del sol fire road

It is easy to miss Del Sol fire road. I ran past it many times before discovering the entrance along Via Campesina in Palos Verdes.

delsol03

While Del Sol only lasts about two miles, it is a worthy addition to any run and I try to include it whenever I am training nearby.

del_sol_fire_road

From the start there is a 300 foot climb; 500 feet if you count getting to the trail head. It’s hard work but worth the effort.

delsol_elevation

On the way up the surface is paved and surrounded by heavy brush. When I run in the early morning it is mostly deserted. I’ve passed a few hikers, runners, and dog walkers but I usually have the road to myself.

delsol01

As I climb, the trees thin to reveal a long view of the Los Angeles Basin. On the clearest days I can see as far as Malibu and the Channel Islands.

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Del Sol then empties onto city roads with more climbing until it reaches the Douglas Trail head. This is where the fun begins.

plunge03

Douglas Trail is mostly downhill, much steeper than Del Sol, and single track all the way. Tree roots and loose soil are constant reminders to watch my step.

plunge01

The north side drops steeply to the ocean and the trail tends to slant sideways. It feels like running through a landslide caught in slow motion. My most recent run was shortly after a rainstorm and the dirt turned to black sticky clay. I was wearing my Newton trail running shoes but the soles caked with mud and made my footing rather loose.

bocoat

Before the final descent, the trail levels briefly above Bluff Cove. It’s a perfect place to take a break and look out over the Palos Verdes bluffs.

theplunge

Del Sol fire road is one of my favorite trail runs and a regular part of my training. It’s rough on the way up but the views and technical conditions make it a new adventure every time I run it.

 

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