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De Luz Bike Ride

The sinuously curving rural roads on the far (north) side of Fallbrook offer a significant challenge to bicycle riders. Thirty or 40 years ago, the brushy hills and wooded backcountry canyons between Fallbrook and Temecula were sparsely inhabited. Today, palatial homes perch amid the avocado and citrus groves that blanket the area. Still, the rural traffic remains fairly light, and some of the oak-shaded canyons remain pristine. Observe the following directions to trace an almost-never-flat 26-mile tour of the region. Be sure to use a bike with a low set of gears and good brakes, and take along food and water for a minimum three- or four-hour trek. Be sure to pick a cool day, or else limit your riding to the cool and early part of the typical summer day.

Start riding in Fallbrook by going north on Pico Avenue, north of Mission Road. Pico quickly becomes De Luz Road, and you coast down a twisting section of road in an oak-lined ravine. At the bottom of the grade, veer left, staying on De Luz Road, which follows the Santa Margarita River. After a mile, you cross the river to begin a vigorous climb to a divide. Gliding down the other side, you dip into the first of the many small, shady ravines you’ll cross or follow in the next few miles. Here and there, live oak trees arch overhead to form a cool canopy, penetrated by shafts of sunlight. Elsewhere, out in the open, vistas south and west reveal the rugged hills of Camp Pendleton’s interior.

Some seven miles from Fallbrook, the road makes a decided curve to the north and starts following the east bank of De Luz Creek, a tributary of the Santa Margarita River. Presently, you come to small cluster of old houses, which is De Luz proper. While De Luz is possibly the county’s smallest community today, sufficient population in the late 1800s warranted the establishment of a post office here.

At the road fork just beyond De Luz, bear right on De Luz–Murrieta Road. The old De Luz schoolhouse stands on the right, with the brooding Santa Margarita Mountains forming a backdrop in the west, rising to elevations of over 3000 feet.

You make a steady ascent on De Luz–Murrieta Road, often passing by dense growths of live oak. You’ll ford De Luz Creek several times, mostly on concrete dips. If these crossings are wet and slippery, beware of potential spills.

Ahead, the road climbs abruptly to pass over a saddle. Down the other side you join the bottom of Sandia Creek, another south-flowing tributary of the Santa Margarita River. Again, there is a delightful promenade of oak trees — and more fords. Presently the road bends sharply right and ascends steeply for 0.6 mile to the intersection of Carancho Road. Turn right there, go 0.4 mile, and turn right on El Prado Road. Continue for about 0.7 mile to a summit affording a good view of the surrounding area. Then descend to Sandia Creek Drive, where you turn right.

Ahead there’s mostly downhill riding and one significant climb — a short, but gut-busting effort followed by a radically steep descent (use those good brakes to keep your speed down!). At the next major intersection, stay right, cross the Santa Margarita River, and then follow the river bank toward De Luz Road and the one-mile climb back up to Fallbrook.

De Luz Bike Ride
Explore the hills and dales of Fallbrook’s backcountry on two wheels.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 55 miles
Biking length: 26 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous

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The sinuously curving rural roads on the far (north) side of Fallbrook offer a significant challenge to bicycle riders. Thirty or 40 years ago, the brushy hills and wooded backcountry canyons between Fallbrook and Temecula were sparsely inhabited. Today, palatial homes perch amid the avocado and citrus groves that blanket the area. Still, the rural traffic remains fairly light, and some of the oak-shaded canyons remain pristine. Observe the following directions to trace an almost-never-flat 26-mile tour of the region. Be sure to use a bike with a low set of gears and good brakes, and take along food and water for a minimum three- or four-hour trek. Be sure to pick a cool day, or else limit your riding to the cool and early part of the typical summer day.

Start riding in Fallbrook by going north on Pico Avenue, north of Mission Road. Pico quickly becomes De Luz Road, and you coast down a twisting section of road in an oak-lined ravine. At the bottom of the grade, veer left, staying on De Luz Road, which follows the Santa Margarita River. After a mile, you cross the river to begin a vigorous climb to a divide. Gliding down the other side, you dip into the first of the many small, shady ravines you’ll cross or follow in the next few miles. Here and there, live oak trees arch overhead to form a cool canopy, penetrated by shafts of sunlight. Elsewhere, out in the open, vistas south and west reveal the rugged hills of Camp Pendleton’s interior.

Some seven miles from Fallbrook, the road makes a decided curve to the north and starts following the east bank of De Luz Creek, a tributary of the Santa Margarita River. Presently, you come to small cluster of old houses, which is De Luz proper. While De Luz is possibly the county’s smallest community today, sufficient population in the late 1800s warranted the establishment of a post office here.

At the road fork just beyond De Luz, bear right on De Luz–Murrieta Road. The old De Luz schoolhouse stands on the right, with the brooding Santa Margarita Mountains forming a backdrop in the west, rising to elevations of over 3000 feet.

You make a steady ascent on De Luz–Murrieta Road, often passing by dense growths of live oak. You’ll ford De Luz Creek several times, mostly on concrete dips. If these crossings are wet and slippery, beware of potential spills.

Ahead, the road climbs abruptly to pass over a saddle. Down the other side you join the bottom of Sandia Creek, another south-flowing tributary of the Santa Margarita River. Again, there is a delightful promenade of oak trees — and more fords. Presently the road bends sharply right and ascends steeply for 0.6 mile to the intersection of Carancho Road. Turn right there, go 0.4 mile, and turn right on El Prado Road. Continue for about 0.7 mile to a summit affording a good view of the surrounding area. Then descend to Sandia Creek Drive, where you turn right.

Ahead there’s mostly downhill riding and one significant climb — a short, but gut-busting effort followed by a radically steep descent (use those good brakes to keep your speed down!). At the next major intersection, stay right, cross the Santa Margarita River, and then follow the river bank toward De Luz Road and the one-mile climb back up to Fallbrook.

De Luz Bike Ride
Explore the hills and dales of Fallbrook’s backcountry on two wheels.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 55 miles
Biking length: 26 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous

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Comments
1

As a De Luz resident I have to warn riders of the extreme danger of this route. There are no bike lanes or shoulders, and cars and large trucks often cut the corners close. The presence of many beer bottles on the side of the road shows that not all drivers are paying the attention they should. This is a beautiful place but definitely not a very safe place for bicyclists, please use extreme caution, drivers here are not expecting you around the next bend.

July 3, 2008

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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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