Quantcast
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

Ranch Guejito opens doors to San Diego mountain bikers

Dirt roads were used by the original ranch hands circa 1845.

Anderson Homestead, built in the 1870s
Anderson Homestead, built in the 1870s

On Saturday, March 16th, the San Diego Mountain Bike Association’s Ride the Rancho event gave cyclists a rare opportunity to explore a property where visitors are seldom permitted, Rancho Guejito.

The ranch is an enormous expanse (36 square miles) of fenced, privately owned land that lies in Valley Center, northwest of Ramona and stretches up past state Route 76. On the southern end, the region sits in close proximity to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (western border) and Cleveland National Forest (eastern border.) Even though the ranch’s vineyard tasting room can be reached via state Route 78, ticket holders for this event entered the ranch further north at a location closer to Lake Wohlford.

Maxcy Winery could be San Diego’s oldest winery.

The entrance was unique in its own right. All visiting automobiles had to go through a tire wash (basically a two-part bath of sitting water) before entering the ranch. According to Cayley Rasmussen, who does marketing and media work for the ranch’s winery, this was primarily a safety precaution to keep foreign contaminants away from the ranch’s cattle. She added that they debated requiring the bike tires to go through the same procedure. They eventually decided against it because the copper-based solution that cleaned the tires could have been harmful to certain bicycle components.

The precautions at the gate weren’t surprising as the ranch is known for being untouched by time. Besides the vehicles (which on this day even included a helicopter giving random tours) the area seemed trapped in a past era. In 1845,the property was given to Jose Maria Orozco as a Mexican land grant. Since then, the land has stayed true to its original purpose— to be farmed and ranched. There have been a couple of nearby land acquisitions that have increased the amount of property, but, besides that, little has changed on the rancho.

Cyclists did not have to use the tire wash.

According to Rasmussen, the dirt roads designated for the bike ride were the same ones that were used by the original ranch hands circa 1845. She added that they “pre-date California statehood.” The single-lane roads got crowded at points during the approximately two-hour long ride, as there were over 200 participants trying to keep pace through the ranch. The terrain was what you would expect near Ramona on a sunny, March day about a week removed from rain—packed dirt mixed with loose and sandy conditions complimented by the occasional creek crossing.

But the actual riding took a definitive backseat to the scenery on this occasion. Much of the ranch land that we rode through had a similar feel to the meadows on top of Mt. Laguna. There were plenty of rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. No random hikers or modern campsites out here though. There were only two structures that we ran across during the ride, and both of them were in severe disrepair. The first was the Anderson Homestead which was built in the 1870s. Fire damage has left it with only a few standing walls.

The second was the slightly less dilapidated Maxcy Winery. It’s a fascinating remnant that, similar to the Anderson Homestead, is a rare peek back into 1800s California. Two years after its construction in 1850, Asher Maxcy was yielding 8-10 tons of grapes per acre on his 1500 acres. Rasmussen explained that it was “at one time one of the largest commercial wine producers in southern California,” and added that it could be San Diego’s oldest winery.

“Basically, Maxcy had [the winery] until about 1902,” Hank Rupp, the ranch’s Chief Operations Officer explained to me. “He died then and he willed it to his daughter. His daughter was fine. She was married to a guy who was cool, but he died. So she married a guy who was a prohibitionist and he shut the whole thing down.”

The day ended on a very non-prohibitionist note with beer and house wine complimented by live music and a barbeque dinner. After eating, I asked Rupp if there had ever been a previous occasion in which visitors were able to hike or bike through the property.

“Nope. Never,” was his response. “Not without being arrested.”

He seemed pleased with how the event had turned out and hinted that it might lead to future occasions in which outsiders would be invited to explore the property. Rasmussen and winemaker Chris Broomell told me that they are always getting requests from tasting room visitors for access to the property.

“The big thing about it is we wanted to be a little bit less of an enigma and a little bit more open to the public,” Rupp said.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Can You Escape?, Vote Ready Concert, I Love a Clean San Diego

Events August 13-August 15, 2020
Next Article

Tennis with François Truffaut and Donal Logue

The film is helped immensely by casting four leads to play their own tennis
Anderson Homestead, built in the 1870s
Anderson Homestead, built in the 1870s

On Saturday, March 16th, the San Diego Mountain Bike Association’s Ride the Rancho event gave cyclists a rare opportunity to explore a property where visitors are seldom permitted, Rancho Guejito.

The ranch is an enormous expanse (36 square miles) of fenced, privately owned land that lies in Valley Center, northwest of Ramona and stretches up past state Route 76. On the southern end, the region sits in close proximity to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (western border) and Cleveland National Forest (eastern border.) Even though the ranch’s vineyard tasting room can be reached via state Route 78, ticket holders for this event entered the ranch further north at a location closer to Lake Wohlford.

Maxcy Winery could be San Diego’s oldest winery.

The entrance was unique in its own right. All visiting automobiles had to go through a tire wash (basically a two-part bath of sitting water) before entering the ranch. According to Cayley Rasmussen, who does marketing and media work for the ranch’s winery, this was primarily a safety precaution to keep foreign contaminants away from the ranch’s cattle. She added that they debated requiring the bike tires to go through the same procedure. They eventually decided against it because the copper-based solution that cleaned the tires could have been harmful to certain bicycle components.

The precautions at the gate weren’t surprising as the ranch is known for being untouched by time. Besides the vehicles (which on this day even included a helicopter giving random tours) the area seemed trapped in a past era. In 1845,the property was given to Jose Maria Orozco as a Mexican land grant. Since then, the land has stayed true to its original purpose— to be farmed and ranched. There have been a couple of nearby land acquisitions that have increased the amount of property, but, besides that, little has changed on the rancho.

Cyclists did not have to use the tire wash.

According to Rasmussen, the dirt roads designated for the bike ride were the same ones that were used by the original ranch hands circa 1845. She added that they “pre-date California statehood.” The single-lane roads got crowded at points during the approximately two-hour long ride, as there were over 200 participants trying to keep pace through the ranch. The terrain was what you would expect near Ramona on a sunny, March day about a week removed from rain—packed dirt mixed with loose and sandy conditions complimented by the occasional creek crossing.

But the actual riding took a definitive backseat to the scenery on this occasion. Much of the ranch land that we rode through had a similar feel to the meadows on top of Mt. Laguna. There were plenty of rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. No random hikers or modern campsites out here though. There were only two structures that we ran across during the ride, and both of them were in severe disrepair. The first was the Anderson Homestead which was built in the 1870s. Fire damage has left it with only a few standing walls.

The second was the slightly less dilapidated Maxcy Winery. It’s a fascinating remnant that, similar to the Anderson Homestead, is a rare peek back into 1800s California. Two years after its construction in 1850, Asher Maxcy was yielding 8-10 tons of grapes per acre on his 1500 acres. Rasmussen explained that it was “at one time one of the largest commercial wine producers in southern California,” and added that it could be San Diego’s oldest winery.

“Basically, Maxcy had [the winery] until about 1902,” Hank Rupp, the ranch’s Chief Operations Officer explained to me. “He died then and he willed it to his daughter. His daughter was fine. She was married to a guy who was cool, but he died. So she married a guy who was a prohibitionist and he shut the whole thing down.”

The day ended on a very non-prohibitionist note with beer and house wine complimented by live music and a barbeque dinner. After eating, I asked Rupp if there had ever been a previous occasion in which visitors were able to hike or bike through the property.

“Nope. Never,” was his response. “Not without being arrested.”

He seemed pleased with how the event had turned out and hinted that it might lead to future occasions in which outsiders would be invited to explore the property. Rasmussen and winemaker Chris Broomell told me that they are always getting requests from tasting room visitors for access to the property.

“The big thing about it is we wanted to be a little bit less of an enigma and a little bit more open to the public,” Rupp said.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Black Lives Matter offshoot chooses street outside Police Headquarters for street mural

Placing the BLAME
Next Article

Song Without a Name: gone baby gone

Melina León finds horror in an environment usually associated with safety and nurturing.
Comments
2

Having that ranch open up to a bunch of bicyclists is most unexpected. Who'd a thunk it? For the past many years the owners came across as hostile to the public, and had proposed developing part of the property. When that didn't go over well, the negative vibes increased. If you were part of that group, consider yourself lucky to see the terrain; very few folks have unless they have flown over it.

March 25, 2019

All the riders seemed to realize that the event might be a once in a lifetime occurrence. They were definitely appreciative to be given the opportunity to explore the ranch. It really was an amazing day. Abundant sunshine after weeks of clouds and rain as well. The prior bad weather was good luck for me. We were moving the weekend it was originally supposed to take place...the storms shifted it to a weekend that actually worked for me!

March 25, 2019

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close