The eBike & trail access in the USFS Angeles National Forest

Electronic bicycles (eBikes) are here!

Regardless of your opinion of the eBike, it’s important to know where eBikes can currently venture in the dirt. Because all eBikes have some level of motorized assistance, understanding the access to trails can be confusing.

MWBA wants to help everyone understand the eBike policy of the Angeles National Forest.

The USFS considers all eBike classes to be “motorized” and eBikes are permitted only on Motorized OHV trails & fire roads within Federal land.  

You can read the USFS 2016 memo on Electric Bikes and Trail Management here:

2016 USFS Electric Bikes And Trail Management Letter


In July 2017, the California USFS released flyers to educate the public on their “eBikes are motorized vehicles” policy.

The below graphics can be found on USFS Social Media accounts like Twitter and Facebook.

What does this mean for eBikes and the Angeles National Forest?

Non Motorized trails and fire roads such as El Prieto, Sunset Ridge, Sam Merrill, Brown Mountain & Fern Truck (2N65 & 2N66), Ken Burton, Mt. Lowe (2N50), Gabrielino, Mt Wilson Toll Road, etc. are off limits to all classes of eBikes.

But what if its called a “Truck Trail”?

The name of a trail or fire road does not tell you whether or not it is accessible by motorized vehicles.  The only accurate reference for OHV Motorized Vehicle access is the OHV Map for the forest.   Take a good look at the PDF, “back side” shows the Pasadena area, and you will not find open OHV trails or fire roads in the Brown Mountain vicinity.

Faded and worn “No Motorized” signage above JPL heading towards Brown Mountain

Where is the trail signage?

Signage on many access gates and trails is old or missing.  If you look closely, you may find faded signage declaring No Motorized Use.  But you have to look really hard!  The USFS is aware that new, clear signage needs to be installed at gates and on trails.  Signage in other areas may be lacking as well and you should contact the specific land manager to check their eBike access policy.

What about other areas like Cherry Canyon, Altadena Crest Trail, etc?

To get an accurate answer about eBike access in other trail areas, contact the local land manager!  Many land managers are currently developing their policies about eBikes on their trail systems.

The new California eBike law legalizes use on many State lands if the trail currently allows bikes AND the local land managers have not restricted eBikes. When riding on State land be sure to be courteous of other trail users and yield/stop for hikers and equestrians.

City and County lands can all have different policies on eBikes. If you are not sure, get in touch with local land managers to verify whether they allow eBikes.

What should I do if I see an eBike on the trails?

First of all, BE NICE!  Usually, everyone out in the forest is there to enjoy themselves.  You don’t have to say anything as its not your (or MWBA’s) responsibility to enforce land manager policy.  If you want to educate them about eBike access, be polite!  No one likes to be told they are in the wrong, so BE NICE!  California’s eBike law has been confusing and there is a lot of misinformation online.  There is plenty of conflict in the world and let’s help keep our trails an enjoyable and peaceful place.

FEDERAL: On federal lands, eMTBs are considered motorized vehicles and have access to motorized trails.


To be clear and reiterate:

The Angeles National Forest is Federal land and the new California eBike law does not apply. The USFS allows eBikes on motorized OHV trails and OHV fire roads.

To explore the Angeles National Forest on an eBike check out the trails available for motorized use. Here is the best quality OHV map available online for the ANF:

If you have any questions about the USFS eBike policy or OHV access, please don’t hesitate to contact the local USFS Office in Arcadia or one of your MWBA Board members.