“A fast descent into the valley, across the San Diego River, then a technical climb up Eagle Peak for the bomb back down.”
— Sean Davidson
Hikers require a pass to go to Cedar Creek Falls, bikers going up Eagle Peak do not.
This ride uses a little-known fun trail called the San Diego River Gorge Trail #2e04
that starts at the Cedar Creek Falls trailhead in Ramona at San Diego Country Estates. A pass is required for going to the falls, but not required if passing through and going up to the saddle on Eagle Peak Road
. The trail down is busier on weekends with hikers going to the falls, especially in winter months and spring when the falls are flowing.
Need to Know
Bring plenty of water as it gets hot in the valley over the summer months, sometimes 115 degrees when the top is 90 degrees. Watch for hikers on the initial San Diego River Gorge Trail #2e04
descent—it's their trail first, so don't contribute to it being closed to bikers by getting crazy stupid. Save that for the Eagle Peak side.
Watch for snakes, a popular home to Pacific and Western rattlers and some weird red, black, and white snake. This is a fun trail but warning: be fit for the climbs, you'll ascend and descend around 2,000 feet over the nine miles. Another plus for endurance freaks, you can go all the way to Julian from the saddle, then circle around back to Three Sisters to make this an epic ride.
From the start, the San Diego River Gorge Trail #2e04
drops about 900 feet over the first two miles. It then crosses the river, which is usually dry unless the winter brings good rain, where you go left at the falls intersection up to the saddle on Eagle Peak Road
The climb to the saddle is a gain of about 1,800 feet of somewhat technical singletrack over 2.5 miles with great views and you get a chance to see what you'll be riding down. Eagle Peak is a less traveled route for hikers, which is great news for bikers.
Once at the saddle, called Saddleback, you'll find a small parking area. From here, you could continue on Eagle Peak Road
to Three Sisters falls, another six-mile out and back with a gain of an additional 1,000 feet of climbing over three miles. Or, from Saddleback, turn around and bomb down Eagle Peak for a black diamond ride of pure joy, taking care not to endo and fall off the side of the mountain. The drops can be up to 400 feet with no coming back.
Once down and when the rush wears off, climb back up the San Diego River Gorge Trail #2e04
from the intersection to go to Cedar Falls, back to your start. The total out-and-back is approximately nine miles. You'll not regret the drive to Ramona for this ride. Full suspension is recommended but it can be done on a hardtail, just not as fun.