Socal - San Diego County - Rancho Santa Fe, CA NickNames: #SantaFeCanyon/DelDiosGorge del dios gorge
The trailhead is accessed via an entrance next to the fruit stand at Del Dios Highway and Calle Ambiente. There's room for 6-8 cars, but it's been empty every time I've visited. The actual trail is about 100 feet up the paved road, which leads to a locked gate into the Crosby Ranch development. Turn left; turning right is a whole different trail (about 1.25 miles of easy cc followed by .65 of switchbacks that ends in the middle of nowhere)
The real kick about this ride is that from this trailhead you can connect to the Lake Hodges North Shore trail, then to the Mule Hill/San Pasqual Valley trail, for a long and non-technical but fast and ultimately satisfying ride.
This is about 2 miles of singletrack, narrow enough to require your attention but easy enough to have some fun. The usual in/out/up/down eventually drops into a long, wide downhill that takes you across the river on a steel truss bridge. From there you'll climb easily except for a short, steeper section that takes you up the Del Dios Highway for a stretch with a great view of the Lake Hodges Dam.
Up and over the north side of the dam, then downhill into mostly level singletrack that meanders here and there along the shore. This section of the trail ends at the lot across from Hernandez' Hideaway. Continue from there for the Hodges and Mule Hill trails.
Singletrack=90% Dirt Road=10%
FirstSarnt a 61 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Jamis Dakar XCR Comp from Encinitas URL: http://www.sdrp.org/archive/Trail%20Maps/Map_SFV-Del%20Dios%20Gorge%20Revised%20FINAL.pdf