Geoff Orth talks trails on Feb. 28 at Over the Edge in Todos Santos. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Plenty of dirt exists for mountain bikers to play on in the greater Todos Santos area. The problem is the trail system isn’t ideal.

Trails have been built by enthusiasts, not experts. This means erosion can be a big issue, that the contours of the land haven’t always been followed, and maintenance isn’t regularly happening.

All of this was pointed out by Geoff Orth, a trail building consultant for Stray Dogs based in Alaska. He gave a talk Feb. 28 to about 20 people at Over the Edge in Todos Santos. (Over the Edge has six mountain bike shops, including in South Lake Tahoe, California.)

Dave Thompson, who runs the Baja California Sur shop, said the reason for the gathering “was to get a little cohesion with people so we are all trying to work toward the same objective.”

This talk was the first step to get like-minded people together. It was also an opportunity to learn how a well-built trail can be sustainable, and a reminder that even those require maintenance.

Thompson takes kids from the local mountain biking race team out to help with maintenance. Otherwise, there is no organized maintenance of the local trails. It was pointed out that in La Ventana on the East Cape volunteers turn out once a week for a scheduled trail maintenance day.

More than 30 miles of trails exist in the Todos Santos area. All are on private land. Because of this signage for the most part is non-existent.

Orth’s slide presentation included trails from all over the world that work and don’t work.

As he showed a picture of the local Las Tunas area, he said, “When you get standing water on sandstone, you will get sand traps.” This is a bad thing. He admitted it’s sometimes easier to start over with a new, well-designed, well-built trail instead of trying to repair what’s on the ground.

When it comes to building trails, Orth said it is best to do it with machines. “Machines are one-third the cost of hand tools.”

In Baja it’s hand tools that are accessible and what have been used to date.

Orth stressed that “trails are a facility,” which a lot of officials don’t get.

Anyone interested in working on the local trail system, may contact Thompson at or 612.145.0625.

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