Los Peńasquitos Canyon
San Diego, CA
There are several trailheads and staging areas, but I will list my favorite: Elizabeth Rabbit Neighborhood Park. This park is brand new. It has two large flat paved handiman spots, running water bathrooms and a drinking fountain. It provides easy access to Cobbles (aMTB2), Carmel Mountain Road Path (aMTB1) and the Preserve Path (aMTB1). For a staging area near the East Trailhead off Black Mountain Rd, see my PQ Canyon aMTB1 Safe Solo Loop. There is also a large staging area with an accessible ports potty at the southwestern Sorrento Valley Trailhead.
AMTB1 TRAILS - No Obstacles Exist
Bow Tie Rim - Singletrack and gets very narrow along nature preserve fence, but mostly flat and majority of aMTB’s will be fine
Carmel Mountain Path - Multi-use horse path
Carsons Crossing - Narrow bridge 36”
Cobbles - Technically singletack. Narrows. Expect to pick your way through a few spots
Delmar Mesa Rd Bypass - Multi-use community pathway
Del Vino Climb - Gate with ride around to the left. Usually muddy water crossing. Steep paved climb
Del Vino Path - Multi-use community pathway
DMM Ranch Horse Park - Easiest climb. Can be sandy. Yield to horses.
Little Berms - Fun bermy DH trail. Exercise caution to ensure you are on correct trail. Many offshoot BMX trails in the area are impassable for aMTB
Little McGonigle Ranch Path - Mutli-use community pathway
Lopez Canyon - Very fun DH. Very rutted. High hiker traffic on weekdays. Trail head has no curb cutout
North Fork Peńasquitos - Where trail passes under 56 is a little tricky but most likely fine
North Rim - This is a little narrow but flat and no camber. Might scrub the brush a little.
North Side Trail - East - Fire road/Double track. Becomes aMTB2 with obstacles west of Two Bridges
Powerlines - All fire road
Preserve Path - Multi-use community pathway
Rancho Toyon Path - Multi-use community pathway
Santa Monica Ridge Connector - Fire road. Very steep loose climb
Sorrento Valley Connector - Gate with ride around. Some ruts
South Side Trail - Six miles of all fire road. East end gets sandy.
Tunnels Road - All fire road. Cardiac Hill is stupid steep with loose rocks
Vista Lugo Path - Multi-use community pathway
Wagon Wheel Crossing - At first I had this rated aMTB2 because of an awkward approach and steep ramp from the north side, but majority of aMTB riders will be fine. Bridge is a little narrow. Approach can get very muddy
Waimea Fire Road - VERY steep DH but all fire road. Some big ruts
AMTB2 Trails - some Obstacles Exist - Support Rider Recommended
Carmel Country Connector - Chain gate that could possibly cause a problem for solo rider
Carmel Mtn Psychopath - Singletrack with narrow camber
East Deer Canyon - Ride around at trailhead. Narrow with steep loose climbs. Awkward creek crossing
Eucalytus DH - Most aMTBs will be fine, but this is an experts only DH trail with deep ruts and tightness at the end. Access from the Switchbacks Rim Fire Road, NOT West Rim. West Rim (aMTB3) has a lot of off-camber. First DH section is very steep, loose and rocky. After trailhead for Switchbacks, is main DH section.
North Side Trail West - West of Two Bridges, North Side Trail has a section of single track with a technical rock garden and narrow bridge.
Peńasquitos Creek Crossing - Narrow bridge (36”) with rock garden at north end
Pond Backside - Narrow camber. Will most likely need a spot. Not really worth it
Santa Monica Ridge - All fire road and would be aMTB1 except for one small rock cropping
Sycamore Crossing - Narrow bridge and awkward approach
The Shits - Experts only. Downhill. Steep rocky loose rutted berms. Paver turns.
Two Bridges - Technical rock garden, narrow bridge and off camber
Tunnel 4 - Best trail in the area. Narrow and cambered.
West Deer Canyon - Close to being aMTB1 except for some narrow technical parts. Barbed wire fence. East to west only recommended. Use Won’t Fall In for exit. West Deer Canyon “Dont’ Fall In” is impassable.
AMTB3 TRAILS - Major Obstacles Exist - Support Rider Needed
North Side Trail Far West - Section of narrow cambered single track that is impassable without support rider
Palacio Drop - Would be aMTB2 except for deep drainage ditch at bottom. Cambered section at end that may require spot from support rider. Exercise caution.