One Afternoon in San Diego - Where to ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    One Afternoon in San Diego - Where to ride?

    I'll be in San Diego week of June 2nd and have Sunday afternoon free to ride. Hoping to rent a bike close to a trail head. So far Google has me thinking of getting a bike from one of the Trek stores and hitting Mission Trails regional park. Any other good options I'm missing? Any preferred routes at Mission Trails if that's my best option? Want to have some fun, but not looking for anything to difficult since I'll be riding solo.

  2. #2
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    I would pass on Mission Trails. Check out MeetUp for rides on the day you will be available. North of the Border, Cal Coast and Zumwalts are my top three picks for renting a bike.

    If you can find a group riding Laguna when you are here go for it. I avoid riding on Sunday in the city. I avoid riding Mission Trails Monday through Sunday.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  3. #3
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    North of the Border is right near a trail head also so that might be a good bet.
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  4. #4
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    So North of the Border and Zumwalts are both closed on Sunday according to the their websites. I don't think I can realistically get out of the airport and to a shop before 12:30 or 1 which at Cal Coast would only give me 4 hours to get the bike, travel to/from the trail, and ride. Starting to look like it might not pan out for this trip.

  5. #5
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    Mission Trails sucks now. The riding is better at Penasquitos as long as its not raining.

  6. #6
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    Mission Trails will make you rethink why you ever started mountain biking in the first place.

    If someone was in town, and driving an hour out to Laguna wasn't feasible, this is the exact loop I would take them on:

    https://www.trailforks.com/route/bla...ill-and-lilac/

    Don't let the elevation scare you, it's all on an easy utility road, and you can get it back under 2000 by not going all the way to the summit.

    If you want minimal climbing, then just to west is Penasquitos. Pick some ups and downs, but make sure you go down tunnel 4 and out Tunnel 1 at some point on the ride. Those two segments are so cool to ride. Very unique setting!

  7. #7
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    OP, don't do Mission Trails! Can we get a little more info regarding desired ride distance/elevation, type of trails preferred, etc?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaybirdNC View Post
    I don't think I can realistically get out of the airport and to a shop before 12:30 or 1 which at Cal Coast would only give me 4 hours to get the bike, travel to/from the trail, and ride. Starting to look like it might not pan out for this trip.
    Yeah trying to pull off a solid ride on a Sunday afternoon is not going to happen unless you can borrow a bike from a fellow rider. Failing that choices are very limited by shop hours and distance to trail systems.

    From Cal coast you can pedal over to Florida Canyon near Balboa Park and do a ride easily in about 2-3 hours. Not exciting riding but it can be done, and would be stress free.

    If you can keep the ride to less than 3 hours it is doable but tight to drive elsewhere if you can get out of Cal coast by 1pm. People poo poo on Mission "Missing" trails and it is not great riding but for a 2 hour ride it will do, and better than not riding. Other options would be to climb Cowles Mtn and over to Pyles Peak, or San Clemente Canyon, Black Mountain or South bay near Bonita/Chula Vista. Any of these are not much further driving time than Mission Trails, maybe 5-10 mins further.

  9. #9
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    New plan is to leave later in the day and ride before flying out on Wednesday. Should give me more time to handle the logistics of a rental, etc. Thanks for the suggestions so far.
    Last edited by JaybirdNC; 05-24-2019 at 11:50 AM.

  10. #10
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    +1 for the black mountain loop posted above

    Same ride we did yesterday. The trail is in great shape, other than a few ruts, and the flowers are still blooming.

  11. #11
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    Does Mission Trails suck now more than it used to for a specific reason? I moved away from SD about 4 years ago. At that time 99% of my riding was road and tri and I only had a really cheap HT. I rode it at mission trails a few times and it seemed OK at the time but my memory is pretty fuzzy.

    I live in CO now and MTB way, way more than I did in SD. I don't recall mission trails being great either way, but curious if it's changed since ~2015 when I was last there. As I recall most of the stuff that I actually found fun to ride was technically on Mirimar land but it wasn't gated and it was clear that people did not obey their no-trespassing signs.

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    Black Mountain

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgarson View Post
    I live in CO now and MTB way, way more than I did in SD. I don't recall mission trails being great either way, but curious if it's changed since ~2015 when I was last there. As I recall most of the stuff that I actually found fun to ride was technically on Mirimar land but it wasn't gated and it was clear that people did not obey their no-trespassing signs.
    The stuff north of 52 was not part of Mission Trails park. Lots of parcels have been acquired on that side and will be brought into the park whenever its management plan is finally approved, but a lot of the trails especially on military land have been shut down. The military has been active in patrolling and ticketing at times.

    Mission Trails proper aka "Missing Trails" is what people usually criticize. There is maybe 8 miles of singletrack out of what the city claims is 60 miles of "trails". There is a decent loop you can put together and it is ok as an after work type ride or when you don't have time to drive someplace better. But there are many other places you can go if you have more time.

  14. #14
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    The trail called 3 Barrels had been open until recently and it was a really cool climb and downhill. Now it has been completely shutdown, so it's really not worth making the trip out there. E Ticket is a cool trail in another part of mission trails, but it is short.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by scepticshock View Post
    The trail called 3 Barrels had been open until recently and it was a really cool climb and downhill. Now it has been completely shutdown, so it's really not worth making the trip out there. E Ticket is a cool trail in another part of mission trails, but it is short.
    Someone correct me if this is no longer accurate (got it from here).

    North of the 52, in Spring Canyon, you can ride up the first western side canyon on L1, then double back on "Slant" (the old side-hill trail on the east side of the canyon), and take a couple of shitty fall-line utility roads up to the ridge line road and north to the top of Mr. Toad's. If you don't go north of there, it should not trigger a ticket.

    At the bottom of Toad's, in Oak Canyon, going south should be OK even though you're on a sliver of MCAS property.

    Proceed at your own discretion.
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  17. #17
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    my understanding is nothing north of the 52 is legal. ride at your own risk.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by the one ring View Post
    Someone correct me if this is no longer accurate (got it from here).

    North of the 52, in Spring Canyon, you can ride up the first western side canyon on L1, then double back on "Slant" (the old side-hill trail on the east side of the canyon), and take a couple of shitty fall-line utility roads up to the ridge line road and north to the top of Mr. Toad's. If you don't go north of there, it should not trigger a ticket.

    At the bottom of Toad's, in Oak Canyon, going south should be OK even though you're on a sliver of MCAS property.

    Proceed at your own discretion.
    Before the proposed addition of the East Elliot area to MTRP, the actual MTRP boundary was located a little North of the 52. I've caught a lot of sh!t for suggesting one stay South of the 52, mainly from people with poor reading comprehension. With no marked boundary and a very good chance to trespass onto the Marine Base or unknowingly ride through endangered plant community, saying it's best to stay South of the 52 is not the same as saying the MTRP boundary is the 52.

    I'm very disappointed with the final approval of the MTRP Master Plan Update. This is just me.

    Lastly, I know (well, I believe I know) the intent of the suggestion that it "should" be ok to ride on a sliver of MCAS property. But it is not ok. Riding within MCAS Miramar is illegal everywhere other than the clearly defined Stowe Trail corridor.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    Before the proposed addition of the East Elliot area to MTRP, the actual MTRP boundary was located a little North of the 52. I've caught a lot of sh!t for suggesting one stay South of the 52, mainly from people with poor reading comprehension. With no marked boundary and a very good chance to trespass onto the Marine Base or unknowingly ride through endangered plant community, saying it's best to stay South of the 52 is not the same as saying the MTRP boundary is the 52.

    I'm very disappointed with the final approval of the MTRP Master Plan Update. This is just me.

    Lastly, I know (well, I believe I know) the intent of the suggestion that it "should" be ok to ride on a sliver of MCAS property. But it is not ok. Riding within MCAS Miramar is illegal everywhere other than the clearly defined Stowe Trail corridor.
    Even the "clearly defined" Stowe Trail corridor through MCAS Miramar requires one to get an annual permit to legally use it. I'm not sure what the consequences are for getting caught riding the trail without a permit if they happen to be out patrolling.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElTortoise View Post
    Even the "clearly defined" Stowe Trail corridor through MCAS Miramar requires one to get an annual permit to legally use it. I'm not sure what the consequences are for getting caught riding the trail without a permit if they happen to be out patrolling.
    Thank you Sir for adding this very important piece of information.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    Thank you Sir for adding this very important piece of information.
    You're welcome! I'd hate to see somebody possibly get hit with a federal trespassing rap and/or have their bike confiscated. Fortunately, they have now made this a reasonably quick and easy process. I just renewed mine and was in and out in less than a half hour.

    https://www.miramar.marines.mil/Resources/StoweTrail/

  22. #22
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    I added some description for this trailforks Black Mountain route, noting the fun descents, in case you are considering it:

    https://www.trailforks.com/route/bla...ill-and-lilac/

  23. #23
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    Just a quick follow up and thanks. I ended up renting on Tuesday afternoon and returning the bike Wednesday. I wanted to get a quick ride in on Tuesday after I grabbed the bike. With just a couple hours of daylight left they recommended Mission trails since I got could there quickly. I did a couple laps of eticket and it was a quick after work ride. I could see how you'd burn out on the area quickly, but no complaints for a quick ride. The next morning I hopped up and went to Laguna, climbed Pine Creek Rd and rode Noble Canyon down. That was a great ride if a little above my fitness/skill level.

    I appreciate the recommendations here, especially the one for Cal Coast which turned to be a great shop. They had maps and GPX files ready to get me riding, and a great selection of gear. Not used to seeing that kind of selection at any of my LBS.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    I avoid riding on Sunday in the city. I avoid riding Mission Trails Monday through Sunday.
    So you’re saying there’s a chance?






    Sorry a bit late to this party. OP, good to hear you got up to Noble. The gem of S.D. County.
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    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  25. #25
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    i've never actually ridden mission trails, i've heard some good and bad about it. My buddy wants to ride e ticket. Is that small loop worth it? This is for an after work kind of ride.

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