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A Looping Bicycle Tour Through Alpine, Dehesa, and Harbison Canyon

The rapidly urbanizing East County community of Alpine once displayed a sign along the main highway boasting "Best Climate in the USA by Government Report." Apparently the town's boosters got what they wanted. Thousands of people have moved here for the relatively affordable housing, and almost all commute into San Diego on Interstate 8. Traffic has increased on the local byways as well, but not so much that cyclists can't enjoy an early-morning spin hereabouts on the weekends.

Along Dehesa Road

For a start try the following seldom-flat, 17-mile loop ride amid the oaks, chaparral, and scattered suburban/rural housing of the Alpine, Harbison Canyon, and Dehesa areas. Often very early on June mornings, the top of the marine layer lies near the 2000-foot elevation of Alpine. You may find yourself either in the clouds themselves or else looking down on them from above.

By exiting I-8 at Tavern Road, you can reach Alpine's town center on Alpine Boulevard, just east of Tavern, and park there. Start riding west on Arnold Way, which crosses Tavern and descends crookedly through an attractive rural residential area. At the bottom of the grade, turn left on Harbison Canyon Road. Subdivisions fill part of the valley ahead.

The road soon pitches downward along the bottom of narrow Harbison Canyon into the town of the same name. Cruising along in a car, you might easily miss many of the unique sights, sounds, and smells of this small community. Balanced on two quietly spinning wheels, you can savor the atmosphere of this cool, wooded canyon to the fullest. Oak-shaded Old Ironsides County Park, on the left, is a good place for a picnic.

Farther down the canyon, turn left on Dehesa Road and shift into a low gear that best suits the long, moderate incline ahead. As you gain altitude, the hillsides become steeper. The normally dry canyon walls, clothed in chaparral, look a bit brighter this year after all the spring rains, and water may still seep across the slabs of igneous rock exposed here and there.

Make a left turn when you reach the Tavern Road intersection. After more climbing, turn right onto South Grade Road. This gently rolling byway takes you past many of Alpine's more spacious properties. When you reach Alpine Boulevard, turn left and coast the final two miles back into Alpine's town center.

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The rapidly urbanizing East County community of Alpine once displayed a sign along the main highway boasting "Best Climate in the USA by Government Report." Apparently the town's boosters got what they wanted. Thousands of people have moved here for the relatively affordable housing, and almost all commute into San Diego on Interstate 8. Traffic has increased on the local byways as well, but not so much that cyclists can't enjoy an early-morning spin hereabouts on the weekends.

Along Dehesa Road

For a start try the following seldom-flat, 17-mile loop ride amid the oaks, chaparral, and scattered suburban/rural housing of the Alpine, Harbison Canyon, and Dehesa areas. Often very early on June mornings, the top of the marine layer lies near the 2000-foot elevation of Alpine. You may find yourself either in the clouds themselves or else looking down on them from above.

By exiting I-8 at Tavern Road, you can reach Alpine's town center on Alpine Boulevard, just east of Tavern, and park there. Start riding west on Arnold Way, which crosses Tavern and descends crookedly through an attractive rural residential area. At the bottom of the grade, turn left on Harbison Canyon Road. Subdivisions fill part of the valley ahead.

The road soon pitches downward along the bottom of narrow Harbison Canyon into the town of the same name. Cruising along in a car, you might easily miss many of the unique sights, sounds, and smells of this small community. Balanced on two quietly spinning wheels, you can savor the atmosphere of this cool, wooded canyon to the fullest. Oak-shaded Old Ironsides County Park, on the left, is a good place for a picnic.

Farther down the canyon, turn left on Dehesa Road and shift into a low gear that best suits the long, moderate incline ahead. As you gain altitude, the hillsides become steeper. The normally dry canyon walls, clothed in chaparral, look a bit brighter this year after all the spring rains, and water may still seep across the slabs of igneous rock exposed here and there.

Make a left turn when you reach the Tavern Road intersection. After more climbing, turn right onto South Grade Road. This gently rolling byway takes you past many of Alpine's more spacious properties. When you reach Alpine Boulevard, turn left and coast the final two miles back into Alpine's town center.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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