In search of dirt in Southern California…

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We have spent most of the last two months in North County San Diego at the beach, which is a wonderful place to be. While most of our time has been spent walking and surfing, we have been biking for variety.

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Most of our biking has looked like this – some nice ocean views but a lot of cars and a lot of pavement…. While Oceanside and Carlsbad are both bike friendly cities, there are still a lot of people out driving and not paying attention, which makes this type of biking a tad less relaxing!

IMG_3767While Hunter was out playing Airsoft last weekend Tim and I went in search of dirt and found it at Daley Ranch, a city owned natural area in Escondido.

The entry to the park is a paved road that immediately has you headed up and over a peak and then down into a valley. It’s a bit of a grind to start the ride but at least you get a downhill coast to rest and then the same at the end of the ride.

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We took Ranch House (paved road) up and into the valley, then swung left onto Boulder Loop and hit sandy dirt. This was quite the slog up to the top of the ridge where we were then rewarded with a nice ridge ride along Cougar Ridge. We took a right onto Englemann Oak with the plan on heading back to the valley floor via wooden springs but somehow we missed the trail. That meant a fabulous downhill on the rest of Englemann Oak until we hit Bobcat, which was our first clue that we had missed our turn!

We enjoyed the single track of Bobcat and then had the displeasure of a hike-a-bike up a fairly scramble Cougar Ridge until we hit the top of the ridge again. From there it was a full back track of our earlier ride.

Other than venturing out in the heat of the day (24c) which made the hills quite challenging, it was great to get back onto some dirt!

carlsbad trail mapWith the kid away again today we thought we would try to find some dirt closer to home… We are camping just on the north side of Buena Vista Lagoon (top of the map) so were intrigued with some of the green squiggles on the City of Carlsbad bike trail map.

Hospital Grove Park turned out to be a small set of wooded trails tucked into a corner of land that is a confluence of residential, commercial and large roads in a ravine. We entered off of Jefferson Road which is the lowest elevation point. We road a number of switch backs up and down and enjoyed the wandering along with a few groups of kids out hiking. Unfortunately not all of the trails are connected and the trail section is split down the middle by a major road so riding the whole system was challenging and seemed like a lot of work for not a lot of return.

We headed back out to the ocean for a ride down the Pacific Coast Highway to check out the waves and the beaches before heading back home.

 

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