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Old 10-29-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
Xcountry-Rider OP
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San Diego County Back Country Adventure Route

Looking for a weekend adventure ride in our San Diego back country? If your interested i plotted out an adventure route through San Diego's back country for adventure bikes like the BMW F800GS, Triumph Tiger 800 XC, KTM 990 and KLR 650. Its a two day route with a mix of mountain twisty paved roads and dirt tracks with awesome scenery. Its got mountains, desert and back country roads laced with dirt tracks to keep it fun. The route was picked for the mid sized adventure bikes.

Nate Harrison Grade





View From Nate Harrison Grade




KTM 990 on Nate Harrison Grade




Adventure Bikes on Mt. Palomar




It starts in north county Take I-15 north or south to Pala Road (CA-76). Follow Pala Road (CA-76) just about 12.5 miles to Nate Harrison Grade road. Keep track on the odometer. Make a left turn on Nate Harrison Grade. Head through the orchards and follow Nate Harrison Grade up the nearly 8-mile road (30-45min) to the top of Mt. Palomar. While not the highest elevation in San Diego Mt. Palomar gets the most precipitation giveing a climate more similar to the Sierra's than other San Diego mountains. While your at the top explore around a bit. Then head down the S7 with some awesome twisties the whole way. Stop at the over look for a nice view of Lake Henshaw and surrounding valleys

Lake Henshaw from Overlook on S-7



Turn left at the bottom on the 76 going by Lake Henshaw and then turn right onto Mesa Grande Rd to Black Canyon Rd. Your back on the dirt now enjoying fast dirt through oak woodland. Black Canyon Rd is a well maintained wide dirt road but watch for cars around the corners. Follow until you get to the 78 and turn left.Nice scenery of San Diego's Oak Woodlands.


Black Canyon Road




Black Canyon Rd




From there its a left through Ramona out the 67 to Santa Ysable then a left and out the 79 to San Felipe rd to Montezuma Valley Rd to Ranchita. Then its back on dirt taking a right Old Wilson Rd to Grape Vine Canyon Rd.This is a dirt sandy track that will drop down to the Yaqui canyon.. From here its a right on the 78 and taking a left on the S-2 and a fun scenic loop through Blair Valley. If you want to disperse camp find a spot during this loop. If you want something with hot showers continue on the S-2 to Butter Field Ranch (http://www.butterfieldresort.com/). They have camp sites and cabins tpools and hotubs that sort of thing.

Grape Vine Canyon





Blair Valley



Butter Field Ranch




Butter Field Ranch Resort/Campground




Day Two

From there Its back the way you came on S-2 until you get to Oriflamme Canyon Rd
(Oriflamme is named after a steamer that ran between San Francisco and San Diego in the gold rush days) at Mile 26/27 turn on the dirt road. The road follows a sandy wash (never my favorite). A little ways off the pavement you'll need to take a right. Once you start to climb up out of the sand you'll get to a Y in the road. This is the junction oriflamme canyon and Rodriguez canyon. Take the left up Oriflamme Canyon. This in the most technical piece of the route It gets steep and rocky in this section. Watch for a rocky area after the sharpest S turn. When the road reaches a flatter plateau area at the top. You'll get to a "T" with Mason Valley truck Trail. Go straight toward through a gold mining area in Chariot Caynon and then to the bottom of Banner Grade. Toward the end of the dirt before dropping to banner grade you'll run into a closed gate. The chain is just wrapped around the post its not actually locked. Chariot Canyon was the heart of the Gold Rush Area in Banner during the Julian Gold Rush. Make sure you close the gate behind you.

Oriflamme Canyon





Oriflamme can become Technical




Banner Grade






Now its up the twistys of Banner Grade to Julian which is a good coffee and apple pie stop (recommend Julian Pie company) and through apple country on farmer road to Wynola Rd.Take a left on Wynola RD until it T's with the 79. Here we take a left on the 79 to then take a right onto Pine Hill RD. This goes through the Pine Hills area watching for wild turkeys and deer. We turn right on Eagle Peak RD and back onto dirt. This goes through some of the nicest areas of San Diego County back country.

Downtown Julian (don't forget the pie!!)



View from Eagle Peak Rd



We follow Eagle Peak Rd until the road ends at saddle back (devils punch bowl parking area) and down Cedar Creek Rd (road on the left lets hope the gates not closed) another dirt track that meets up on Boulder Creek Rd. This is a smaller more technical dirt track that dips in and out on canyons until it climbs back up to Boulder Creek Rd. We take a right here and follow Boulder Creek Rd around the west side on Cuyamaca peak. The road dips down with a cement stream crossing. Its looks real tame but is mossy and slick. Don't throttle riding through as your back tire might slip out.

Boulder Creek Rd Creek Crossing



We follow Boulder Creek Rd taking a right on Viejas Grade which starts out with pavement then turns to dirt until it gets to Viejas valley and T's with Willows Rd on the Viejas Indian Reservation. We take a right on Willows Rd and follow Willows into Alpine and then veer left onto Arnold way and take a left onto Tavern Rd which turns into Japatul Rd. Now its twisty pavement on Lyons Valley Rd to Honey Springs Rd to the 94.


We take a left on the 94 through Dulzura taking a right on Marrion Valley Rd. We're back on dirt and finish taking Otay Mountain Truck Trail through the coastal mountains to finally finish just north of the border in south county. Lots of nice views and expect to run into border patrol along the this section. Take the 901 back to the 5 and head north.

View From Otay Mountain Truck Trail



Otay Mountain Truck Trail






Feel free to input on this route and add video and pictures to help document it for other riders!!


Xcountry-Rider screwed with this post 01-09-2012 at 08:38 AM
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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When are you planning on doing this loop?
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by refokus View Post
When are you planning on doing this loop?
You want to come out to San Diego?
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:45 PM   #4
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I wish more people would put together routes like this for those of us that are geographically challenged.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:45 PM   #5
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Cool, that goes right by my house.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Xcountry-Rider View Post
You want to come out to San Diego?
It's a possibility........But if it's in the next couple of months, then it will not happen for me. My plate is full with work and rides and the holidays coming up.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rollergirl View Post
Cool, that goes right by my house.
Then you are invited to ride and take pictures of that segment
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:04 PM   #8
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Here's a Youtube Video of dirtdadx headed up Nate Harrison Grade on a G650 Xchallenge.






Here's a Youtube Video of Jeeps doing Grape Vine Canyon




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Old 10-31-2011, 11:14 AM   #9
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great idea

i will be interested to come, just have to check the weekend timing.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
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Video taken on Otay Mountain Truck Trail

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Old 10-31-2011, 05:21 PM   #11
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i will be interested to come, just have to check the weekend timing.
I figured most of our riding was weekend trips not big cross state adventures so i decided to map out a county route for weekend trips.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:37 PM   #12
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When are you planning on doing this?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:40 PM   #13
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Sdar?
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcountry-Rider View Post
I figured most of our riding was weekend trips not big cross state adventures so i decided to map out a county route for weekend trips.
That's a really nice looking loop, perfect ride for the bigger displacement dual sports (that can spend time on the street comfortably).

I think I'd like to give that a shot on my KLR. Edit: It's 244 miles and running it backwards you end up right by Pechanga! Only ~35 miles from my house!

Well done.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:43 PM   #15
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Thanks for putting that together!

Pine Creek Rd.
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