From mountain mesa to rain forest in Ramona

posted May 1, 2012, 5:35 PM by webmaster OPEN   [ updated Jan 6, 2013, 12:30 PM ]


This year we have added the opportunity for club members to volunteer to be a ride boss and share their favorite trail with everyone.  Our first local ride was held on April 7, 2012; and Lary Griffin volunteered to host the ride for a group of 10 horseback riders and one hiker.

Trail Boss Lary Griffin speaking to the group of riders.

We met at the end of San Vicente road in the San Diego Country Estates where there is ample parking for trailers and out of the way of any traffic. We hadn’t planned on it being one of the warmest days of the year so far and it was already hot and dry when we mounted up and hit the trail starting with the more technical portion of the ride which took us up a steep hill, across a narrow ravine and up the rest of the hill landing up on top of the area called Barona Mesa.

Once up on Barona Mesa, we skirted the northeast edge of the development following the trails along the roadways until we connected with Mount Gower Truck Trail, which runs from Barona Mesa over to the Cedar Creek Falls area.  A wide dirt road had hikers and bikers that passed us along our way.  We didn’t get very far on the trail before there was a wide area where we stopped and got to look at the beautiful vista that included the peaks of Mt. Laguna,  Middle Peak, Eagle Peak, and all the local mountains.  We were lucky to have Marty Jorgensen point out each of them and give us historical tidbits about the area.
Barona Mesa - the Mt. Gower Truck Trail.
There are lots of bushes along the roadside; and as I was riding past a very large one, I thought I heard water running, so stopped to take a look at why it sounded like the trickle of fast moving water.  It didn’t take me too long to realize it wasn’t water I was hearing at all; it was in fact the sound of a rattlesnake, who no doubt was warning our group to stay away.   While we never saw it, just hearing it was enough for us to know to stay far away.

We left the truck trail before reaching the trail head that goes to Cedar Creek Falls and dropped down the long hill into the canopy of trees that cover the trails this side of Ramona Oaks street and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect as the temperature was reaching the 80’s.   As we went along the trail, I realized we had a very diverse group of riders; many of us had not ridden together before.  Three endurance riders on Arabians, two gaited horses, two people and horses with vaquero style gear, and the rest a blend of breeds, riders, and Clint, our one hiker, and we were all having a great time with lots to talk about along the trail.
Diverse group of riders enjoying the trail and each others company.
We stopped for a break under the shade of huge oak trees in an area where the trail had widened and we could get off the horses and let them graze a little while we enjoyed the snacks and beverages we brought with us and share some stories of other rides we had all been on. 

Ready to ride after our snack break.

We passed behind several houses, some with dogs and some with horses. We rode along the street past Dog Park and the tennis courts and through to the Casey Tibbs Arena and Western Center, where we stopped to see the beautiful metal work that was done by Laura Souza, who also did the metal work on the “Welcome to Ramona” monument at the corner of Highway 67 and Dye Road.  Her work is fabulous.  

Once we left the western center, we dropped into a very fun portion of the ride where there was water in the creek bed and so much greenery it reminded me of the rain forest in Kauai. We also had the opportunity to cross some large trees that had fallen across the path, giving the horses a wide variety of natural obstacles for the ride.

Behind the Fire Station on San Vicente Road

We finished by riding behind the fire station on San Vicente road and back out to where the trailers were parked.  The ride took about 3½ hours. We got out of the heat at the perfect time so the horses and humans were able to enjoy the ride without sweating and had a nice variety of terrain and natural obstacles.  From the top of the mesa, with miles and miles of views of the local mountains, to the oak covered canopy and watery rain forest, all in 3½ hours, it was perfect.  Top that off with a 10 minute drive home, and it makes one more reason that Ramona is such a great place to ride, hike, or bike.   

Final stretch of the ride.

See you on the trails soon! 

Ramona Trails Association