Noble Canyon Round Trip

Consensus:    (details)
  4.7 from 9 votes
black  Difficult from 6 votes
Rank: #2 in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park area
#20 in CA, #187 Overall
Views: 3,897. Last 30 days: 260
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Featured Ride in the area near Pine Valley,
“A great half day work out with the technically challenging Noble Canyon singletrack.”
Jost Diederichs on Aug 28, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
18.429.7 milesKilometers 2,702’824 m Ascent 5,531’1,686 m High 6% Avg Grade (3°)
60% Singletrack -2,719’-829 m Descent 3,690’1,125 m Low 26% Max Grade (14°)
Overview
2:12 average time for 17.1 miles. Details

A paved fire road (closed to motorized vehicles) connects the bottom Noble Canyon trailhead with the top. The return is pure singletrack down Noble Canyon. There a a couple of miles rather technical sections. Carry your bike on those if you care.
Need To Know
You can buy the "Adventure Pass" at the general store in Pine Valley - it is required to park at the trailhead. It costs $5 for a day.

Many people shuttle this ride, starting from the Big Laguna Campground off of Sunrise highway. That's definitely a good option as well, but it's a loop as mapped.
Description
You simply follow the paved road all the way until it ends at the Sunrise Highway. About half way there is a sharp right turn (a beautiful shade tree on the left - nice resting place). At this turn you could also go straight onto the Indian Trail, which ends on the Noble Canyon trail near the top.

Once you arrive at the Sunrise Highway, turn right and you'll find the upper Noble Canyon trailhead after about 1/2 a mile. Noble Canyon starts out fairly smooth with a slight climb. With the technical challenges kept to a minimum it's possible to enjoy the long views across the mountains.

You'll cross Pine Creek Road a couple of times along with the intersection to Indian Creek. This intersection is important when riding the Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon - IMBA Epic.

The smooth and fast descent continues until you reach a horse gate. The route becomes much more technical here as it enters the canyon and transitions from forest to chaparral. The trail texture changes to blocky rocks and drops. If you can handle it, speed and momentum is helpful through this kind of terrain.

When the terrain and vegetation changes again from chaparral to desert, the trail narrows and becomes more exposed above the canyon floor. The route is mostly descending with a few short climbs and includes two highly regarded rocky, technical sections: Stairway to Hell and Roman Road.

Towards the bottom of Noble Canyon, the trail will come to an intersection. Turn left here to take a longer route back to the Lower Noble Canyon Trailhead (Pine Creek Picnic Area). This section is smooth with a gradual climb and descent.
Contacts
Land Manager: USFS - Cleveland National Forest Office
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COMMENTS
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PHOTOS of Noble Canyon Round Trip
  4.5 from 25 votes
The Roman Road on lower Noble Canyon (Pine Valley, CA)
  3.8 from 5 votes
Upper reaches of the Noble Canyon trail. (Pine Valley, CA)
  3.6 from 5 votes
The lower reaches of the Noble Canyon trail travel through the desert. (Pine Valley, CA)
  3.4 from 5 votes
The Widow Maker (Pine Valley, CA)
  2.8 from 5 votes
Real food for a really big ride at Noble Canyon (Pine Valley, CA)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Vista from the fire road, looking towards Indian Creek (Pine Valley, CA)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Vista from the fire road (Pine Valley, CA)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Upper fire road, inside pine forest. (Pine Valley, CA)