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Hike under a 400-foot-high bridge carrying I-8 traffic over the gorge of Pine Valley Creek.

Starting from the spacious Pine Creek Trailhead outside Pine Valley, the Secret Canyon Trail weaves and bobs its way along the canyon of Pine Valley Creek, finally emerging some 15 miles later at Horsethief Canyon, near Barrett Lake. Just 2 miles down this trail, you can experience an ant's eye view of the surrealistically lofty Pine Valley bridge, built in the mid-1970s over the deep gorge of Pine Valley Creek.

From a point on Old Highway 80, west of Pine Valley and partway up the grade toward Guatay (precisely at mile-marker 3.5), turn south onto the narrow trailhead-access road. Drive for about a minute to its end. Note that the trailhead and the trail are in Cleveland National Forest, so you will need to display a National Forest Adventure Pass on your car for the privilege of parking (call 619-445-8341 for more information).

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Pick up the trail at the far end of the trailhead parking lot and descend to Pine Valley Creek, where you cross ankle-deep water to reach the oak-lined east bank. Here and farther downstream, the white blossoms of yerba mansa and fluorescent-pink blooms of wild rose should put on a good show for the next couple of months. Due to the late rains, the chaparral on the slopes above should bloom best later this month, with blue- and white-blossoming ceanothus highlighting the variegated display.

After almost two miles on the east bank, you pass directly under Interstate 8's Pine Valley Bridge. Supported by four massive pillars, this is the tallest bridge (400+ feet) on the interstate highway system. Past the bridge, the trail enters the Pine Creek Wilderness, a remote, roadless area of the Cleveland National Forest more popular of late with illegal immigrants sneaking northward than recreational hikers.

Small, rock-bound pools can be found in the bed of the stream in the mile or so beyond the bridge -- good for soaking your feet, at least.

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Starting from the spacious Pine Creek Trailhead outside Pine Valley, the Secret Canyon Trail weaves and bobs its way along the canyon of Pine Valley Creek, finally emerging some 15 miles later at Horsethief Canyon, near Barrett Lake. Just 2 miles down this trail, you can experience an ant's eye view of the surrealistically lofty Pine Valley bridge, built in the mid-1970s over the deep gorge of Pine Valley Creek.

From a point on Old Highway 80, west of Pine Valley and partway up the grade toward Guatay (precisely at mile-marker 3.5), turn south onto the narrow trailhead-access road. Drive for about a minute to its end. Note that the trailhead and the trail are in Cleveland National Forest, so you will need to display a National Forest Adventure Pass on your car for the privilege of parking (call 619-445-8341 for more information).

Sponsored
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Pick up the trail at the far end of the trailhead parking lot and descend to Pine Valley Creek, where you cross ankle-deep water to reach the oak-lined east bank. Here and farther downstream, the white blossoms of yerba mansa and fluorescent-pink blooms of wild rose should put on a good show for the next couple of months. Due to the late rains, the chaparral on the slopes above should bloom best later this month, with blue- and white-blossoming ceanothus highlighting the variegated display.

After almost two miles on the east bank, you pass directly under Interstate 8's Pine Valley Bridge. Supported by four massive pillars, this is the tallest bridge (400+ feet) on the interstate highway system. Past the bridge, the trail enters the Pine Creek Wilderness, a remote, roadless area of the Cleveland National Forest more popular of late with illegal immigrants sneaking northward than recreational hikers.

Small, rock-bound pools can be found in the bed of the stream in the mile or so beyond the bridge -- good for soaking your feet, at least.

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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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