bottom line, 90 percent of all riders adhere to these regulations each and every time they swing a leg over the bike and take to the trails. Let’s all help the other 10 percent learn why it’s so important to follow suit.
To see more about our playground, be sure to click on www.offroadplaygrounds.com.