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  1. #1
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    New question here. San Diego Wet Trail Ratings

    Sometime during this time of year, there is usually a few questions about which trails can ridden when after a rain. So I'm planning on putting together a list on my site of the best and worst trails to ride after what rains we do get here in the San Diego area.

    Here is what I'm thinking of for a rating system.
    1 - Could ride there in rain or the day after.
    2-5 - Two to five days
    6-7 - About a week
    8-9 - More than a week upwards to three weeks
    10 - Place is a wreak after a rain, can take more three weeks to dry out enough so riding on it will not trash it.


    Here are the trails I'm looking at (Most on my site)
    North County
    ----------------
    Calvera Lake - 5
    Daley Ranch - 3
    Elfin Forest - 3
    Flightline - 4
    Lake Hodges - Northside -7
    Lake Hodges - Southside - 7
    Nate Harrision Grade - 2 -
    Santa Margarita River Trail - 2 - Mostly sandy trails that are best after a good rain packdown.
    Tenaja Truck Trail - 2

    Mission Trails - 4
    Cowles and Pyles Peak -
    Spring and Oak Canyon
    Penasquitos Canyon - Most Trails - 5
    Del Mar Mesa - 7 - Place gets some of that sticky clay that will freeze up your tires
    Sweetwater - 10 - Probably the worst area in San Diego. Give it a freaking month.
    Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch - North End - 4, South End - 8
    TriCanyons Area (Rose, San Clemente, Tecolate)

    East County
    Anderson Truck Trail - 1 - Probably the best in area for after rain riding
    Black Mountain in Ramona - 4
    Cuyamacas
    Lake Morena
    Laguna Mountains/BLT - 6
    Indian Creek - 3
    Noble Canyon -3
    Oriflamme Canyon -4


    This would also be a good time to gather up some "rules" about San Diego riding after rains. Like:
    - Give the trails it due time.
    - Use your brakes wisely, Don't be a Skidiot!
    - Ride through any puddles not around it. If you don't like getting dirty, get a road bike.
    - Stream crossing - even a small fast moving stream can be very powerful and dangerous.

    Your Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I've seen other rules that take into account the amount of rain. It can work for general areas but hard to do for mountains because of the dumping that occurs on the Western slopes, sometimes 3 inches when the foothills get a quarter-inch.

    -- good start ..

  3. #3
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    PQ Canyon should be chalked up with Sweetwater. The clay-based trails are nasty there after a moderate downpour let alone what happened this weekend. I am very sure the rangers there will agree with the 10 rating.

    As far as Noble is concerned it maybe a 2 or 1 up there. The rain usually is soaked up nicely for great traction... it is prime right after a good rain.

    my two cents

  4. #4
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    You always have to be careful with these kinds of lists; some people take list as the gospel. I would recommend having a disclaimer at the top of the list, something like, Always use your best judgment, if a trail looks muddy stay of the trails and when in doubt, call the parks land manager for the current trail conditions and closures, link to San Diego land Managers http://www.sdmba.com/links.cfm or if you can’t get in touch with a land manager, email a SDMBA Liaison, link to SDMBA Liaisons http://www.sdmba.com/contact.cfm
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by esoteric
    PQ Canyon should be chalked up with Sweetwater. The clay-based trails are nasty there after a moderate downpour let alone what happened this weekend. I am very sure the rangers there will agree with the 10 rating.

    As far as Noble is concerned it maybe a 2 or 1 up there. The rain usually is soaked up nicely for great traction... it is prime right after a good rain.

    my two cents
    I agree with esoteric, Penasquitos should be a 10

    Last edited by TCB; 03-12-2006 at 12:59 PM.
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  6. #6
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    LOL nice pic... photoshoppy but good anyway.

  7. #7
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    for PQ at least

    Quote Originally Posted by TCB
    You always have to be careful with these kinds of lists; some people take list as the gospel. I would recommend having a disclaimer at the top of the list, something like, Always use your best judgment, if a trail looks muddy stay of the trails and when in doubt, call the parks land manager for the current trail conditions and closures, link to San Diego land Managers http://www.sdmba.com/links.cfm or if you can’t get in touch with a land manager, email a SDMBA Liaison, link to SDMBA Liaisons http://www.sdmba.com/contact.cfm
    they keep the trailheads well marked with current status (open/closed) of the park. Not sure if other places do it though.

    YR

  8. #8
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    Black Mountain in PQ

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbill
    Sometime during this time of year, there is usually a few questions about which trails can ridden when after a rain. So I'm planning on putting together a list on my site of the best and worst trails to ride after what rains we do get here in the San Diego area.

    Here is what I'm thinking of for a rating system.
    1 - Could ride there in rain or the day after.
    2-5 - Two to five days
    6-7 - About a week
    8-9 - More than a week upwards to three weeks
    10 - Place is a wreak after a rain, can take more three weeks to dry out enough so riding on it will not trash it.


    Your Thoughts?
    I'd rate it a 4. the main FR seems to shed the water reasonably well so worst case is youc an go up to the top and back down taking one of the ST diversions. Not sure how Miner's ridge would be after a rain though. my gut tells me it should be pretty good but I've never been out there close to a rain to tell.

    YR

  9. #9
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    I agree with the others. A disclaimer of some kind at the top would be a good idea.

    I agree with your rating of most of the trails, with the exception of the Santa Margarita River Trail--that should be a 1 at most. My parents live on the trail and I ride it several times a week. With the amount of sand there and the drainage, it is almost in better shape immediately after a good rain than after several months without any.
    I hope you have a big trunk... 'cuz I'm puttin' my bike in it.

  10. #10
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    Cowles Mtn./Pyle's Peak - 1 - Rode there today after our big rains and the trail was in amazing shape with maybe 1 small section of mud a 100 yards from the trailhead. I've also ridden the trail in a downpour (not intentionally) and the trail was in excellent shape.

  11. #11
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    Nice idea for a post Bill. I'd agree with most of those. The only one that stands out to me is Daley Ranch. I'd move it to a 1 or 2. I rode there today (Sun 3/12 p.m.) and the trail conditions were perfect even after the rain we had on Fri and Sat. Soil was slightly tacky with only a couple small puddles. By the way, thanks for all the great work you do with your website. I personally think it's the best reference for trails in our area.

  12. #12
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    Oh dear lord! I rode Calaveras a day after a hard rain several months ago and it was miserable. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't mud but the excrement of the devil himself... That's the most slippery, stick to every part of your bike, heinous mud I've ever seen...
    cycle tracks will abound in utopia.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by coma13
    Oh dear lord! I rode Calaveras a day after a hard rain several months ago and it was miserable. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't mud but the excrement of the devil himself... That's the most slippery, stick to every part of your bike, heinous mud I've ever seen...

    Flightline is even worse, I try to ride there yesterday and my wheels and drivetrain would just pack with clunks of wet clay. Give it at least two week to dry out.

  14. #14

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    Cool idea about a rating system. A couple things to consider . . .

    • It's hard to set a hard date 'after the rain' because 'rain' could mean a drizzle or downpour. Might be better to make the ratings relative to each other and not to a number of days. Like 1 does best, 10 does worst - no days involved.
    • Some spots on a trail may do well after rain and some spots may not do so well.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LBmtb
    Cool idea about a rating system. A couple things to consider . . .

    • It's hard to set a hard date 'after the rain' because 'rain' could mean a drizzle or downpour. Might be better to make the ratings relative to each other and not to a number of days. Like 1 does best, 10 does worst - no days involved.
    • Some spots on a trail may do well after rain and some spots may not do so well.
    I think I'll state that the ratings is based on a "good" rain. If I base it off of our seasonal prolonged rains then people will most likely think, "Hey it only rained for a couple of days I should be good to go at....." I rather over estimate the drying time thatn underestimate it.

    The ratings will be relative to one another so hopefully people with some after-rain knowledge ffor thier "local" ride, so they can have an idea on how the other trails correspond.

  16. #16
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    Really good idea to go along with a really good website. Now if we can only get it for all of SoCal.
    I'm not asking you Bill, just thought we may be able to get it done up this way too.
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  17. #17
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    I rode Flightline today and the trails are in great condition. No puddles and good traction.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by REIGN 2
    I rode Flightline today and the trails are in great condition. No puddles and good traction.
    Thanks, now I'll have to carry a big can of kook repellent.

    Glad there is some rain forcasted for the weekend.

  19. #19
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    Ride thru the puddles? Wont that just cup the trail more and make it puddle worse the next time?


    .

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottay
    Ride thru the puddles? Wont that just cup the trail more and make it puddle worse the next time?


    .

    Maybe, but that is far better than widening the trail. Run straight down the middle, and you will usually find the best traction, also.


    miles
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottay
    Ride thru the puddles? Wont that just cup the trail more and make it puddle worse the next time?
    Assuming the puddle covers the width of the trail (think singletrack in particular), then riding around it widens the trail. If there's soft area on the edge that isn't puddle but still is at the very edge of the trail, riding on that still tends to push the trail wider over time and/or pushes it down until it's part of the puddle - then more people ride around *that* and widen the trail.

    Riding through standing water seems to leave less of a mark than riding through mud although I accept that might not apply everywhere.

    If there's plenty of dry ground to either side of the puddle thats still part of the trail, then I guess I'd agree w/you that the dry line leave less of a mark (but of course it make you less of a man - ha ha jk).
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  22. #22
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    Black Mountain PQ

    To elaborate on this trail, the main FR on the west side can be ridden in the rain, as it's a lot of rock and gravel. The lower portion gets a few puddles, but they're easily avoidable.

    As for Miner's Ridge down the backside, I would give it at least 3 days after a good soaking. The soil is okay, but it's shady (north side) and has some soft spots.

    The trail that runs up through Santa Luz to the new Black Mtn. park ball fields can't be ridden for at least a week, as it's thick, sticky stuff when it rains. I've learned the hard way. At least 7 days. Trust me.

  23. #23
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    Florida Canyon/Balboa Park

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbill
    Here is what I'm thinking of for a rating system.
    1 - Could ride there in rain or the day after.
    2-5 - Two to five days
    6-7 - About a week
    8-9 - More than a week upwards to three weeks
    10 - Place is a wreak after a rain, can take more three weeks to dry out enough so riding on it will not trash it.
    Rode the trails this afternoon. Excellent, dry conditions. I'd rate Florida Canyon a 1

  24. #24
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    ?? Is this due to experience in say.....

    Quote Originally Posted by miles
    Maybe, but that is far better than widening the trail. Run straight down the middle, and you will usually find the best traction, also.


    miles
    ...the Willamette Valley perhaps?? - where we know these things very well. Are you that Miles?

    Flaps/Tim

  25. #25
    Its only 1" on the map!
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    It is that time of year when the wet trail questions come. Why start a new thread when you can rehash an old one. :-)

  26. #26
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    If you've got the suspension I would rate Iron Mountain a 2. I would rate it a 1 if the first flat part wasn't included. That can get rather muddy in the beginning. But after that it is all rock and dg. Water just sheds off the top.

  27. #27
    Its only 1" on the map!
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    It's that time of year again. Rain in San Diego and the annual bump of this tread.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbill
    It's that time of year again. Rain in San Diego and the annual bump of this tread.
    The ground must have been bone dry. We went for a hike in Calavera this AM minutes after the rain ended and the trails were great. A few bikes passed us and barely left a track.

  29. #29
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    bump

  30. #30

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    more like poop.

  31. #31
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    more trails

    Jacumba, Valley of the Moon area: 1
    Jacumba, Table Top Mountain area: 3
    Los Coches Rd to Crest area: 2 (rode it this morning)
    Rose Canyon: 5
    San Clemente Canyon: 5
    Lake Poway: 2
    Spring Canyon: 3
    Sycamore Canyon: 3
    Anywhere in Anza Borrego State Park: 1-2

  32. #32
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    In light of the recent rainstorm....BUMP

  33. #33
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    Bump.

  34. #34
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    bump

  35. #35
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    Los Penasquitos is clayey soils and high water tables, making it an 8-10 on the rain ratings -- long, long time to wait after big rains like these. It is what it is... take care of it.

  36. #36
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    24 hour rain totals:
    Palomar reported this morning at 8.9"
    Mt Laguna 3.45"
    Cuyamaca lake 4.85"
    Mt Woodson 4.10"
    Deer Springs (Daley Ranch) 3.51"
    Santee 2.12 (Martha's)

    Lot's more coming in tonight...
    Data from: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/data/hydro/LAXRRMSAN
    It wasn't me

  37. #37
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    Santa Margarita River this morning:


  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by random walk
    Santa Margarita River this morning:

    At what area of the river was this photo taken?
    I hope you have a big trunk... 'cuz I'm puttin' my bike in it.

  39. #39
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    Oak Canyon, Santee

    It wasn't me

  40. #40
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    That doesn't look too bad, I think I will put the mud tires on and hit it up!!!

    That is an awesome picture by the way, I know where that is and that is some pretty deep water

  41. #41
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    Our rain gauge in Allied Gardens as of today (starting Sunday morning).

    7.75 inches.... no sheet!

  42. #42
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    Santa Margarita River in Fallbrook....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails San Diego Wet Trail Ratings-santamargaritaflooding.jpg  

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  43. #43
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    ... and if we just ...

    Might go for a little walk over at TW this evening, I'll post up the conditions. Regardless, when the moisture gives in a little, the trails will be awesome.
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  44. #44
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    At this rate, don't plan on any trail being ready to ride until the new year.
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  45. #45
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    I'm just up the hill from PQ Canyon. We got 7.3"
    since this rain started. PQ canyon is flooded to
    the max. It will be a long time before it will be
    rideable again.

    Best, John

  46. #46
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    Yep, keywords for any riding area about now are "Canyon". PQ, Sycamore, etc. they will be OTS for awhile. Gotta go to the hills for riding sooner.
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  47. #47
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    What are your thoughts on the San Juan Trail? Looking to go up Sunday mabey just wanted to know what chance I had.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by yz125
    What are your thoughts on the San Juan Trail? Looking to go up Sunday mabey just wanted to know what chance I had.
    Ortega Highway 74, the access to SJT, is closed due to a mudslide.

  49. #49
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    Took a gander down to the dam and crossing at Mission Trails to see how bad it was last night. Holy crap....I was helping the ranger remove all the busted up trees that were blocking the creek crossing before the dam. Water was raging almost half way up to the road at one point. 10' higher than our biggest storm that i can remember

    Can't imagine it being rideable for at least another week after this next storm rolls through tonight. Looks like about 10 tracks about 4 inches deep tried mudboging up towards the 52. Can't wait for the rock hard bobsled tracks next week when its nice and dry. With any luck, someone will find these yahoos sometime next week still impaled in the goo!

  50. #50
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    Rode Oriflamme/Rodriguez Sunday on my 29 HT. Stellar top to bottom and back up again. The only condition I can imagine that would make this ride suck is snow and heat. Oriflamme is pretty beat up with rock debris and some washout but that's what makes it a great ride. Rates a 0 or 1 on the dryout scale IMO

  51. #51
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    Ortega Highway 74, the access to SJT, is closed due to a mudslide.
    Ok thanks, glad I didn't try that! What do you think about Noble? probably the same story though....

  52. #52
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    Ortega Highway 74, the access to SJT, is closed due to a mudslide.
    Ok thanks,glad I didnt't try that! What about Noble, probably the same story though...

  53. #53
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    anybody know the conditions of daley ranch. i have today off and would love to ride. any info would help thank you

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by blumena84
    anybody know the conditions of daley ranch. i have today off and would love to ride. any info would help thank you

    I would bet that daley is a mess. Lots of fireroads that hold water. Go to TW.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fltplan
    I would bet that daley is a mess. Lots of fireroads that hold water. Go to TW.


    What is "TW"? (looking for a weekend ride and today's rains are not helping!

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by woster
    What is "TW"? (looking for a weekend ride and today's rains are not helping!

    Ted Williams. Good xcountry trails with a fair amount of climbing and descending.
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  57. #57
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    Daley Ranch will need weeks to dry out. There's water in places I have never seen it before. It's official: people can stop saying "Daley holds up well in the rain".

    Unfortunately, a certain user group is continually oblivious to the destruction they cause to the trail. My pics from Daley yesterday:

    This first pic is great proof--bike tracks and horse tracks side-by-side for comparison.








    The entire trail (Caballo Trail) was like this. Some sections were much worse.



    Also--this is a good read. We all know this, but a good read just the same:
    https://www.americantrails.org/resou...enImpacts.html
    I hope you have a big trunk... 'cuz I'm puttin' my bike in it.

  58. #58
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    With the amount of rain we have had again today I would say just about everything is jacked for at least 3 days. Hodges recovers quickly, PQ will be closed for weeks although the equestrians will ignore the closures. I already spotted 2 horses heading up towards the top of the mesa yesterday. They love to head out after the rain because they know there will be fewer bikers and hikers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmangts
    With the amount of rain we have had again today I would say just about everything is jacked for at least 3 days. Hodges recovers quickly, PQ will be closed for weeks although the equestrians will ignore the closures. I already spotted 2 horses heading up towards the top of the mesa yesterday. They love to head out after the rain because they know there will be fewer bikers and hikers.

    Agreed, this will put us all back to square one with the rain today. Trails were already saturated underneath, just starting to dry out on top. Maybe this weekend will be okay to ride. We definitely need the rain, on the other side of things.

    Funny about the horses, well not really, but you're right about them wanting to avoid the others on the trail.
    15' Turner Flux
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  60. #60
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    well being that im new mtbin and i just got my first bike yesterday... im going to calvera lake and go get muddy hahaha wish me luck

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSDuke
    Daley Ranch will need weeks to dry out. There's water in places I have never seen it before. It's official: people can stop saying "Daley holds up well in the rain".

    Unfortunately, a certain user group is continually oblivious to the destruction they cause to the trail. My pics from Daley yesterday:

    This first pic is great proof--bike tracks and horse tracks side-by-side for comparison.








    The entire trail (Caballo Trail) was like this. Some sections were much worse.



    Also--this is a good read. We all know this, but a good read just the same:
    https://www.americantrails.org/resou...enImpacts.html
    The bike tracks do not look bad, I see no real damage from the bikes. It is the horses that did the damage in my opinion.

  62. #62
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    Rode Ted Willaims again today. It's rideable without doing damage to the trails. You have to be creative at the entry point by Meadowbrook, as it's the runoff point for most of the East side of the hill.
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    Anybody ride PQ canyon the secret section that shall not be named or black mountain (minors ridge loop) recently post rain? Thinking about starting the new year with a ride?

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    PQ is closed and will be for quite
    a while. It was flooded bad and parts
    are still underwater.

    Best, John

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhynohead
    Anybody ride PQ canyon the secret section that shall not be named or black mountain (minors ridge loop) recently post rain? Thinking about starting the new year with a ride?
    Miner's Loop should be fine to ride, as is most of the mountain. I'd be cautious on any steep fall line section as they'll be new water erosion ruts that could catch you out.

    I've brushed the side of the trail to create dry lines around the soggy sections on Nighthawk. Please use these and stay out of the mud as your tire tracks will harden like cement and become damn near permanent.

  66. #66
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    Thanks for the heads up. Guess I'll check out BM. Happy new years!

  67. #67
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    The bottom sections of La Costa are still too wet also.

  68. #68
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    we rode lake morena on saturday and it was pretty awesome, just a few puddles to maneuver.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by S:Drive
    The bike tracks do not look bad, I see no real damage from the bikes. It is the horses that did the damage in my opinion.
    Umm, ya. That was my point.
    I hope you have a big trunk... 'cuz I'm puttin' my bike in it.

  70. #70
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    Sweetwater on Sunday looking towards the 125.

    A lot of the singletrack was the same towards the beginning.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails San Diego Wet Trail Ratings-sweetwaterresized.jpg  


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