While you can run the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails, they are challenging. It’s clear it’s a mountain biker world. But the bikers are generally friendly, and I also saw plenty of hikers out too. I didn’t really know what to expect, and since the trails are located in Tehachapi, I figured it would probably be more quiet.
About the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails:
It’s about 1600 feet to the top, and it definitely felt challenging the entire way. Maybe I’m just super out of shape, but running up was exhausting. I averaged about 13 minute pace, and took plenty of stop and walk breaks.
One thing to keep in mind is that you must be a member of the Tehachapi Mountain Trails Association (TMTA) to use the trails. The daily fee is $5, and you can pay online or in person at the Tehachapi visitors center. You can get an annual family membership for $35.
My Experience with the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails:
My spouse loves mountain biking on these trails and often asks me if I want to come. Usually I say no, but a couple of weekends ago, I wasn’t really feeling running at Edwards, so I decided to head up. Tehachapi is roughly 50 minutes from us.
We arrived at the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails around 10 am. There were maybe 10 cars in the parking lot but still plenty of room to park. On my entire run, I only saw two mountain bikers towards the end. It was nice because, unlike the Crystal Cove 15k, I was constantly stopping and moving out of people’s way. The first 3/4ths of a mile climb is about 200 feet. You notice you’re climbing, but it doesn’t feel too bad.
You’ll hit a gate that is easy to open. From there, you’ll have the options of several directions, from steep grades to not as steep. I saw the “rock garden trail” and thought immediately no. I don’t need to run into any more rock gardens. I wanted to reach the peak, so I followed the trail up. It got steep quick, and there were a ton of switchbacks (probably 15 or so). Around 1.5 of the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails, I really thought about turning around. I questioned how badly do I want to make it to the top. It is incredibly steep, and the narrow rocky trails make you feel like you might fall off the side of the mountain. Looking down, I noticed the beautiful view and thought: I’ve come up a lot.
But I kept trucking along the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails and eventually reached the top. It felt like it took me forever, and I haven’t been that exhausted. It averaged about a 13-14 minute pace to the top.
I decided to come back down the same way I went up. It was slightly faster coming down, but not by much. I took a few detours to see what other trails were available at the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails. I was out there for about 2:10 and ran about 10 miles. The challenge was a lot of fun, but I’ll need a little time to relax before conquering the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails again. Is the view at the peak worth it? Immediately yes. But boy, is it hard.
You can see more hikes and trail runs here.
Questions for you:
Have you ever climbed the Tehachapi Lehigh Trails?
What are your favorite trails to run?