Mission Trails

3.64 out of 5
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↑ 2,000 ft
↓ 2,000 ft

avg time
Trail Description
About this trail

Located just 8 miles NE of downtown San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park spans almost 5,800 acres and boasts over 40 miles of trails, making it one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

While there are a number of trails limited to foot traffic only, a majority allow bicycle (and some horse) access. Terrain varies from mellow doubletrack to the NE of the park, to nice easy singletrack (SW), to the extreme at the North side of North Fortuna Mtn. Climbs in the middle of the park are steep - 450-500' in ~half a mile - and can be loose.

Major Trail Summary:

Father Junipero Serra Trail:Paved road shared (1 lane traffic SW to NE only, 1 lane foot and bikes both ways) by vehicles and visitor traffic. Connects the visitors center area with Mission Dam (foot only, but beautiful) and Grasslands Loop trails as well as the campground.

Grassland Loop: Accessed from the Mast Blvd parking area in Santee, or from Grasslands Crossing from Father Junipero Serra Trail. Very mellow doubletrack - good for family outings with youngsters.

Oak Grove Loop: Trailheads are at the SW end of Fr Junipero Serra Trail, on the east side. Nice pleasant singletrack - good loop to add to a warmup ride, or for families with kids.

Visitors Center Loop: Mostly singletrack with some waterboards and 1 significant hill. Widens to the northwest and provides access to the San Diego River Crossing trail. This ford is closed when the water is up.

Mariposa Gulch:Connects the Grasslands loop with Fortuna Saddle and North perimeter trails. Hilly doubletrack but not all that steep.

North Perimeter Trail:Steep, loose doubletrack with large jagged rocks. Think bulldozer trail blasting straight no matter the terrain. Connects to the North end of North Fortuna and Shepherd Pond Loop from Mariposa Gulch.

Fortuna Saddle Trail: Steep at times doubletrack ranging from Mariposa Gulch to the East, all the way to the River Crossing to the West. This trail could be considered the "spine" of the system, crossing the Fortuna Mtns, with many intersections to side trails on the West side of the saddle. Some very nice singletrack can be had on the west side of the summit, to the north of the trail, connecting over to Shepherd Pond Loop. Look for these intersections between the Summit and Suycott Valley trail.

South Fortuna:Out and back from the top of Fortuna Saddle. Fairly easy doubletrack with some loose rocky sections. Note that the trail south of the summit becomes foot only.

North Fortuna:Connects Fortuna Saddle with North Perimeter and Shepherd Pond Loop via the top of North Fortuna Mtn. Steep doubletrack to the south of the summit, even steeper and technical singletrack to the north.

Suycott Wash:Nice pleasant singletrack connecting the west end of Fortuna Saddle with the SD River Crossing.

Suycott Valley:Mellow doubletrack connecting Fortuna Saddle with Shepherd Pond Loop and Rim Trail.

Shepherd Pond Loop:Mostly doubletrack with some steep sections. Trailhead (currently closed for construction) on Portobelo Drive in TierraSanta. Connects with North Fortuna, Rim Trail, and Suycott Valley. Some nice singletrack side trails exist in this area.

Rim Trail:Connects SD River Crossing with Suycott Valley via twin towers and to the West end of Fortuna Saddle. Begins (to the south) as gravel road, becomes doubletrack as you progress north.

*Quarry Loop Trail:Trailheads at Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Calle de Vida in TierraSanta. Connects with SD Crossing, Rim and Fortuna Saddle.*Currently inaccessible due to construction

San Diego River Crossing Trail:Gravel Road. Connects Visitors Center Loop with all trails to the west of the park. Ford over the river is closed when the water is up, and also closed at times due to construction.

If you'd prefer a loop of the entire park rather than an out and back or lollipop, I'd recommend a counter-clockwise loop. Start at the visitors center if you want a warm up, proceed NE on Father Junipero Serra trail (paved) with optional hits on Oak Grove and Visitors center loops. Cross the river at Grasslands Crossing. Without the warmup, begin at Mast Blvd at Grasslands loop. Proceed NW on Grasslands loop to Mariposa Gulch. Take either Fortuna saddle or the perimeter trail west to cross over Fortunas. From there, take your pick of routes West and South over to the final downhill at the SD river crossing trail. Note that the crossing is closed at times due to water levels and sometimes due to construction. Check at the visitors center if you can't afford an unplanned return the painful (steep) way. To make the route more difficult, simply reverse the direction - the climbs are more abrupt when taken in a clockwise fashion.

added by XerienGnarly
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (310 total check-ins)
  Scott V   1 day ago
  Mateo Juez   1 week ago
  Jesus Colis   2 weeks ago
  Aarog   on Apr 28, 2018
  Mateo Juez   on Apr 18, 2018
Photo & Video Gallery (30)
Trail Photos & Videos (30)
Reviews (14)


July 24, 2017
Mateo Juez Gnarly  
Review: A lot of variety for the area, some of the Fire road climbs/descents are insanely steep. Climb to the Fortuna summits, its worth the view

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September 17, 2016
Review: Started out with goal to summit highest peask of 4 corners. The trails allow mountainbikes but are non conducive to the average rider. Even though I hiked a bike quite a bit I still think its a great trail system. zSo many more trails to explore with in the system. Ill definitely be back

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July 20, 2016
Review: From the description above, I didn't realize that "technical singletrack" on the north part of North Fortuna Trail actually means "impossible for ordinary mortals to ride". Be prepared to carry your bike.
Had a nice loop ride on the NW trails: parked at West Fortuna, rode back to Seda Drive trailhead, then SD River > Rim > Shepherd Ridge > North Fortuna > Fortuna Saddle. Every trail is rocky with a few more rocks thrown in. Other than hike-a-bike up to the North Fortuna summit, all trails were easy to intermediate with short loose sections. Fantastic views, fun descent westbound on Fortuna Saddle.
Note: I was cautioned to avoid Perimeter Trail as it's loose rocks over short hills that even hikers have to sidestep.

Similar Trail: Lake Hodges

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Bunny Hop

April 13, 2016
j1nelsonsd Bunny Hop  
Review: I agree this has so much more potential - needs singletrack trails. Lots of fireroad in some of the best places. Needs switchbacks

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Granny Gear

April 11, 2015
scarshin Granny Gear  
Review: Love e-ticket trail. Tons of great stuff to explore.

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Granny Gear

December 25, 2014
Nemer06 Granny Gear  
Review: Great riding, rode this trail two times while visiting san diego. These trails are so much fun rode to the top of fortuna summit, then rode down, it was sweet. Great views everywhere

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Granny Gear

July 19, 2014
AZBrainDoc Granny Gear  
Review: This review is mostly for MUni riders. I have not found much info about San Diego trails for unicyclists and this was my first day riding here. I was on a KH24 unicycle, but these trails would have been more fun on my 26" or 29". For those with geared hubs, this is a great playground. I rode a 10 mile circuit starting at the visitor's center, going along Father Junipero Serra Trail to Grasslands Crossing Trail. All the trailheads to the east (right) were closed because of recent wildfires, so this paved stretch was a long warmup. If I were to do it again, I'd start at the Mast Blvd entrance. My ride took me along Grasslands Crossing (easy, mostly level, nothing technical, a few stretches of loose gravel) to Mariposa Gulch and Fortuna Saddle Trail. This included a challenging climb because of the pitch and loose rocks, so this stretch got my heart rate up - but the reward was a fun, steep, somewhat technical descent into the canyon on the other side. Trails are marked with signs listing a bunch of names, so after that, I was never sure exactly where I was. There are lots of single track climbs and descents back in there beyond the power lines, though. On my return, I ended up on a sweet technical single track, but turned out to be Oak Canyon Trail and is closed to bikes. I didn't see any signs about unicycles (JK, I would have returned another way if I had known). At the end, I did the Visitor Center Loop (easy single track, but fun). Overall, this park is a great place for unicyclists of varying abilities. A good workout for all. Very few cyclists on a Friday morning. Occasional hikers. Everyone friendly and welcoming.

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April 12, 2013
Review: Mission Trails really is not a mountain bikers park. All the best mountain biking is close but not in the park. This area really could use a loop specifically for mountain bikers with switch backed hills. Double track is not fun riding. Just design one loop around the park specifically for bike riding and you'd have the love and joy of all the local mountain bikers. Los Angeles has plenty of parks that have embraced mountain biking. Shame San Diego thinks double tracks are what we want.

Similar Trail: Daley Ranch

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February 28, 2013
Peresite70 Singletrack  
Review: Had a great time here while I was visiting the area. Didn't get to ride everything, but me and my friend did loop the whole outter perimiter of the trails and there where some long great ups and some long fun downs. The riding here is definitely a change from most of the riding I do where I live in FL. It was a fun change for sure. I would ride here again.

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Bunny Hop

January 7, 2013
amiram00 Bunny Hop  
Review: Some of the best trails around. These trails are amazing. If you want technical go up the fortunuas. If you are hot, bring water. If you don't like to climb stay in grassland loop. It has everything you could want.

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Mission Trails MTB Trail 3.64 out of 5 based on 14 ratings. 14 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
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