Imagine a multi-use trail that extends from Volcan Mountain in the pine-studded forests of Julian to the coastal city of Del Mar—nearly 70 miles away. This dream is set to become a (complete!) reality in the next year, but you can get a solid sneak peek on a 20-mile out-and-back ride on the proposed 50-mile Coast to Crest stretch of the trail. Begin at Lake Hodges in Rancho Bernardo, where you’ll cross under the I-15 bridge to pedal along the shores of Lake Hodges, enjoying some nice singletrack and frequent views of the lake. Purple-blooming ceanothus covers the hillsides this time of year.
At the northern end of Lake Hodges the route will traverse a hilly section—but don’t worry! You’ll get to enjoy a long downhill near the Del Dios Dam. Stop for pictures at the dam, then return along the same route, watching for the resident osprey or the breeding western grebes that fill Lake Hodges in the springtime.
Take I-15 to Escondido. Exit at Via Rancho Pkwy. eastbound. Take the first right, onto Sunset Dr., and follow to end of the street. The trail begins here. Dog-friendly!