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Ride snow-patched pine forests to fiery high desert canyons; a feast of Southern California terrain

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5,519' 1,682 m


3,956' 1,206 m


3,485' 1,062 m


3,495' 1,065 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed


This IMBA Epic unfolds in the Cleveland National Forest near the former gold mining town of Julian, California. It connects trails established centuries ago by the Kumeyaay Indians, and crosses into the awe-inspiring Noble Canyon. From snow-patched pine forests to fiery high desert canyons, riders will experience the full range of California terrain and climactic conditions.

The ride is a mix of singletrack, fire road, steep climbs, technical descents, all taking place in the mountains and deserts near Julian, CA.

Need to Know

Snow may be present at higher elevations during the winter. Summer months mean hot temperatures over the entire route.


From west to east, the Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon Epic ride is a link up of East Mesa Fire Road, Deer Park Trail, Indian Creek Trail and the upper reaches of Noble Canyon Trail.

The route begins and ends at the horse parking area in Cuyamaca State Park. Ride East Mesa Fire Road south along Hwy 79 to a left turn and the start of a good climb. The last bit of the road will be rolling before intersecting Granite Spring section going left.

The route turns to singletrack and rolls up and down through a meadow before the intersection with Deer Park trail. Stay to the right here and enjoy a descent through pines and scrub brush.

Somewhere around the 9 mile mark, you reach the boundary of Cuyamaca State Park and Cleveland National Forest. You'll cross through a cattle gate and then be faced with a rude (steep) climb. Deer Park Trail changes to Indian Spring Trail here. Pedaling up the steep grade will bring you to an intersection with Pine Mountain trail.

Stay right at the junction for a descent to Noble Canyon trail. The respite from climbing is over once you bear left onto Noble Canyon and start climbing again to the Penny Pines trailhead on Sunrise Highway. This is a good place to stop, rest and refuel before continuing with the route.

From the trailhead, ride the highway to the northwest for about 2 miles. Turn left into the Pioneer Mail Picnic Area and access the Pine Mountain trail.

If you haven't had your fill of climbing at this point, there's more ahead. Be prepared for technical uphill travel on singletrack. At least you'll be rewarded with some great views of the surrounding mountains.

As the ride tops out, you'll finish the loop portion of this lollipop ride and then retrace the route back on Indian Creek, Deer Park, and East Mesa Road.


Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier with improvements by Susie Murphy

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 18 votes


  4.2 from 18 votes
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in California


73 Views Last Month
19,109 Since Apr 19, 2013
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Upper reaches of the Noble Canyon trail.
Apr 19, 2013 near Pine Va…, CA
Noble Canyon
May 8, 2018 near Pine Va…, CA
Panorama looking toward Champagne Pass from Pine Mountain Trail
Jun 1, 2013 near Pine Va…, CA
The intersection of Noble Canyon trail and Indian Creek trail
Nov 5, 2017 near Pine Va…, CA
Real food for a really big ride at Noble Canyon
Apr 19, 2013 near Pine Va…, CA
panoramic view of the location
Jun 1, 2013 near Pine Va…, CA


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Dec 8, 2022
Scott Norris
Oct 23, 2021
Scuba Steve
Great views! Lots of climbing, more than what's on the app. Old school singletrack. Remote, not many people. Watch for people descending Noble Canyon. 31.7mi — 4h 04m
Aug 13, 2021
Maurice P
My Strava shows about 900 feet more climbing than listed on MTB Project. This ride is a beast! 30.9mi — 4h 51m
Jun 16, 2020
Chris Adams
Trail is in good condition. Some run off damage but not too bad.
Jun 14, 2019
Mark Slovak
Sep 27, 2018
Jay Dawg
Cuyamaca to Noble, sweet ride mang!
Feb 4, 2018
Fulvio Capitanio
Legs are used more than the brakes on this ride. Great cross country sortie. 32mi — 4h 15m
Jan 26, 2017
Wyll Miranda

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