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A loop for mountain bikes near Warner Springs takes riders on a combination of sandy fire road and pavement.

Where can you go to do some fat-tire bicycle riding after the winter rains come? Certainly not on many of the county's backcountry dirt roads and trails, which turn slippery when wet. Instead, try out the following 25-mile looping route north of Warner Springs. You'll ride on dirt for part of the way -- on a road carved into decomposed-granite soil, which sheds rain easily and dries quickly.

You can begin this ride at the Lost Valley Road (formerly Indian Flats Road) turnoff along Highway 79, 1.6 miles west of Warner Springs. The first few miles are steadily uphill on Lost Valley Road's narrow, sometimes coiling strip of pavement. The steady ascent takes you through low scrub-brush at first, then through a more interesting mix of ribbonwood and manzanita chaparral. The road swings northeast and then north, and off to the right you get a view of Hot Springs Mountain (highest peak in San Diego County at 6533 feet), looming in the east, about 4 miles away.

After 4 miles you reach an elevation near 4000 feet, where you see, but never approach closely, statuesque Coulter pines on the ridge above. At 6.3 miles, Lost Valley Road veers left and dives down to Indian Flats Campground, a good spot to fill water bottles.

Back at the 6.3-mile mark, a poor dirt road branches north. Take this road and continue north and northwest, staying right at the next fork 0.3 mile ahead. You then descend slightly to where you must cross the willow- and sycamore-lined San Luis Rey River -- definitely a wet, muddy passage, assuming decent rains arrive this season. There's a nice spot for a rest or a picnic just downstream, where the stream cascades over polished rock slabs.

After the stream crossing, you ride uphill along an oak-shaded ravine, and then much more steeply up a chaparral-covered hillside to a 4368-foot summit. The view from there extends across miles of virtually untouched open space. Next, a mile of descent brings you to the paved but very sparsely traveled Chihuahua Valley Road. Turn left and make a breezy descent to Highway 79. Turn left again, climb two miles to the community of Sunshine Summit, and complete the remaining miles of your trip on the gradually descending grade of Highway 79.

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Where can you go to do some fat-tire bicycle riding after the winter rains come? Certainly not on many of the county's backcountry dirt roads and trails, which turn slippery when wet. Instead, try out the following 25-mile looping route north of Warner Springs. You'll ride on dirt for part of the way -- on a road carved into decomposed-granite soil, which sheds rain easily and dries quickly.

You can begin this ride at the Lost Valley Road (formerly Indian Flats Road) turnoff along Highway 79, 1.6 miles west of Warner Springs. The first few miles are steadily uphill on Lost Valley Road's narrow, sometimes coiling strip of pavement. The steady ascent takes you through low scrub-brush at first, then through a more interesting mix of ribbonwood and manzanita chaparral. The road swings northeast and then north, and off to the right you get a view of Hot Springs Mountain (highest peak in San Diego County at 6533 feet), looming in the east, about 4 miles away.

After 4 miles you reach an elevation near 4000 feet, where you see, but never approach closely, statuesque Coulter pines on the ridge above. At 6.3 miles, Lost Valley Road veers left and dives down to Indian Flats Campground, a good spot to fill water bottles.

Back at the 6.3-mile mark, a poor dirt road branches north. Take this road and continue north and northwest, staying right at the next fork 0.3 mile ahead. You then descend slightly to where you must cross the willow- and sycamore-lined San Luis Rey River -- definitely a wet, muddy passage, assuming decent rains arrive this season. There's a nice spot for a rest or a picnic just downstream, where the stream cascades over polished rock slabs.

After the stream crossing, you ride uphill along an oak-shaded ravine, and then much more steeply up a chaparral-covered hillside to a 4368-foot summit. The view from there extends across miles of virtually untouched open space. Next, a mile of descent brings you to the paved but very sparsely traveled Chihuahua Valley Road. Turn left and make a breezy descent to Highway 79. Turn left again, climb two miles to the community of Sunshine Summit, and complete the remaining miles of your trip on the gradually descending grade of Highway 79.

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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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