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Level: Intermediate
Length: 8 mi (12.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,875/ -145 ft
Total: 111 riders

Mountain Biking Big Laguna Trail

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#16 of 1,001 mountain bike trails in California
#312 in the world

This is fun, fast, easy singletrack in a beautiful setting. The trail makes a short climb in the beginning through a pine forest and then comes through and rides just along side a huge meadow. During the wet months there is a natural lake though much of the year it is a big meadow with cows in the middle and wildflowers. After a couple miles there is a spur trail to the right which crosses directly through the meadow and you can go eitherleft or right after crossing. If you go left you will come around to another small pond and a good spot for lunch. Go right and it will edge the meadow on the opposite side. Either way, after exploring, go back the way you came across the meadow and go right to continue on the Big Laguna Trail. Stay on the main trail and it will go through another meadow and through some cattle gates. Please close the gates after you pass through. it will go back in the forest and then the only real climb up to a dirt road which crosses the trail. Cross the dirt road and continue to a very fun downhill which will take you back to the paved road. Turn left and follow the road about a mile back to your car.

First added by carnagecreator on Aug 23, 2005. Last updated May 9, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
from San Diego, take I-8 east past Alpine and take the sunrise highway exit and go left. Take this road for a while and park at the penny pines trailhead parking area. This is also the trailhead for the famous Noble canyon trail. On the south side of the road, take the clear trail for a very short while until it goes left and take that trail. If you go right or just continue it will go to noble canyon.
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Big Laguna Trail Trail map

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shark_week (on Sep 21, 2019)
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Dusty (on Aug 18, 2019)
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  • Chris Pickford

    Incredibly beautiful area to ride located in California's peninsular ranges about an hour east of San Diego. From the high points there are grand vistas of the Anza-Borrego desert to the east and northeast, Mexico to the south, and San Diego and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The meadow seems vast and wide open; San Diego's very own big sky country.
    Drove up here on a weekday in early Fall. Black oaks were just beginning to turn. The meadow still had water. Cattle were grazing near the big lake. Saw only a few hikers and a couple of mountain bikers. Felt like I had the whole place to myself. Connected to the Big Laguna Trail from Penny Pines (parking available at trailhead, but need to purchase Forest Service Adventure Pass for $5). Skirted west along the lake. At the south end of BLT took Chico Spur to Gatos Spur, a short flow trail/mtb playground with a few jumps and narrow logs to balanceon (both optional), and a few chunky sections. Continued north on BLT to Little Laguna Lake (dry) and the El Prado Campground. Used the El Prado Spur to cut back over to Laguna Meadow and reconnect with Penny Pines. Penny Pines is short but a blast to descend on back to the trailhead.

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  • Hap Proctor   ✓ supporter

    Great ride in a beautiful area just 45 miles from San Diego. Lots of trails in the area allowing for exploring and/or the ability to throw loops together. On its own BLT might be the best "beginner" trail I've ridden; supplanting Kessel Run due to its distance and scenery. Strongly recommend this trail network if you are in the San Diego area.....worth the drive!

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  • John Fisch

    The network of trails which surrounds the Big Laguna is as superb as an easy to ride network can be. The ponderosa forest and the meadows are beautiful and make for a very pleasant ride. As easy as the riding is the route finding is not. There are lots of crisscrossing trails, some of which aren't on most maps and some of which aren't open to bikes. Going here without either a veteran or a love of exploring could be problematic, but it's a very nice place to ride if you're properly equipped.

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  • Eric Foltz

    Really good trails system that can be combined with Noble Canyon or even linked all the way to the Cuyamaca Trails. Good summer spot as you are pretty high up in elevation.

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  • *****

    Buy a trail map! Starting from the Penny Pines TH, enter on the west side of the highway. This is an extensive network of trails- so lots of stopping to see where you want to go. Very little elevation changes, but as the original post said- fast, fun singletrack.

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  • JimMeans

    Great place to ride, but this review is utterly worthless. It's not up to the standards of this website. Low rating is for the review which provides no information other than locating one of the many trailheads into this area.

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  • david_darling

    One of San Diego's finest singletracks. There is excellent riding in the Laguna Mnts. and BLT is a must do. A narrow ribbon of a trail that winds its way between tall pines and lush meadows. Fun for many levels of riders. There are other unmarked trails in the area and are open to bikes unless noted. Good to explore.

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