Santa Ysabel Preserve West Trail

MODERATE 14 reviews

Santa Ysabel Preserve West Trail is a 5.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Santa Ysabel, CA that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and horses. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.7 miles 1164 feet Loop

dogs on leash


trail running


horseback riding


wild flowers


The Santa Ysabel Preserve-West is located between Santa Yasbel and Ramona about 40 miles northeast of San Diego. Portions of the trail are steep. Numerous oak trees populate the hills with several picnic tables on the trail. If the entire preserve is open hikes can be extended to 8.5 miles The 5,312 acre Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, located in the extremely scenic mountains between Santa Yasbel and Julian about 40 miles northeast of San Diego. While fire roads exclusively make up the designated trail system here, you will most likely not mind at all as the beauty of the place makes up for the lack of singletrack options. The rolling open grasslands and oak groves remind me a great deal of Northern California. You can get in just under 20 miles of bike or horseback riding if you do all of the loops and out and back sections.

13 days ago

This trail is a lot like life. Lots of ups and downs.

21 days ago

Beautiful hike, some pretty steep hills at times. Definitely a hike for cooler weather.

27 days ago

FYI The above description that mentions 20 miles of biking refers to Santa Ysabel OSP East. I think bikes aren't allowed on the west side. This is a great hike during the cooler months. We enjoy it in a light rain when it's less busy.

2 months ago

Great hike! Steep, good for the early morning or evening, well maintained, beautiful, lots of solitude. I appreciate all the past comments because my hiking partner (who leads the way) canceled and I wanted to do it solo It took me about 2 1/2 hours, but I didn't stop much.

2 months ago

This hike was wonderful. Pictures can't fully capture the beauty of those golden Santa Ysabel hills. It took me about 3 hours with some short stops. I started late in the day at around four to avoid the heat. I wouldn't do this hike on a hot day between the hours of 10-4. There were a few hills that got my heart really racing, but for the most part the trail wasn't too strenuous. It was maintained pretty well. I only saw one piece of trash; a Gatorade bottle. There were three picnic tables located at different points throughout the trail.
What I loved most about this trail was the wildlife, peace, and solitude. As soon as I got about a mile in it felt like I was far from any civilization because I couldn't hear cars passing by on the freeway. There were no other hikers on the trail when I was there. I saw deer, wild turkey, lots of cows, a few hawks and squirrels.

When I came in at 7:40 the ranger was waiting for me so that he could lock the gate because the preserve closes at sun down.

6 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in San Diego Co. Get some great views in, beautiful oaks and a few hills but not too strenuous.

7 months ago

Great hike! It was perfect in the morning, before it got too hot. Everything was green and beautiful.

7 months ago

This hike is absolutely beautiful in Spring! The hills were green, the creek had a little water flowing, birds were singing in the giant Engelmann Oaks, and the little calves were roaming the meadows with their momma cows. The trails were a great combination of strolling between steep ascent/descents. Be on the lookout for rattlesnakes! We saw a large one underneath the picnic table that overlooked the stream. We had just set down our things at one of the two tables when we saw him move under the second picnic table. We scrambled to grab our things and bolt and he was coiling up in strike position, rattling away - it was scary! Rattlesnake aside, it was hands down one of the best hikes in the San Diego area! I wouldn't attempt it on a hot day though, as the trail isn't shaded except in a few small sections. We saw at least three large oaks that had been struck by lighting at some point and displayed charred sides and split trunks, which was pretty amazing to see. The hike took us 3 hours start to finish with just a few brief stops for photos.

8 months ago

Love this hike.

9 months ago

It was great! Tranquil hike.

10 months ago

This was a nice hike with beautiful views and a good amount of wind. We saw only 2 other couples the entire time we were hiking. The hike was about 5.5 miles with lots of ups and downs the entire time.

11 months ago

it was a nice hike and not a lot of people. the hills were steep on the way back. lots of rolling hills and oak trees. we did lower creek to upper creek then took ridge all the way in a big circle. it was about 5.5 miles.

1 year ago

Lovely hike through the hills and canyons. Some of the uphills are pretty steep, more than you would expect! There was a flowing stream which was pretty exciting since San Diego has been struggling with dry weather the last few years. Saw some cattle and was able to enjoy a lovely day out.

1 year ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. Pretty tough hills at times but well worth it. We ran into 1 person the entire 5.5 miles. I can't wait to go back!