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Coast to Crest Trail: Raptor Ridge and San Pasqual Valley

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.8 (4)

A fun trail with a great view.


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Map Key

7.3

Miles

11.7

KM

Point to Point

705' 215 m

High

331' 101 m

Low

479' 146 m

Up

388' 118 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Description

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)

Contacts

Land Manager: San Dieguito River Park

Shared By:

David Hekel with improvements by Matthew Kidd

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 4 votes

#3

in Lake Hodges

#21271

Overall
  3.8 from 4 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
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3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#3

in Lake Hodges

#2,143

in California

#21,271

Overall
26 Views Last Month
1,038 Since Aug 18, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Colorful runs of blooms along the Raptor Ridge Trail.
Feb 7, 2021 near San Pas…, CA
Two hikers with their dogs on the Raptor Ridge Trail.
Feb 7, 2021 near San Pas…, CA
Verdant section of the Raptor Ridge trail near Bandy Canyon Road.
Feb 7, 2021 near San Pas…, CA
Backlit field of "farmed" cactus along the Raptor Ridge Trail.
Feb 7, 2021 near San Pas…, CA
Witman Ranch viewed from the Raptor Ridge Trail.
Feb 7, 2021 near San Pas…, CA
Raptor Ridge trail near where it breaks away from Bandy Canyon Road.
Feb 7, 2021 near San Pas…, CA

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Check-Ins

Feb 5, 2021
Matthew Kidd
Started at east end terminus, hiking 3.5 miles in and then back. Nice and green, following recent rains.
Aug 21, 2019
Angela Malgieri
662ft incline. 75 degrees sunny day 6.7mi — 2h 33m