This is an alternating singletrack and doubletrack trail. There is a good 0.75 mile climb in the middle that will take you to the top of Raptor Ridge trail and give you a great view of the San Pasqual Valley area. From there, the trail drops into the valley floor and into the agricultural area of North County inland.
If you do this hike while it's green during the winter rainy season, this is a 3-star hike, and it's improved by the landscape defining, low to the horizon, sun of late afternoon or early morning. At other times it's a 2-star experience.
This hike isn't worth a 14 mile roundtrip or the hassle of setting up a car shuttle. Mountain biking it is one solution. Another alternative is to cut out the last 2.2 miles where the trail runs right next to quiet Bandy Canyon Road and then snakes between a farm and an orange orchard with fences on either side only a few yards apart, probably the best easements obtainable late in the game.
My suggestion is to park in the middle at the intersection of Bandy Canyon Road and Ysabel Creek Road, explore 0.75 miles east, past the farmed cactus, return, and then head west at least 2.1 mile to achieve the high point before return, doing about 5.7 miles total.
David Hekel rated this hike int/difficult but I didn't experience anything beyond easy/int in the last 3.5 miles.
Flora & Fauna
Alkali Heath, Arroyo Willow, Blue Dicks, Blue-Eyed Grass, Bush Sunflower, California (Flat-Top) Buckwheat, California Incense Cedar, California Sycamore, California Wild Grape, Canyon Live Oak, Coast Live Oak, Englemann Oak, Chaparral Yucca, Cream Cup, Deerweed, Grape Soda Lupine, Laurel Sumac, Lemonadeberry , Live Forever, Mexican Manzanita, Sierra Gooseberry, Pearly Everlasting, (Gnaphalium californicum), Pickleweed (Salicornia virginica), Ramona Lilac (Cenanothus tomentosus), White Sage (Salvia apiana), Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), Saltwort (Batis maritima), Salt Heliotrope (Heliotropium curassivicum), Salt Grass, Salty Susan (Jaumea carnosa), Shooting Star (Dodecatheon celvelandii), Spice Bush (Cneoridium dumosum), Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Stick Monkey-flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana), Wild Cucumber (Marah macrocarpus)
Shared By: David Hekel