Wet Trails Rating

UPDATE: Since this page went live in 2008, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association liked this rating system well enough to use it as well.   While I will occasionally update this page, SDMBA has representatives all over the county and are in a much better position to stay on top of these ratings. 

SDMBA’s Wet Trail Ratings Page 

During the winter months, aka our rain season, there is usually a few questions about which trails can ridden after a sizable series of rain.    Please keep in mind our typical soils are not the type that handle sizable rains well.   So unlike the Pacific Northwest or the East Coast, the trails need time to dry out before we ride them.  Riding trails when they are too wet results in damage that can be noticed for months and sometime years.   We are blessed here in San Diego to be able to ride over 330+ days a year.   You can and should take the time during our rainy season to let our trails firm up after rains.

This is a non-inclusive list of some of the best and worst trails to ride after the rains in the San Diego area.

Here is the general 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.

Remember these are general rules for just a day of mild to moderate rain.   A few years back San Diego was pounded by rain for weeks and the ground was so saturated that nothing was okay to ride for weeks.

Here are just a few of the trails
North County
Calvera Lake – 5
Daley Ranch – 1 on the Fireroads, 3 on the singletracks
Elfin Forest – 2
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) – 4

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

Some basic “rules” about San Diego riding after rains are:
– Give the trails its 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.  Going around puddles only makes the trail wider.
– Stream crossing – even a small fast moving stream can be very powerful and dangerous.

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