There’s an easy way to lose the San Diego summer beach crowds without losing the chance to chill out. Turn two wheels inland for a 16-mile out-and-back rural road ride that starts and ends at Stone Brewing Co.
in Escondido. Park at the brewery and head south on Citracado Parkway. A few quick turns will have you on Harmony Grove Road. The summer days can be warm, but intermittent old-growth oak trees keep things comfortable—especially along the first part of the ride. At mile 4, you’ll pass the entrance to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
. The 784-acre park has 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails as well as a few low-key picnicking areas. But if you just want to use it as a rest stop, there’s a short trail off the parking lot leading to a clearing where you can cool your feet in the year-round creek. Back on your bike, Harmony Grove Road becomes Elfin Forest Road at mile 5.5. From here, privately owned horse ranches and lemon orchards spring up on either side of you. Make a U-turn when you hit the stop sign at Calistoga Way and return the way you came. Back at Stone Brewing Co., relax in the lush 1-acre beer garden and rehydrate with one of many award-winning craft beers on tap. The Stone Levitation Ale is known to put people on cloud nine. Or opt for a Lucky Bastard Ale and call it a day!
Stone Brewing Co. is located at 1999 Citracado Pkwy. in Escondido. Hop on your bike and head south on Citracado Pkwy. Turn left on S. Andreasen Dr., then right on Enterprise St. Take a right on Harmony Grove Rd. and veer left to stay on Harmony Grove Rd. In 4.4 miles, Harmony Grove Rd. becomes Elfin Forest Rd. In 2.5 miles, make a U-turn at Calistoga Way and return the way you came. There’s no bike lane, but the shoulder is adequate and traffic is light. No dogs at Stone Brewing Co.