21.7 miles
1,814 ft
-1,815 ft
438 ft
High Point

Those bells that you hear are not those of Saint Mary-le-Bow Church in the East End of London, where the Cockney accent is heard. They're the bells of other mountain bikers, and you're in the East End of Penasquitos Canyon, where the greatest concentration of singletrack lies. But if you like, you can practice your Cockney Rhyming Slang when greeting other riders!

This route tours the east end of Penasquitos and covers the best singletrack found in the Preserve. You'll roll through both Tunnels trails (#4 and #1), which are straight out of The Hobbit and unlike anything else in San Diego. You'll enjoy a long stretch of singletrack along Deer Canyon (East and West) and a fun climb up Switchbacks. A pleasant trip through the new, flowy Appendix trail leads you to the Cobbles downhill. It all ends with a quick westward ride and a final, full-throttle blast down Side Hill. Take the Two Bridges trail on the way back to the trailhead and enjoy a bit of technical riding to break up the fireroad doldrums.

Some things to note:

1. The route is geared to intermediate riders and consists of flowy green and blue trails.

2. After exiting The Sh!ts trail, there is a steep climb up the bottom of Boy Scout trail. This short, 50-yard section will be hike-a-bike for most riders (eyes up to watch for downhill riders), and then it's an easy climb to the top. This short section is the only flow interruption along the whole route. Everything else is rideable.

If you prefer to keep the flow going, then skip Boy Scout trail. Instead, turn north on Pond Backside trail and north again on Cobbles, using the latter for the climb out.

3. You can cut about 6 miles off the route by forgoing the second climb up Powerline, but you'll surrender some of the best downhill runs. You can chop off another 2 miles by skipping Anderson Ridge Climb and the Crazy Horse descent.

4. Optional add-on: Near the end of West Deer Canyon, you can veer right onto Santa Monica Ridge and ride The Shire (aka Tunnel 6). It's a fun trail and gives you the full Tunnels experience but includes a TTF that can be risky for intermediate riders. Use caution when approaching because it appears suddenly.

5. All the trails are sanctioned and legal. Have fun!

And if you're curious, Clever Mike is Cockney Rhyming Slang for a bike!

Local Trail Association
San Diego Mountain Biking Association (sdmba.com)
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5 Reviews & Comments

  • + 1
brianpetry (Dec 21, 2020 at 10:59)
 Yes, nice route and descriptions!
  • + 2
Rockemsock (Mar 15, 2021 at 10:37)
 Fantastic route! Well done to the creator. I LOVED this ride. A few things to note. I was finishing up the ride coming down Side Hill when a Park Ranger stopped me. She informed me I was on a closed trail because they're trying to build it back up (there was a small dozer on the side of the trail, so I should have known something was up). The sign saying it was closed was very small, and I just didn't see it. She was very friendly, didn't give me a hard time (it was my first time there in probably 10 years). However, as we talked she mentioned that ALMOST ALL of the single track in the PQ Canyon is closed to Bikers. WHAT?! She wasn't just talking about that day or weekend either. She was saying that the single track is too dangerous because of blind corners, so it's only open to hikers and horses. I mentioned the Tunnels, and she said that was a very hotly debated group of trails (for obvious reasons - people love them). I'll probably bring this up on the forums, because I'd like to hear how the local trail associations view this (SDMBA).
  • + 2
Rockemsock (Mar 15, 2021 at 10:56)
 So I followed up with SDMBA and they have a map of the area provided by the Park department. The map says that the most the single track is indeed OPEN to biking. So I'm not sure what the Ranger was trying to communicate. There are some hiking only trails, and the tunnels do have trails that are closed to horses (low ceiling I imagine). But all of the trails on this route, were open to bikers.
  • + 2
brianpetry (Mar 15, 2021 at 11:16)
 Yes, they are doing some work on side hill. SDMBA is helping with that. Should only last for the next couple weeks. I'm not speaking for SDMBA here. I'm just aware of some activities.

About trails closed to bikes, sounds like miscommunication with the ranger. About tunnels, Tunnel 1 and 4 are definitely open to bikes as are all the other trails on this route. Tunnel 2, 3 and 5 trails are closed to all users, not just bikes. In the preserve, there are only a couple trails designated as no-bikes and these are labeled as such on the trailforks maps and signs. Otherwise, trails do exist that are not sanctioned by the rangers. It could be she was referring to those. For the most part, SDMBA has tried to keep these trails off the trailforks maps. These unsanctioned trails are closed to all users, not just bikes.

Recently, I have read Ranger Gina saying if there's not a trail sign, then the trail is closed. That seems weird to me, like use trails only if they have a sign. Personally, I don't believe such a rule is practical or scalable, and certainly does not reflect the current state of trail signs. Maybe she's just talking about the nearby side hill alternate trails, which are closed. Here's the message from March10:

I also want to make you aware of trail maintenance project on Side Hill Trail (on the north rim of Los Peñasquitos, west of the waterfall). Work will begin Friday, March 12th; the trail will have to be closed during construction as there is no way to safely pass on hillside. If the canyon trails are open, Side Hill will be open for the weekend. However, when the work resumes on Monday, March 15 the trail will be closed 24 hours a day until the work is completed, which could take a week or more.

Now the big ask: Please do not use any unauthorized path to bypass Side Hill. The paths on the ridges to the east and west of Side Hill are not permitted. Continued use of those unauthorized paths puts pressure on our wildlife, creates erosion issues that we just can’t repair and are very unsafe. The last thing any of us want is to litter our beautiful canyon with signs and fences. Authorized trails are signed; if they path you are taking did not have a sign that says “Trail” with an arrow or name, it is not a legitimate path to take, even if you see footprints or bike tracks on it from a previous user. I have attached the official trail map so you can plan you routes safely.
  • + 2
Rockemsock (Mar 16, 2021 at 9:52)
 Thanks for the info Brian, and I agree that it isn't practical to only bike trails that have signs. I was talking with Ranger Malanie, and she even said (with reference to closure signs) "signs get no respect." She was referring to temporary signs of course, but I believe there were trails that are designated as 'open to bikers' on the official map that didn't have signs. Then again, it's possible I just missed them because I was staring at my GPS map to make sure I didn't miss a turn.

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More Stats for The East Ender mountain bike route
  • Altitude change
    -2 ft
  • Altitude min
    86 ft
  • Altitude start
    235 ft
  • Altitude end
    233 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    9 miles
  • Distance down
    8 miles
  • Distance flat
    5 miles
Avg: 5 (5 votes)

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MTB PQ Canyon Tunnel 4
MTB PQ Canyon Tunnel 4
trail: Tunnel 4
5:25 | 48 | comments: 0 | favs:
Sep 22, 2021
trail: Powerline
9:45 | 29 | comments: 0 | favs:
Jun 25, 2021
trail: West Rim
9:45 | 25 | comments: 0 | favs:
Jun 25, 2021

Recent Trail Reports Along Route

Oct 16, 2021 @ 1:15pm
Oct 16, 2021
Some rain ruts near bottom but easy to pick a good line as you climb because why would you go down this thing? The Schlitz and Cobbles are right there for Pete’s sake.
The Appendix
Oct 16, 2021 @ 1:13pm
Oct 16, 2021
Some loose gravel but seems the vegetation has been trimmed. First time on this one and it was fun. Several places to fall down the hill on off-camber chunks of trail.
Oct 16, 2021 @ 1:13pm
Oct 16, 2021
Recent rain may have washed more rocks into the top part of the trail…? Seemed looser than usual but still fun.
Two Bridges
Oct 11, 2021 @ 10:02am
Oct 11, 2021
Sep 28, 2021 @ 4:47pm
Sep 28, 2021
more reports »
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