Explore the best trails near Julian with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
off road driving
This is truly an awesome adventure and I recommend it without reservation. I choose to mountain bike this because I am lazy.
I started out at the De Anza Resort. You drive up to the gate, buzz in and tell them you want to park for the trailhead. Then you drive to the office, see a few naked people, and sign in and pay $5. I didn't particularly want to pay to park at the resort but the few parking spaces on the county road under I-8 were taken by the time I go there. So I sucked it up and paid, saves a little bit of distance and gives you some peace of mind about your car. Also, I've read some reports that the dirt road is really bad and you need high clearance, but that was not my experience at all. Maybe those reports were for the northern trail head for the bridge, but my Prius had no problems, its a well maintained dirt road.
Mountain biking this trail requires you to get off your bike a few times and cross the tracks and hike-a-bike through small sections of loose rock, but it wasn't enough to be a chore.
BRING A FLASHLIGHT AND/OR HEADLAMP, SPARE TUBES - I caught up to and passed a father and son who were biking the trail on bmx bikes, which seemed to be working for them, although not the greatest for this ride. Anyway, I passed them right before a long tunnel and they didn't have lights, a few minutes in I heard a crash and went back, the kid had run into on of the many large stones and popped his tire. He was fine, no scratches, but that was it for them. I carry two spares in my pack but they are 26ers, so it wasn't going to work for them. I made sure they had enough water and food and continued on. But in the 10 or so tunnels, two get very dark and have some debris to look out for, most of the others are clear. Just be aware and go slow if you are on a bike.
Going to the trestle is a slight downhill, so coming back you get a bit of an incline but it is hardly noticeable. Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat because there is little shade, even early in the morning.
My total mileage was just under 14 miles round trip and just under 3 hours and that was with lots of stops for pictures.
Overall, this was a great experience and you should get out and experience it before it gets too hot.
We approached the mountain from the West where the PCT crosses Rodriguez Spur Truck Trail. The ascent was steep and we followed the ridge line to the peak. Wear long pants and bring extra water. This is a strenuous hike with many false peaks but the view is 360 and makes it all worth while.
Fun trail. Many washed out spots from the winter rains. Half way up the lengthy switchbacks, there is a tight squeeze due to a boulder that has fallen on the trail: get over or by it, or back down a gnarly section and turn around.
When we got to the trail's end on Banner Grade, there was a "locked gate," or so it appeared. My kids' jaws dropped and they shouted in unison, "what the heck!" (Just push it open...haha).
There is a coin-operated car wash in Ramona to rinse off the mega-amounts of dirt that you will accumulate.