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blueBlack Horned Lizzard to Whiptail Loop

  3.8 ( 5 ) Favorite

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5.4 mile 8.7 kilometer loop
95% Singletrack


Ascent: 730' 222 m
Descent: -729' -222 m
High: 1,023' 312 m
Low: 387' 118 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)


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Trail shared by Kurt Davey

A quick ride in La Costa Preserve with an easy warm up from the southwest side.

Kurt Davey

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

These trails are in the La Costa Habitat Restoration Preserve area. Please stay on the designated trails so as not to disrupt the habitat.


This is a great 60 minute +/- after work/school lollipop ride on the west and south sides of Denk Mountain in the La Costa Habitat Preserve.

Park and access the trails at the trailhead signs near the top of Avenida Diestro Street. Stay left on the Diestro Connector ending with a mild climb to the Powerline Access Road (1 mile). Ride a couple hundred feet south on the road to the trailhead sign. Stay to the left to access Horned Lizard and climb to the top (2 miles). Descend the south side of the hill on Whiptail Loop Trail (2 miles).

Need to Know

This network of trails is in the La Costa Habitat Preserve. Please stay on the trails so as not to damage the surrounding habitat.


This ride has a nice 1 mile warm-up around the back of the Circulo Sequoia neighborhood ending in a mild, straight climb to the the Powerline Access Road. The climb up Horned Lizard begins with a traverse along the west side of the hill before turning upwards though a series of switchbacks. It's rocky and rutted out in spots with a few short but steep sections that will challenge intermediate riders.

MTB etiquette asks that you please stay on the trails through the more difficult sections so as not to widen the trail around obstacles.

There is a shade structure and MTB repair station at the top. Take a break and enjoy the 360-degree views of the ocean, lagoon and San Diego North County. On clear days, you can see Downtown San Diego, La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Black Mountain, Palomar Mountain, and even Catalina and San Clemente Islands.

The descent on Whiptail Loop Trail starts out easy and gets progressively more difficult though the middle section of the trail. This trail was rutted out pretty badly during the heavy rains in 2016/17 making for some challenging turns and sharp rock gardens. The bottom third of the trail flows a bit more, allowing you to pick up your speed.

Stay to the right at the intersection of Copper Creek, and you'll finish with a short twisty climb back to the intersection of Horned Lizard and the Powerline Access Road.

Bomb down the Diestro Connector straightaway then take a cool down back the way you came.

History & Background

You pass a section of broken up grey rocks about half way up Horned Lizard. This is where a copper mine used to be.


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May 5, 2019
Kyle Payne
Tough but fun trail 6.2mi — 1h 06m
Apr 28, 2019
Keith ORourke
Great trail. Shallow but long uphill. I get about a quarter of the what around whiptail and crashed over the front of my bars. Called a day 3mi
Apr 23, 2019
Ozzy P
Nov 23, 2018
Cyrus Bulsara
Moderately chunky.
Nov 2, 2018
Raffa Patiño
Jun 15, 2018
Kurt Davey

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Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 5 votes


  3.8 from 5 votes
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