City Escape: San Diego, California

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This exhilarating day ride emanating from San Diego comes within a quarter mile of the Mexican border at its southernmost point and reaches an elevation of almost 6,000 feet to the north in Mount Laguna. In addition to the elevation and terrain changes, this route has the added attraction of a total avoidance of freeway miles.

Length

Approximately 125 miles

Meet-up Spot

Starbucks, 2986 Jamacha Rd, San Diego, CA, (619) 670-0108.

Lunch Stop

Pine House Cafe & Tavern, 9849 Sunrise Hwy, Mt. Laguna, CA, (619) 473-8857.Delectable comfort food and friendly service are on the menu at the “high point” of this great ride.

Scenery (5 out of 5)

The southern section of the ride offers rugged desert and chaparral environs. The northern arc is replete with mountain lakes and alpine vistas.

Traffic (4 out of 5)

This is an “off the beaten path” excursion. However, the western portion of the loop includes more of the typical San Diego traffic load.

Difficulty (4 out of 5)

The northeastern leg of the escape is arguably the most visually stunning but also the most demanding part of the ride. It is winding and there are numerous side roads.

Road Conditions (3 out of 5)

This route has frequent pavement fluctuations. You will ride on cement-based (light-colored) road, intermixed with tar-based (darker) macadam. The mountain areas do not consistently have guardrails.