Hit the Road with Two Wheels

Published Friday, November 4th, 2011 by Jessica Petrencsik

With its rolling hills and reputation for sunshine and warm breezes, Escondido is the perfect place to spend a few hours on a bike. Beautiful scenery enhances a road ride and provides the right blend of rock gardens and single track for those who prefer cross country. Here are a few of our favorite locations:

Escondido Creek Trail: Road

For a leisurely (10mph max) ride or family outing, try biking along the Escondido Creek. The mostly enclosed asphalt-paved trail is safe and flat. The only challenge is found when traversing busy crossroads. While there are numerous ways to access the path, perhaps the easiest is entering at the eastern-most point at Beven Drive near the Humane Society and Mayflower Dog Park.  From here you can ride west to Grape Day Park, approximately 8 miles. The western section,  accessible from the parking lot at the Escondido Transit Center, heads west for about two miles where it ends at Harmony Grove Rd. The views include creek flora and ducks, backyard gardens, an industrial section, and a variety of homes that line the path.

We can't help mentioning the conservation efforts and Reveal the Creek project that are under discussion currently. If you enjoy the ride, check out revealthecreek.com and escondidocreek.org for more information.

Ride to Ramona: Road

This route is not for the faint of heart, but it is incredibly fun. Forty miles of steep climbs and fast downhills take you through the San Pasqual and Highland Valleys and up the hill to Ramona. From Grand Ave in downtown Escondido, you can get to Pomerado Road by way of Juniper to Sunset to Bear Valley. Hang a left at the Chevron station in order to go under the 15 and across the pedestrian bridge. Once on Pomerado, make a left on Highland Valley Rd. and take it to the 67 all the way into Ramona. For the ride back, take the 78 into Escondido, passing the Safari Park. While in Ramona, it is wise to stop for a drink or snack — so stash a few dollars in your pocket!

The Inland Rail Trail: Road

We have not yet ridden this one, but intend to soon. Catch the rail trail across the creek from the Escondido Transit Center. This two-laned, paved path goes for six miles into San Marcos, following the Sprinter line. Eventually it will be extended to 22 miles allowing riders to go from Escondido to Oceanside.

Lake Hodges: Cross Country

With fast, single track along the water's edge and steep rock gardens overhanging the lake, Hodges offers options for both beginning and intermediate riders. There are multiple entry points: Sunset Drive (across from Westfield Shopping Center and near the I-15 bridge) has parking and a trailhead. Parking can also be found near the dam off Del Dios Highway and at the bottom of Lake Drive. If you wish to start on the south side and cross the suspension bridge, one trailhead begins at Poblado Rd. between Smoke Signal Dr. and Moonsong Ct. in Rancho Bernardo. The ride from Poblado Rd. to the dam and back is 20 miles (see article and map on curbyourhorse.com). Keep your eye out for the mythical water monster named Hodgee (hodgee.com). More trail information and maps can be found on sdrp.org.

Daley Ranch: Cross Country

Over 3,000 acres of beauty and 20 miles of trails await the xc rider at the ranch. From the main entrance at the La Honda parking lot, you can access some of our favorite trails by heading up the asphalt road:  Burnt Mountain, Bobcat, and Crest. Be prepared for steep climbs, rocky fire roads, and fun downhill single track. The back entrance at Cougar Pass Road (which is challenging to find) takes you through the least used, and most breathtaking, part of the park. It also provides closer access to Bobcat. Enjoy the views — you can see the ocean atop some crests! View a trail map on the City's website...

Elfin Forest: Cross Country

The Elfin Forest 800-acre reserve includes a section of the Escondido Creek, an oak valley, and several ridges (one of which provides a view of Lake Hodges). The 10 miles of trails available for mountain biking feature a challenging technical climb. Scenery is lovely with a view of the Olivenhain reservoir and lots of flowers in the spring.  At the entrance on Harmony Grove Road, you will find a parking lot, restrooms, and water.  A good description of the area, with maps, can be found on whereweride.com.

Feeling inspired? Then dust off your helmet, tune up your bike, and hit the trails for a ride! Or, share some of your biking favorites here:

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