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Steer your mountain bike over 20 miles of rural roads southwest of Julian - near Eagle Peak and Cedar Creek.

Real mountain bikers don't putter around on pavement, which is why (if you identify with this description) you should try the following route on mostly dirt roads through the western foothills of the Cuyamaca Mountains. Allow three hours (or maybe a whole lot longer if you're inexperienced, out of shape, or want to stop for breaks) for the 20-mile loop trip shown on the map. You'll gain and lose a total of 3200 feet of elevation. Pack along two or more filled water bottles, and pocket plenty of quick-energy snacks to stave off fatigue.

From Highway 78 west of Julian, drive south on Pine Hills Road, Eagle Peak Road, and finally Boulder Creek Road to reach a convenient starting point -- the Pine Hills ranger station parking lot at Boulder Creek and Engineers Roads (take a Thomas Brothers map for this tricky bit of navigation). Alternately, drive west on Engineers Road from Highway 79 at Cuyamaca Reservoir to reach the same point.

From the ranger station, the first segment of the trip (5 miles) takes you south down the graded Boulder Creek Road, through pines and chaparral, to a sharp hairpin curve, where Cedar Creek Road intersects and heads west.

Segment two (four miles) on Cedar Creek Road takes you down along an oak-shaded stream and through a gorge that cuts ever deeper and more sharply into the bedrock of the Cuyamaca foothills. This primitive and occasionally deeply rutted dirt road is a kick for both four-wheelers and mountain bikers. At the bottom of the grade you cross Cedar Creek, full of clear-flowing water. A steep little climb ensues, taking you up to Eagle Peak Road. If you make a short side trip down the old dirt road to the left (now the trail to Cedar Creek Falls), you'll catch a distant view to the north of Mildred Falls, arguably the county's highest at 100-plus feet. After this year's poor rainfall, those falls may be little more than a dark stain on a cliff.

Segment three (eight miles) of the ride consists of an inexorable uphill grind on Eagle Peak Road -- first on unimproved dirt, later on graded dirt. You're home free when you reach the pavement on Eagle Peak Road. Turn right at the next intersection of paved roads and enjoy the fourth and final segment (three miles), a mostly downhill glide back to your starting point at the ranger station.

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Real mountain bikers don't putter around on pavement, which is why (if you identify with this description) you should try the following route on mostly dirt roads through the western foothills of the Cuyamaca Mountains. Allow three hours (or maybe a whole lot longer if you're inexperienced, out of shape, or want to stop for breaks) for the 20-mile loop trip shown on the map. You'll gain and lose a total of 3200 feet of elevation. Pack along two or more filled water bottles, and pocket plenty of quick-energy snacks to stave off fatigue.

From Highway 78 west of Julian, drive south on Pine Hills Road, Eagle Peak Road, and finally Boulder Creek Road to reach a convenient starting point -- the Pine Hills ranger station parking lot at Boulder Creek and Engineers Roads (take a Thomas Brothers map for this tricky bit of navigation). Alternately, drive west on Engineers Road from Highway 79 at Cuyamaca Reservoir to reach the same point.

From the ranger station, the first segment of the trip (5 miles) takes you south down the graded Boulder Creek Road, through pines and chaparral, to a sharp hairpin curve, where Cedar Creek Road intersects and heads west.

Segment two (four miles) on Cedar Creek Road takes you down along an oak-shaded stream and through a gorge that cuts ever deeper and more sharply into the bedrock of the Cuyamaca foothills. This primitive and occasionally deeply rutted dirt road is a kick for both four-wheelers and mountain bikers. At the bottom of the grade you cross Cedar Creek, full of clear-flowing water. A steep little climb ensues, taking you up to Eagle Peak Road. If you make a short side trip down the old dirt road to the left (now the trail to Cedar Creek Falls), you'll catch a distant view to the north of Mildred Falls, arguably the county's highest at 100-plus feet. After this year's poor rainfall, those falls may be little more than a dark stain on a cliff.

Segment three (eight miles) of the ride consists of an inexorable uphill grind on Eagle Peak Road -- first on unimproved dirt, later on graded dirt. You're home free when you reach the pavement on Eagle Peak Road. Turn right at the next intersection of paved roads and enjoy the fourth and final segment (three miles), a mostly downhill glide back to your starting point at the ranger station.

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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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