- Wednesday, December 06, 2023
Southern California Trails
Santa Margarita River - #SantaMargaritaRiver
Socal - San Diego County - Fallbrook NickNames: #SantaMargaritaRiver
I know this is out of the way but worth seeing. Go north on the I-15, take the mission road exit towards fallbrook. Continue across mission road at the light. The next light is Pico. Take Pico Right --> De Luz Rd. Continue 2 miles. Right at Fork on Santa Margarita. IF you continue another two miles or so you will see a parking area along the river, its before the bridge. Park there and Head on in. The trailhead is obvious.
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- Trail UpdateGotta Get Creative-Rode this for the first time two weeks ago and was initially disappointed. Riding from Sandia Creek Rd, the previously mentioned hike n bike sections are seriously hike only, at least moving from north to south. Then the majority of the trail was sandpitted to death making it rough going. However, I started breaking off the main trail by taking run-offs, old foot-paths and a few of the worn-down access paths and found some pretty fun rides. The fact that some of those off-shoots are not maintained makes them actually fun to ride especially the one from the old water-tower, not sure what that neighborhood is just above it, but from the abandoned house at the end of that road, you can see a bunch of singletrack branching off around the draws. The ride back to Sandia Creek Rd was much better than the ride out as those hike sections are rideable and actually decently technical for a few seconds.
If you have a few hours to go exploring for a ride and dont mind taking the time to search for decent trails, this isnt too bad. A pre-built singletrack heaven this place certainly is not.
mack a 34 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Motobecane Phantom 29er 1x9 from Temecula
- Trail UpdateI have gotten back to riding this trail after not for over 2 years since the fire a couple of years ago. The western portion of the trail has changed quite a bit with lots of sand on the lower portions of the trail. I recently checked out the trails on the north side of the river, the 500' trail, the section that leads off from the hairpin turn on Willow Glen and the hills to the northeast. Granted I pushed through some sand and up some horse pulverized steeps but I think the stuff in between that is worth a vist. Has anyway rode up and on Gavilan Mountain to the north of the river?
mtbbill a 37 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Intense Spider from Vista, CA URL: www.MountainBikeBill.com
- Trail Update500 Foot Trail-I dont' know who is in charge of the trail comission for the land conservancy but they seriously need to be fired. I don't think trail work is considered just taking a bobcat and plowing through. I talked to some people on the land conservancy about why they just plowed through and she told me that it was the only way to get dirt to the spots they needed it but if that is the case why would they just plow with the whole trail I am tired of these old people on the commision only thinking of the interest of people with horses. If you ride out there you need to go to their trail commison meetings or just go out on your own and do your own work on the trail that is what i am planning on doing
igoyippy4skippy a 28 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a gt i drive from fallbrook
- Trail Update500 Foot Trail-A lot of work was done last Saturday by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy Trails Committee. They ran a Bobcat almost all the way through the '500 foot trail' so it is almost all doubletrack now :-(. Lots of deep pockets of dirt as well. I suppose it makes it easier for the equestrians, and they built it so they have the right to do as they wish I suppose. It's just that the trail was fast, tight and fun before the "improvements" and now it is slow, open and boring. Oh well, what are you gonna do??
Denduro a Die-hard Enthusiast
- Trail UpdateGetting Better-Some trail repair has been done and the creek levels are lots lower, so loops are once again possible without getting your feet wet.
Watch out for snakes!! I saw 6 all of last year and have seen 1 on each of my last 4 rides this last week. A couple days ago, my dad and I encountered a 4 foot adult. By far the biggest one I've seen out there. He struck at my dad when he rode by and was very hard to coax off the trail so I could pass.
- Trail UpdateRain Gutted-Numerous washouts on all sections. Plus, part of the lower section that was by the creek is washed away and is now part of the creek. It's like it was never there--amazing what Mother Nature can do!! All creek crossings are 2-3 feet deep and unridable. There will be a trail maintenance/repair day in March. Check out the Fallbrook Land Conservancy's website for more info on how to help out and repair our trails. http://www.sdlcc.org/flc/index.htm
DS riding a Specialized Enduro Expert from Fallbrook
- Trail UpdateRusty Spaceman River Lowest Eve-Unbelievably low river. Times past it was tremendous. Lots of horses. All the time fork adjustments. Sand is DEEP. Uper trails are good. Upper (east) area towords Willow Glen Rd. The technical up/down (see below) is really soft, tough to do. It is overgrown, by lots of stickly stuff. Watch out for quads/DB entering trail in this area from loose sand above (you can hear them, DONT WEAR EAR PLUGS). Lots of hike a bike.
Ride distance: 20 miles Elevation change:
- Trail UpdateYeah, the dirt bikes are ripping up the trails. I noticed their tracks today.. I have only been riding the upper trails and staying away from the lower ones, so I do not know their conditions. BTW Enduro guy, I think my buddy and I have seen you on a few occasions, just wondered if you wanted to ride with us one of these days...
88turboaccord a 25 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a 2004 Weyless XC Bike/1999 K2 Ev0 3000/ from Fallbrook URL: http://http://rhscomputers.com/jsballou/justinMTB.JPG
- Trail UpdateQuick update. I have had to deal with knuckleheads on dirt bikes before, but today was a first. Some moron in a lifted Toyota Tundra, full size pick up was down there tearing stuff up. He was straddling the trail running over whatever got in his way. He almost killed me when he came raging down a pretty steep hill that we were climbing. The high level of stupidity some humans can acheive just staggers the imagination sometimes.
The sand is at full summertime depth. The lower trails by the creek are nearly un-ridable in most areas. Thank God for the upper trails.
I always wonder how all that sand gets down there. Do the equestrians haul it in and dump it?? I don't know. Just hard to believe that much sand is naturally occurring.
DS a Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Specialized Enduro Expert from Fallbrook
- Trail UpdateGood We Don't Like To Share..-Everyone stay away. If you don't like to do a little "hike-a-bike" then this trail is not for you. I personally like the trail. There's a little of everything. I ride this trail 3 times a week and have enjoyed it every time. I also do a little night riding on it as well. If you want to do a little exploring, there are plenty of off-shoot trails that you can explore. My gain your loss... It is probably not worth a long drive, but if you are tired of what you are currently riding and live close by, give me an e-mail and we will ride. firstname.lastname@example.org
88turboaccord a 24 year old riding a 1999 K2 Ev0 3000/2003 K2 Brass Monkey from Fallbrook
- Trail UpdateRainbow Creek/500 Foot Trail-My dad and I also ride the "500 foot trail". As the previous reviewer mentioned, it is some fairly easy singletrack, however it is not that well groomed. It is over grown in many areas.
Also, all of the equestrian traffic makes it EXTREMELY choppy. They also kick up lots of rocks. It seems like everytime we ride, we run into several horses. We ride this trail 2-3 times a week, only because we live on it and it is convenient. I would not waste my time driving to it if you don't live in the immediate area. Just a friendly piece of advice. If you would like to ride it, email me for some directions and tips.
Ride rating: Intermediate
DS a 28 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a TREK from Fallbrook
- Trail UpdateMore Trails Than You Think-Ok i know that the SM trail has lots of sand pits but i live a mile from the trail and ride it 3 times a weeks. What you have to do is either ride the SM trail which has more hill climbs and is more technical or you can take the 500' foot trail which is right above it which is a very well groomed flat with some short climbs single track all the way to willow glen. You go up willow glen all the way to where it takes a 90 degree turn and you go through the hole in the fence to the east. This will lead to a very technical uphill for a few miles till you get to a dirt road which you can go north which will lead you to a road which you can take back to willow glen which i use as a loop and can get a 13 mile loop out of or you can go south up the dirt road to the resivior and the microwave towers which will lead you to on crazy of a technical downhill. If anyone wants to ride the trail with me just let me know i have been riding this trail for about 10 years so i know it quite well.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 8+ Elevation change:
Andrew a 26 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a giant hardtail from Fallbrook
- Trail UpdateWATCH OUT 4 ATV's-You must be very careful riding this trail as many ATV's come flying down the trail very danerous. this trail is just about complete destoryed.
gee a 29 year old Weekend Warrior riding a gt special from san deigo
- Trail UpdateSanta Margarita - Fallbrook-My dad and I have spent the last week riding this entire area, and I have 2 words of advice for you--DON'T BOTHER!!!
The trail has been pretty much ruined due to the large amount of equestrian traffic. It has more than it's fair share of sand pits and rock gardens. As mentioned in an earlier post--I don't know who can ride up and down 2-3 foot rock stairs that are narrow and jagged, but it isn't me!! The rest of the trail is made up of some fairly easy single track that any novice should be able to handle, so I'm not sure why the advanced rating has been aplied.
The entire region has recovered from the fire in 2/02 very well. The main fire related sight is the occasional tree with a blackened trunk. I live about 200 yards from the trail, so I have seen the region recover first hand.
If you are still set on riding this, don't let the fear of no scenery/foliage deter you. Let the deterrant be the rocks and sand.
Ride rating: Novice
DS a 28 year old Weekend Warrior riding a TREK from Fallbrook
- Trail UpdateDe Lux-Ok bros..I poosted this trail like years ago, when were NO SANDPITS. more rock, many of the horses have trampled and or moved off of the trail some of the large rocks and or DG infringments that were on the trail. There used to be many downed logs conveniently located in the way of the trail, good for jumping, . So a combination of the fire, horses, trail clearing teams, quads- somehow quads got down there, and misc hikers that have a problem with anything in the way of the leisurlyt stroll have just about ruined a decent trail. The two foot steps that used be pretty good are really eroded now and not really rideable at all. the trail sux, too much sand, not enough rock. Dont ride it, go home and stay out of my hood. Word...
- Trail UpdateFire Rebirth-The trail has become pretty sandy in spots. The fire devestated half of the canyon, but in the past few months there's now lots of green vegetation again. Though it's only about 1 ft in height. The canopies are gone. A few spots that were single track are now fire road. Overall it's still a nice afterwork ride.
Ride distance: 18+ miles Elevation change:
Singletrack=80% Dirt Road=20%
teuf a 24 year old Weekend Warrior
- Trail UpdateSanta Margarita River Trail-Rode here today for the first time to burn off some holiday calories. Nice little trail, and perhaps a few short drops and huck possibilities into the sand if so inclined. The rock gardens 200ft into the trail threw me for a loop--wow! this trail DOES look advanced. Busted out the pads and made a few sections, but found the remaining trail pretty flat and easy. (Bringing a second pair of shoes/socks for the river crossings helped immensely.) There were only two sections where sand got me off the saddle, and the trail was not as chewed up as you might expect--kudos to the Santa Margarita Riders (equestrians) for some recent trailwork. Still pretty bushwacky at the north end though--knee/shin pads definitely came in handy. Went to the far gate and returned--twice through the river was enough without more daylight.
Probably not a good candidate for regular rides--blind curves and horses do not mix well, so watch the speed.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Ride distance: 3.5 miles Elevation change:
Caff Man a 31 year old Weekend Warrior riding a 4Banger from Mission Viejo
- Trail UpdateOK DUDES-I mentioned this trail before it was popular, i.e. before it was pure sand, and there are some gnarly offshoots, you just gotta look. Since i have last rode there, about half a year, I can only imagine what has happened to it. It was already looking like more traffic on this thing, especially horse and foot, would destyroy it, it was nice at the time, but i would probably have to agree with you guys. I rode many of the other trails listed as expert, and the things that denoted those trails as "expert" this trail had more of.
Since then, I have moved out to durango colorado "single track capitol of the world" all i have to say, is all dem trails out there suck. If you ever get a chance, head out here, or to telluride, there are literally hundreds of miles of trails, and tons of singletrack. The sky is clear, and there's no traffic, and the trails are clean and well maintained, and people are considerate enough not to ride them when they get bad so that they can be improved.
And oh yah about the sections you cant ride over, there just that, there was only one section me and my cheap a## cannondale hardtail couldnt negotiate, that step up after the the successive 3 foot step drops. And dude, take the fire breaks. For me, you can make a intermediate run and expert ride real easily with enough pitch and enough speed. Yeah it can get dangerous, but thats, for the most part, the difference between advanced and expert ride.
But the next vacation you get, head out to Durango Colorado, or Silverton, check them out on the web.
Chris St ebner a 21 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Cannondale from Durango, Co
- Trail UpdateSanta Margarita & Rainbow Creek-Well I went out and rode this trail tonight. This trail is not an expert trail as earlier described. nothing technical about it at all. you may call the hike a bike section at the beginning of the trail technical but there isnt anything technical about hike a bike sections that you cant ride over. then you have the sand pits everywhere but that isnt concidered technical either. so where is the parts that kick your ass? easy, there isnt any.
I do like this trail because the scenery is nice through the forest covered canopies and there is some hard pack fast sections in between the sand pits. the most technical part is if you make a big loop of it by crossing over the river before you get to the rainbow creek trail and follow the taril on the north side all the way untill you hit a gate. cross back over the river and follow the dirt road all the way back to stage coach and willow glen ( there is a few pissed off dogs along the way) ride the pavement untill you cross a small bridge and the rainbow creek trail goes either left or right. i recommend going left first so you can hit the radio towers then comeing back and hitting the section on the other side of the bridge which will eventually take you back to the santa margarita south side. so now that you have gone left follow it back away from the sanata margarita and you can hit three short technical climbs. and i do mean short. take the trail all the way till it dumps you out on a fireroad and turn right, that way you can climb a leg burning fireroad all the way up to the radio towers. the fire road to the radio towers splits into two options to climb up the hill then back into one half way up. do not attempt the first split, it is way to steep so bypass the the first route headed up the hill and just keep going you will see another way up to the top. then once you get to the top you can drop down the other side and hit mission road back to the trailhead or turn around and go back the way you came. rainbow creek if you stay on it will turn back into the santa margarita trail back to your car. i reccomend staying on rainbow creek all the way back. you will like it. i will give this whole ride a marginal advanced rating but no way in hell is this an expert ride
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: as many as you want to make it Elevation change:
Singletrack=most% Dirt Road=some%
Mtnbkbug a 36 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Cannondale from Carlsbad
- Trail UpdateI've walked about a mile of this trail and rode 7-8 miles just the other day. Its very much like Chris says it is. The first 1/2 mile has a few rock gardens, and a rock shelf. Now just WHO can ride 2ft rock steps , I don't know! Fortunately thats only right in the begining. Nice single track, lots of cover under the oaks and sycamores, a few stream crossing, 2 river crossings (no dry feet here!) and lots of poison oak. It looks like they've done a great job on trimming the itchy stuff back from the trail, but venture off and you're in for it! I measured 3.5 miles from the Sandia Creek trail head to Willow Glen/Stagecoach. Next time I'll have to keep heading east to explore more. BTW, the north side of the trail seems to be for horses for a good reason. Very steep up and down, plus horses can take water crossing a lot deeper than some dude on a bike!! I bushwacked for 30 mins looking for a reasonable crossing so I could get back to the south side. For non-technical riders (like myself), it can be hard to get the flow on this trail. Its still very much worth exploring for North SD County people.
Dano riding a wet and dirty FSR Enduro URL: crude map
- Trail UpdateSanta Margarita River-This trail will kick your a#s! You will sweat, you will walk, you will damage your bike, you may even swim. This is 100% singletrack. In some sections you will have to dismount, provided that you didn't just win your trials competition. There are rocks and logs, these can be hopped and dealt with for the most part. the surfaces are sand, rocks, hard pack, and a river that must be forged, it's never very deep and you can usually hop around it. I am willing to bet that this is the most technical maintained trail in the county.
I ride this about twice a week, I have never seen another bike, or tracks even. You will see hikers up to about 2-4 miles in, and from there on out your on your own. There are occasionally horses on the early weekend mornings, But there are seperate trails for them.
I posted this because I was looking through the trails posted here and some of the pictures associated with the 'expert' trails and was amused and somewhat astounded with the lack of obstacles.
Please e-mail me if you have any questions. I would really love to see more people pushing themselves and riding these trails. Anyone that could ride them succesfully would be someone I would love to learn from.
Another thing, when you are riding this trail, you may think it comes to an end. Just keep on going. yes, that is the trail HAVE FUN!
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 20 ? miles Elevation change: ? depends on trail
Chris Stebner a 20 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Cannondale from Fallbrook,