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Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon

 13 votes

29.0 Miles 46.7 Kilometers



3,815' 1,163 m


-3,821' -1,165 m


5,524' 1,684 m


3,947' 1,203 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (9°)



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

Leslie Kehmeier


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.
Dogs: Leashed

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.


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4.2 from 13 votes

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Jan 26, 2017
Wyll Miranda
Dec 14, 2016
Jim Dover
Cool ride. There was a forestry guy working the upper part, clearing brush in an area that seemed not to need it. At least not yet. 27mi — 3h 13m
Apr 12, 2015
Javier Velazquez-Muriel
29mi — 5h 40m
Sep 1, 2014
Suki Dawg
Up the canyon and down the paved road 9mi
Mar 11, 2014
Escko lecharmant

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Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 13 votes


  4.2 from 13 votes
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did this about 2 summers ago had a Blast just built up my old stumpjumper rode my full on DH from Penny Pines trail head and was EPIC was abit of a struggle when above the creek but not bad had a blast hopefully after i see the Sd KC game maybe i can get a shuttle run in that next morning and head out back to LA after i fill up my growler at Karls S. i give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars i compare it to our long ride here in socal called JPL Mnt Wilson/Mnt Lowe long with some pedal in between but slightly more DH friendly than Nobel but overal EPIC trail Nov 13, 2015

see you there! Nov 16, 2015
As given, this route climbs up a portion of the Noble Canyon trail; but does not descend this epic downhill. I've ridden these trails several times. It really is missing out on the downhill. But is a great, and hard core, cross country ride. Feb 12, 2017

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