I have an ongoing project of personally surveying the California Riding and Hiking Trail throughout San Diego County. I have a page up on my site with an interactive map of San Diego’s counties’ GIS data on where the trail is/supposed to be. I have been adding my notes on the actual placement and status of the various trail sections. You have to point and click to see much of the pop-up data, comments and some pictures. Its pretty much my online notes. Last month after doing a ride out in the Cuyamaca Mountains I took the long way home that included some of the further out bit sections I had not looked at yet. The first stop was to drive up to Julian and down Banner grade road to pick up the Chariot Canyon truck trail and then over to Rodriguez Canyon. This is part of the Oriflamme Canyon loop route that I describe on my site.
What I was looking for was the CRHT north of the Rodriguez Canyon truck trail. I found it but is was not where the county GIS data said it was. It was actually about a 1/10th of a mile west. It appears that at some point in the past the trail was rerouted to avoid going through private just to the east the current actual trail. The trail has seen little use but it well defined single track. Once it rejoins the original track it looks to be an old fire road from my visual from across the ridge.
The section of the CRHT just north of Rodriguez Canyon Truck Trail.
Next I made my way back to Banner and then down into San Felipe Valley to scout where the trail crosses Banner Grade Road. This area is part of the San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area managed by the CA Department of Fencing Fish and Wildlife. This wildlife area encompasses around 17,800 acres. The CDFW has established that the only appropriate recreation activity out here is wildlife viewing by foot traffic only, shooting the heads of quail and killing deer. Evidently there is no room for equestrians or mountain biking to enjoy the historic CRHT that passes through this area.
I was able to find the trail south of Banner Grade Road but it is getting a hard to follow. The CRHT crosses Banner Grade road and proceeds across the valley on one of the dirt ranch roads. I did find a wood CRHT makers just north of the Banner grade road and just south of the ranch road. (Its at CRHT-142A if you are following along with my CRHT page.)
I then drove down to Scissor’s Crossing and went up San Felipe Road (County Road S2) to pickup the CRHT where it intersects this road. I did find a post that should be a CRHT marker based on its location but the top of the post had been cut off so there was no distinctive yellow painted “cap” on the post. This side of the property had a CDFW Wildlife area “No Trespassing” signage. So even if you wanted to enjoy the CRHT as a hiker you would have a perplexing problem of you could enter from the south but somewhere along your northward journey you would be trespassing. Along the north side of San Felipe Road, I quickly found CRHT marker posts paralleling the road.
These posts were typically about 30-50 feet north of the road. There had been a wildfire through here some time ago and I was having a tough time picking up and following the trail. This section is also part of the San Felipe Wildlife area with the same foot traffic only or no trespassing access management scheme. After about a couple of miles of heading northwest along the road I was unable to find any more posts.
A few more mile up the road I started seeing the newer style CRHT markers right of the side of the road and those continued at quite regularly until where the CRHT turn away from San Felipe Road (This is at CRHT-161A on my map) and heads up an old dirt road. I believe this trail starts off as an easement through a bit of private property as it is well signed and easy to follow. I did not proceed much further up the trail from there. I will have to assess those bits further north at some other time. The next significant road crossing is supposed to be near the junction San Felipe Road and Montezuma Valley road (County Road S22). On a previous outing I had looked for the trail in this area but came up empty. I came up all blanks this time as well from the truck. Next time I’ll be out with the bike and explore in from the south were I know the trail exists. I have done the trail north of the road junction before out through Warner Springs so that was it for this recon outing.
While I still have some miles left to look at in the county and I have not crunched the numbers yet, there is a convergence of threats for this trail developing. It looks like the number one threat for public access and preservation of the CRHT in San Diego County is the California State public land management agencies. Let that ruminate in your melon for a while!
Last week on my way up to Mammoth Mountain for some chairlift-assisted mountain biking I met up with Dave and Michael for a run down the Lower Rock Creek trail on my way into town. We met up at the lower trailhead and then made our way to the top for some great riding back down the trail. I had so much fun that I did not take any pictures. You will have to take a look at last year’s post for some pictures. Michael did snap a few pictures and one of those is below. I was however running a video camera. A fire came through this area back on August 5th that burned 122 acres. Now wildfires are pretty common but the cause of this one was interesting. The USFS has determined that fire was caused by a mountain bike pedal strike against a rock. I’m not one to argue on this one, plenty of pedals have steel bits that can create a spark if struck against the right stuff in the right way. Whatever your thoughts here is a clip of us rolling through the burn area.
Here are a few links to articles and forum post on this fire.
This past Saturday I went out to the Cuyamaca mountains to check out the new(ish)ly rerouted Cold Springs Trail. I started out at the Sweetwater trailhead/parking lot and took the West Side singletrack up to the connector to the Park Vistor Center. From there I turned from usual route and took the Cold Stream Trail north.
The trail was pretty featureless but pretty through here until it got to a big oak tree on the edge of the meadow right at the junction with the singletrack connector trail over to the Green Valley Fireroad.
The meadow must be the typical “tour” turn around point from the visitor center as the Cold Stream trail immediately became must more narrow and interesting beyond that point.
I had not been on this section of the Cold Stream trail before and I have to say this was a nice bit of trail.
While stopping to check out this little spot.
I had some locals come through. There was somewhere between two and four of them. It was hard to tell with them zipping in and out.
Shortly after this spot I went by several junction. The first was the connector over to the West Mesa parking area and the second was the junction of the Cold Stream Trail and the Cold Springs Trail. The Cold Stream trail north of her was marked “No Bikes” but the route for today was the Cold Springs trail. Pictured above is some the trail goodness along the Cold Springs trail.
The original Cold Springs Trail was 1.2 miles, not open to bikes and was a pretty heinous hike. The new trail is 2.25 miles long and connects with much further up the Stonewall Creek fire road than its predecessor. This is a most excellent replacement/reroute of the old trail. I climbed the last bit of Stonewall Creek fire road and the at the junction with Soapstone Grade fire road I hung a right (east). Just before I would have to drop down the grade into Green Valley I hung a left (north) onto the California Riding and Hiking Trail.
That Oak tree in the middle of the picture on he meadow ridgeline was my destination for the day.
I refer to this group of trees as “The Napping Oaks” because you take a break here, you may find yourself doing just that.
A wider view of today’s turn around spot.
While kicking back here I heard some thunder and looking over my shoulder I see that some storm clouds had developed or moved in just on the other side of the ridgeline. Rain was not on agenda today so I thought it was pretty cool to have a little bit of weather with me on the ride. No rain ever materialized but it was not long before got rolling again. I pretty much retraced my path back the way I came all the way to the West Mesa parking lot connector where I crossed the road and picked up the West Side trail and took it south back to the Sweetwater parking lot. I was a great day to be out enjoying some trails. I spent the rest of the day doing some recon work with the truck for some of the beleaguered and neglected sections of the CRHT out in this area of the county. But that is another story…
It was mighty nice to get back up in the mountains near Big Bear again. Outside of the my recent ride in Flagstaff, it has been months since I had been out for a decent ride. This was just what the doctor ordered.
Ali, Bill and I started off on the Sugarloaf Trail and I was quickly reminded that the main muscle that I had been working out as of late has been my beer drinking arm. 9,000 feet of elevation and loose semi-chunky climbing soon found me gasping on the side of the trail barely able to see let alone breath. That kind of punishment was exactly what I needed. I had been a bad bad lard ass and I deserved to be punished. While it was not that far, it seemed like a long way before we hooked up with the loose chunky Sugarloaf connector down to the Wildhorse Trail.
Ali rolling through the ferns at the upper end of the Wildhorse trail.
Looking down along a part of the Santa Ana River watershed area from the Wildhorse trail.
Bill zipping by
Ali cruising through
Besides a bit of Where’s Waldo action, you can see a good bit of the impact of last year’s Lake Fire that came through the area. After finishing off the Wildhorse trail we did a bit of road cruising to the South Fork campground and hooked up with the Santa Ana River Trail for some more single track goodness. The SART was in just about as good of a shape as I can remember for this time of year.
Clowning around on the SART.
As usual good post-ride refreshments, grub and general shat talking ensued at the bottom. A great day to be out in the dirt!
My work projects in Bahrain finally got to a point to where I could come home for a few weeks. Combined our schedules have been kinda nuts lately which included Nichol needing to move a vehicle across the country. I was able to swing my schedules around to allow for a few days at home before getting back on a plane to the east coast. There I would join Nichol for the country drive that started in Norfolk VA.
Day 1 was spent taking care of business in Norfolk before heading off to my folks place in North Carolina. Along with a great visit, my Dad cooked up some of the best pulled pork BBQ I have ever had. On the evening of Day 2 we pulled into Asheville NC. We spent the evening enjoying some of the tasty microbrew scene along the Asheville Ale Trail that included Burial Beer and Wicked Weed Brewing. Not that we had much of a plan to ride here but any thoughts of that were pretty much washed away with all of the thunderstorms they were having with more planned for the following day. Day 3 we made our way to Little Rock Arkansas where we enjoyed some more tasty beers at Lost Forty Brewing before hopping into a hotel for the evening. The next day we made our way Albuquerque NM for tastings from Ponderosa Brewing. Yes, why yes we were making exceptional time! Don’t worry we left no contrails.
The following day we made a rather quick jaunt over to Flagstaff. We had made arrangements for some rentals bikes from Cosmic Cycles. I must stay they some really good rentals at a very reasonable rate for what we got. If we would have been super on our game we could have gotten out for late afternoon ride, but we somehow managed to find ourselves enjoying some tasty grub and beer at Flagstaff Brewing Co while we planned out what the ride was going to be the following day.
The route we were going to do was a sampling of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. I had ridden this section of trail back in summer of 2010 and figured this would be a great intro to the countryside of Flagstaff for Nichol. We parked at the trailhead along Forest Service Road 418 and took the forest service roads back south along the bottom of Hart Prairie before catching trail that took us up near Aspens Corner and the junction with the Arizona Trail.
Working our way up to Aspens Corner
The connector trail up to Aspens Corner passes by a nice little pond. This views did not suck
Once on the AZT we were treated to a mix of single track goodness through stands of Aspens
Views from Hart Prairie
Stands of Pines
A ferns that were sometimes head high. The last few miles along this route were just “La La La La La” singletrack awesomeness that required very little pedaling and very little breaking as you swooped through pines, aspens, ferns, wildflowers etc…. all the way back to the trailhead.
We enjoyed some tasty Asheville goodness we brought with us for a post-ride refreshment at the trailhead.
And what a great place to enjoy a tasty post-ride beer. This was our view next to the truck. By the end of the day we would make our way to Las Vegas where we delivered and the truck and other move related goods. The following day made our way back home.
This will not surprise those of you who have been following the ongoing access issue to Sycamore Canyon in the San Diego Area. Access to the Sycamore from the south continues to be problematic Part of the long standing trail network linking the Mast/Media area of the Santee Lakes to the southern entrance of Sycamore Canyon crosses over MCAS Miramar land known as East Elliott. For decades there has been little concern over this access route but in the last couple of years the access has been of more concern for the USMC. Here is a blog post from the SDMBA on latest round of enforcement that includes the confiscation of bikes. Below is a map that is been floating around on social media. I kind of like my bikes so I would recommend avoid those trails that cross onto the USMC land. There are other option in the area. Options I can’t post of my site, but a quick strava search should give you some things to think about 😉
Wow, I have been away from the BLOG for way too long. Between work being….well…WORK and a ton of other life things I have been away from the keyboard. The 401 trail is thoroughly covered in snow right now but I finally finishing off my pictures and notes from the fall Colorado trip.
I spent a few days in Crested Butte and got in a couple of great rides. One of those was the 401 Trail.