Gordon, Kurt Knutson, and I had a great time riding our mountain bikes in a 24-mile loop along and near Santa Ysabel Creek on March 19, 2023. Starting at the Boden Canyon Trailhead on SR 78, we rode above the creek through Boden Canyon, along the floor of Pamo Valley, up the Black Mountain and Santa Ysabel Truck Trails, higher still on Black Canyon Road, and then back to the start on paved roads.
Photos and commentary follow.
Kurt and Gordon are at the start of the ride at the Boden Canyon Trailhead on SR 78. We briefly follow the Guejito Truck Trail on the other side of the gate. Kurt pushes his bike up this steep single track after we leave the truck trail when it drops down to the creek. The trail soon widens and levels out. Blue ceanothus (California wild lilac) is in bloom. This view looks back to the trail above and the creek below. I bike past more blue ceanothus. Gordon bikes past blue ceanothus in the distance and yellow poppies on the right. The canyon opens up at Pamo Valley, and we briefly follow a paved road until it crosses Santa Ysabel Creek. This is the view downstream from the bridge where the pavement ends. The creek has much more water than usual because of the wet winter. On the other side of the bridge we ride on a trail through the ranch in Pamo Valley above Temescal Creek. This map shows that we are more than halfway up the coast-to-crest trail along the watershed of the San Dieguito River. We continue on the trail after it crosses the dirt road. Pamo Valley is owned by the City of San Diego and leased for cattle grazing. Kurt stares down a steer that obviously has the right of way. Kurt eventually goes on the grass around the steer. We leave Pamo Valley and begin a long climb up Black Mountain Truck Trail and then Santa Ysabel Truck Trail, where I am here. We pose for a team photo with Santa Ysabel Creek far below. Remarkably, one of the few persons we encounter on the truck trail happens by and takes this photo of us 🙂 We continue on the truck trail above the creek. Black Canyon Road, which is our way out, is in the distance. This big rock is in the middle of the road, so no trucks have gone by recently. I stop to decide how to cross the creek. I ford it on my bike and come out with clean shoes 🙂 When the trail reaches Black Canyon Road, we follow it uphill toward Ramona to the south. Here Gordon celebrates the top of the climb! We then have an easy downhill on dirt until we get to paved roads that take us back to the start 🙂