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, Carmel Mountain Road Path and the Preserve Path. For a staging area near the East Trailhead off Black Mountain Rd, see my PQ Canyon aMTB1 Safe Solo Loop. There is also a third, very large paved staging area with an accessible porta 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 - 48” Bridge
Cobbles - Technically single track, but mostly double track. Narrows in spots. Expect to pick your way through towards the bottom of the upper section. There is one surprise steep rock garden towards end of the lower section. Be ready in your smallest gear.
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 not suitable for aMTB
Little McGonigle Ranch Path - Mutli-use community pathway
Lopez Canyon - Very fun DH. Very rutted. High hiker traffic on weekdays. Trail head at top 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 waterfall
Peńasquitos Creek Park Crossing - Long cool 48” bridge
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 Mesa North Rim - Nothing special, just a hiking path for the Qualcomm workers. Some sections have pretty overgrown brush and you’ll probably be bush waking a little bit
Sorrento Valley Connector - Gate with ride around. Some ruts
South Side Trail - Six miles of all fire road. East end has soft gravel sections
Tunnels Road - All fire road. Cardiac Hill is stupid steep with loose rocks
Vista Lugo Path - Multi-use community pathway
Waimea Fire Road - VERY steep DH but all fire road. Some big ruts. DH only. Too steep to climb. Will need help.
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.
Ranch House Crossing - 48” bridge but there is a technical rock drop/climb at north end
Santa Monica Ridge - All fire road and would be aMTB1 except for one pinch point with a rock and gate. Consult POIs on suggested loop
Sycamore Crossing - 48” bridge but there is a small rock drop/climb on south side
The Shits - Super fun, experts only downhill. Steep berms and paver turns.
Two Bridges - Technical rock gardens, narrow bridges and off camber
Tunnel 4 - Best trail in the area. Narrow and cambered.
Wagon Wheel Crossing - 48” bridge but puddle forms at bottom of steep ramp on north side. Difficult to get up it with wet tires
West Deer Canyon - Close to being aMTB1 except for some narrow technical parts. Barbed wire fence with 36” opening. 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.
Pond Backside - Narrow camber. Will most likely need a spot. Not really worth it