Mountain Bike Trails, Local Bike Shops, Bicycle Clubs
Sycamore Canyon - Poway/Santee Trailhead - Thursday, February 26, 2015
Sycamore Canyon - Poway/Santee - San Diego County
From the South
1) Take MISSION GORGE RD to CARLTON HILLS BLVD. NORTH on CARLTON HILLS to LAKE CANYON. LEFT on LAKE CANYON. RIGHT (north) on SETTLE to the last block, then LEFT (west) to STRATHMORE. RIGHT on STRATHMORE to BIRCHCREST. LEFT on BIRCHCREST to the dead end. This is a quiet residential neighborhood..SHHH! At the west end of Birchcrest is a locked gate. (the hole is at the left end of the fence. The developer says keep out, but mountain bikers are usually not bothered by the owner or the sheriff. Motorcycles or 4X4's will be asked to leave. Go north for apprx 5 miles to Poway. Trail signs are at each intersection. At Poway Trailhead, try going east to Martha's Grove for great downhill singletrack action!! Martha's trail leads back south in a loop to the main trail. TAKE WATER! + please respect the quiet neighborhood at the south end so the hole in the fence stays open. I double checked it 6/1/97. The trail's still open and a good ride for any skill level. Thomas Guide page 1231 A3
2) Take 52 to Mast Bl. in Santee and turn left. You will see a school on the right and hills on the left. The trail is on the left just before the first house, and just after the school parking. The trail begins just behind a white barricade Thomas Guide page 1231 A5
From the North. Exit Poway Rd. off the I 15 Frwy. Take Poway Road East to Garden Road. Follow Garden hang a right on Sycamore Canyon Rd. Follow this road to the end. (Turns into a dirt road for the last mile or so). The Gibbens Ranch gates opens at 8:00am. Thomas Guide page 1191 C7
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Santee Lakes to Sycamore Canyon - I call this section Santee Lakes or East Elliot. Begin at Mast Blvd. parking lot by the ball field just past the high school.
We've had a lot of rain lately so there are quite a few mud holes and the stream is flowing pretty good but less than a foot deep at crossings. Really green right now. There is a new trail that adds some climbing to this ride and will add about a half hour to your ride. Just after you go under the power lines and cross the wash, turn left as if you were heading up the steep fire road. 50 meters in, turn left on the singletrack that will follow the west side of the ridge. Soon the trail starts to switchback up to the top of the ridge and places you back on the fireroad. Continue up(north) and catch the well marked single track on the right. It loops around a peak to the road then immediately heads off to the right for some great downhill singletrack with a lot of tight hairpins. Follow this back down to the canyon trail that follows and crosses the stream.
a 46 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Yeti 575
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Restricted - Those signs are only for people to stay away from the powerline towners.

This ride is really getting nice and growing in after the Cedar fire did a number on the area a few years back.

Teh ride up to the and past the Lakes is fun and open, the ride then goes into nice single track (keep and eye out for a right turn off teh fire road to aviod a sandy fire road section and enter fun single track)

All the way up to the Poway side and down thru Martha's grove trail is a bit dry but in great shape.
protijy a 28 year old Downhiller riding a Indy Fab Beatsick from San Diego URL: Protijy
Posted on 08/02/07Alert moderators of this post

Sycamore/Santee entrance - I noticed a "Restricted Access" sign at the trailhead of the Santee entrance (Medina). I haven't seen any official notice from SDMBA or anywhere online. Does anyone know the official status on this side of the trail. Is the Poway entrance still open? How far down can you go?
Mostro a Cross-Country Rider riding a Giant NRS from San Diego
Posted on 02/28/07Alert moderators of this post
Riverbed Ride - As of 01/15/05 the southern entrance of the park is closed until it dries out.

I've never used the Medina access and didn't know what to expect. I'm sure it used to be great, but this time it was *very*, *very*, muddy and wet. I had to wade across the creek at least 4 times :) Long stretches of the trail, if you can see it, are along sandy creek deposits. Everything was green and growing like crazy.

But it was still fun, got completely soaked and coated with mud, and I think I put a years worth of wear on my chain. But when I got back the jeep, I was tired but smiling.

Look forward to doing it again after it drys out and the trail gets smoother. I ride with one arm so the round cobbles on the trail make it hard for me.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: ??? Elevation change: Small
Pegmatite a 41 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized FSR Comp from Solana Beach E-mail:this user
Posted on 01/20/05Alert moderators of this post

Sycamore Canyon - Rode the canyon this moring it's still a blast. Rode from WH high school parking lot to the top and back. Makes it about 16 miles but I could tell today, because I lost my bike computer along the way. So if you find it let me know and maybe we will meet on the trail some day and I can get it back. The trail maintenance crews who did the work on the trails to get them reopened did an outstanding job it's very much appreceated. The Midnight Riders thank you.
Ride rating: Novice
Ride distance: 16miles Elevation change:
Singletrack=70% Dirt Road=10% Truck Trail=20%
Smokin Scott a 42 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized Enduro from El Cajon E-mail:this user
Posted on 12/11/04Alert moderators of this post
One Sweet Ride!!! - I've ridden here a hundred times or more but for some reason last Sunday was the best!!!

Started out from West Hills HS instead of bothering the residents on Medina. The trail going into the canyon is pretty much as it always is until you get by the upper Santee Lakes where you can see water running through the stream that runs through the canyon. I haven't seen water in that stream in years.

Everything is so green and the wild flowers are in full bloom. Once I got past the Lakes and into the canyon the stream crossings begin. The trail and the stream cross each other eight or ten times. I actually wasn't counting cause I was having too much fun getting wet.

Passed the old ranch house, took the trail on the west side of the valley, then climbed up the road to the parking area at the end of Sycamore Canyon Road. By now I'm dried off and so is my chain. I lost all lubrication about three stream crossings ago and left the emergency supply at home. Lesson Learned!!

Most people turn around there but I climbed up the trail leading to Hwy 67. Took a short break. Looking down I thought to myself "I know I'm having a better time than the poor people in their cars crawling along the highway."

From there it's all a nice steady down hill cruise back to the parking lot and Martha's Grove trail head. This has always been one of my favorite trails around and on this ride it seemed to be more fun than any other time. After the short climb at the beginning of Martha's, (my chain is screaming at me now), comes one of the sweetest singletrack downhill rides there is. Once you drop into the trees it flattens out a little but twists, turns and a few roller coaster sections keep the fun meter pegged.

Right where the trail comes out by the old windmill I almost ran right over a 3 1/2 foot Rattlesnake who was taking his sweet time crossing the trail. Where's my camera when I need it? Back at the house with my chain lube, where else?!

Well when I started crossing the stream on my way back out of the canyon the chain stopped cussing at me as long as it stayed wet. I'm sure it's going to need a lot of attention to get back to a ridable condition. 20 miles clicked over as I got back to my truck and was sorry the ride was over. That was a great ride. I can't wait till next weekend when I'll have time to do it again!!

Ed, hurry up and kick some ass over there so you can come back home and ride!!

Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 20 sweeeet miles. Elevation change: Not Much
Singletrack=35% Dirt Road=65%
Sailor a 40 year old Weekend Warrior riding a GT LTS from San Diego
Posted on 03/25/03Alert moderators of this post

Sycamore SplishSplash - The trail is firm, but now that the ground is saturated, the low
spots and old streams are now full. Some up to 12 inches
deep. Whoa. real fun....too fun. Only the first 200 yards off
Medina is the ground a quagmire. The area is VERY green &
wild flowers are abundant. This is ripe time for a ride!

Ride rating: Novice
Ride distance: 14 miles Elevation change: ???
mtbchip a 45 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a an olde fashioned urt bike. YA-WHOO from San Diego E-mail:this user
Posted on 03/21/03Alert moderators of this post

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