Mountain biking was born in California, and it’s still one of the preferred spots to tear up trails for riders of all levels. The advent of electric bikes has completely changed the game for mountain bikers. E-MTBs make it possible for riders to explore areas previously impossible to get to, and they keep you out on the trails for longer stretches. Of course, we are quite fond of the mountain biking in San Diego. Here are the best electric mountain biking spots in San Diego.
Oh! But one thing before we begin. Don’t be frightened off by signs that say “No motorized vehicles” or the like. Most E-MTBs fall under the same class as a regular bike, so even though we use motors, we’re still considered bicycles. The only exception is if you use a 28mph electric bike. Other than that, if they allow mountain bikes, they allow electric bikes!
Tecolote Canyon Natural Park (Intermediate)
This beautiful canyon ride has some incredible single track portions. It was home to the Kumeyaay Indians in its earliest days, and now the natural park houses owls, after which the park is named. The park is right off the 5 freeway, so it is easy to access. Grab a map from the welcome center and tear up close to 20 miles of trails in this shady canyon. Be careful when riding by the golf course! Signage says that they are anti-electric mountain biker. But there is still plenty of trail to check out!
Los Penasquitos Canyon Reserve: (Easy/Intermediate)
Los Penasquitos Canyon is an excellent ride for electric mountain biking at any level. They have a wide variety of technical and easy rolling sections so you can hit whatever you’re in the mood for. Since it’s been a bit rainy this winter, you will likely be able to navigate to a beautiful waterfall a few miles down the trail. Hang there and refuel and go back to hit the many other trails.
Iron Mountain Trail: (Difficult)
If you’re willing to navigate around some hikers, this might be the spot for you. Iron Mountain trail isn’t too long, but what it lacks in distance it makes up for in technicality. The incline is steep, but the reward is awesome when you start rolling down the trail with 360 views most of the way. Watch out for some pretty intense drop offs!
Recommended Bike: Haibike Xduro DwnHll 9.0
El Capitan Preserve: (Intermediate)
El Capitan Preserve is out near Lakeside, which is not too far from San Diego. Hop on the 8 east or the 94 and you’ll be there in no time. The trail doesn’t take too long to complete, but it’s got some beautiful views and is a great practice trail for those looking to step their game up from Easy to Intermediate. You can get as high up as 1600 feet from sea level and get a great view of the surrounding mountains. The trails are multi-use, so, as always, be aware of hikers. We don’t want to lose our electric mountain bike privileges in any of these places!
Marion R. Bear Memorial Park: (Easy/Training)
I’d be remiss if I left out something for the true beginners! This trail is mostly flat on the canyon paths and in the shade as pictured above. But you can also hit some solid beginner routes if you hit the maintenance roads in the finger canyons. Ride with a partner on the wider doubletrack trails, or shoot off on to one of the still easy single track trails. This is a great park to take younger riders or riders brand new to the sport of mountain biking.
Sycamore Canyon Preserve/Martha’s Grove: (Intermediate)
The nice thing about this trail is you can make it anywhere from Intermediate to expert. It’s pretty easy to find people doing crazy tricks off of boulders here. It’s very choose your own adventure. The trail is pretty rough, as the sign at the trailhead warns, but those electric mountain bikers who have been at it for awhile should do just fine. There is not much shade in the area, so be sure to bring along plenty of water and sunscreen. Take it easy when you get to Martha’s Grove as it is easy to catch some air!
Vail Lake Resort Trail: (Intermediate)
Last on our list is Vail Lake Resort Trail. All the way up in Temecula’s wine country, I’d recommend this route if you want to go check out a vineyard afterwards. You’ll have to pay $5 for parking on the resort, but it is well worth it. You’ve got at least 14 miles of trails here, but a lot of them you’ll want to hit more than once. This trail is also home to a few mountain biking competitions, so you know it’s got something good going. You’ve even got a few pretty technical jumps if you think you’re ready for them!
So there they are! The best electric mountain biking spots in San Diego. Let us know what your favorite spots are below! Happy Riding!
Author: Scott Nickley
Scott Nickley is a writer, actor, cyclist, runner, and cafe loiterer living in Los Angeles. You can find his work on the Fly Rides website and find him in the flesh following all cycling laws in your nearest bike lane.