Rancho Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve including Del Mar Mesa Preserve and Carmel Mountain Preserve - City of San Diego
(mostly beginner and intermediate trails, 145 trails, 86 miles)
Los Penasquitos Canyon (affectionately known ats PQ) is one of the premiere canyons that stretch throughout most of San Diego County. There are endless variations for rides across all three preserves here that combine fire road and singletrack. The classic beginner loop stays in the canyon bottom and is about 13 miles long with less than 300 feet of climbing. Great for novice riders, familes and kids! Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve East-West trail provides access to the majority of the Preserve's trails.
For a basic route, start at the Penasquitos Creek Park parking area and head west. The trail will wind around the creek and end at the highway. There are several creek tributaries you can cross along the trail. At the highway you cross the overpass and return on the South side of the creek heading East.
For more exploring of the adjacent Del Mar Mesa Preserve and Carmel Mountain Preserve, head north up the Powerline Climb, take a trip on Bowtie to Tunnel 4 and head down towards Deer Creek. There are several options to explore the "Tunnels" area. One option to climb back up to the Mesa via Switchback Trail. Head west if you wish to explore Carmel Mountain Preserve.
Please obey all posted signage and stay on designated routes. Please respect all closures as access in this area for mountain bikes has been years in the making. Read more about advocacy efforts that have improved trail access in this area.
In wet weather, the canyon trails can be closed temporarily. For trail updates/temporary closures please call the Park Ranger Office at (858) 538-8066
Trailforks Region Overview
New 2020 Trail Map (shown below) that includes PQ Canyon, Del Mar Mesa Preserve and Carmel Mountain Preserve
Rancho Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Loop - MTB Project Link
City of San Diego PQ Webpage
*EBikes are allowed on non-motorized trails in areas managed by the City of San Diego.