No matter where you live in southern California, there are great places to ride. Whether you want the ocean, mountains, desert, or twisty roads, canyons, or straight and relaxing highways, SoCal has it all. For this blog, I will be focusing on San Diego county roads and highways since that is what I know best.
Sunrise Highway ride – Is a scenic 34 mile route and two lane highway that weaves through the Laguna Mountains. There are plenty of cutouts for slower drivers to pull off, or even for bikers to stop and rest and take in a wonderful vista. From the 1-8 east, exit Sunrise Highway and turn left. Sunrise Highway eventually runs into the state route 79 where you can take two options. You can turn right on SR 79 and head into Julian, or turn left and check out Lake Cuyamaca, which will also lead you back through the cute town of Descanso and back to the 1-8. Locals like the area because it provides expansive views of the Imperial Valley desert basin below. Don’t forget to stop at the Mt. Laguna lodge for some snacks and refreshments, there are no gas stations until you enter Julian, or gas up in Pine Valley. If you are adventurous and want to camp, try out Burnt Rancheria or Laguna/ El Prado campgrounds.
Highway 94 – rural and full of canyons, it takes you to the outskirts of southern San Diego and in some parts, only two miles from Tecate, Mexico. Starting in downtown San Diego from G street, it turns into Via Mercado in Rancho San Diego, then continue by keeping right on the Jamacha and Campo roads intersection. From there, it runs though the rustic towns of Jamul, Dulzura, Potrero, Campo and Boulevard, back to the I-8. A great place to stop on this trip for food is the historic Barrett Junction Café not far from Barrett Lake.
Ramona/ Julian – Starting from the 67 North Freeway in Lakeside, ascend into parts of the San Diego backcountry. Stay on the 67 fwy through Ramona and stop at Dudley’s bakery for some sweets or Julian apple pie. The 67 fwy eventually turns into the 79 fwy, take this into Julian. Stopping in Julian is a must…they have a gas station, various shops, historic buildings, and many mom and pop type eateries. Check out this cozy mountain town here. If you are from out of town and want to stay longer, check into one of their bed and breakfasts.
101 Coast and Coronado – Most motorcyclists in California have taken the 101 highway. It runs north- south and travels though California, Oregon, and Washington. Running right along the coast, you get that fresh, ocean air and temperatures are cooler for long trips. Gas stations and restaurants are common, but I suggest stopping at the Pizza Port in Solana Beach. The Coronado bridge is a must see in San Diego, the ride over it has you marveling at the structure. Take the Coronado Bay Bridge exit off I-5. Follow the road as it curves left, then turn left onto Orange Avenue.
Montezuma Grade and Borrego Springs – a bit of a far drive for most, but great for those who love the desert scenery. To get there, take the Take I-15 North to Scripps Poway Parkway or Poway Rd. Turn left onto Highway 67 toward Ramona. Highway 67 becomes Highway 78 in Ramona. Continue on 78 toward Santa Ysabel. At Santa Ysabel turn left onto Highway 79 toward Warner Springs. Turn right at S-2. Drive 4.5 miles before taking a left on S-22, which brings you through Ranchita, into the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and down the Montezuma Grade into the desert valley floor. A great place to stop for food is the Santa Ysabel Casino, or wait until you get into Borrego Springs to eat.