Best mountain bike trails near San Diego

From the most technical trails with steep descends and climbs to flatter and more beginner-friendly courses, San Diego, CA sure offers lots of options for mountain bike riders of all levels and styles. 

Mountain biking in San Diego is a great way to enjoy nature. The San Diego trails will offer you a great workout as well as beautiful landscapes with stunning views. Here, we want to share with you our picks for the 7 best mountain bike trails San Diego has to offer.

The most fun bike trail

Test Pilot in north Crestridge is a super fun singletrack trail for the advanced riders with steep sections going downhill and difficult uphill; you will encounter fast sections and jumps as you make your way through the challenging trail; needless to say, It’s a short trail but very demanding.

The easiest yet enjoyable trail

The Otay regional park in San Diego offers a very popular course that is beginner friendly yet very enjoyable to ride with windy and flowing sections that get you going and progressing on your skills. The trail is singletrack with a few double-track sections and lots of optional features. You’ll get to enjoy a fun ride and a very nice view of the lake. 


The highest trail

Cowles mountain is the highest point in the San Diego limits and is located in the mission trails regional park. It has a pretty demanding climb, but after reaching the summit, it’s all about plain downhill fun that is suited for intermediate levels. You get to ride along singletracks with moderate obstacles and spectacular views.

The area is very popular for hikers and runners, so you will have to be mindful of others while riding.

The most technical

Further down our list of the 7 best mountain bike trails in San Diego is Elfin forest trail. It is likely the most technical trail in the area, so you will need to bring your whole skill set for this one. You will encounter a bit of everything here, fast sections, downhill, and uphill stretches requiring high technical skills. Be prepared to get an intense workout out of this one while you enjoy the fun ride and incredible views.


The best downhill trail of San Diego

Noble Canyon is a pretty long trail considered one of the best downhill trails for intermediate to advanced riders. It is a fun and fast trail with windy and quick turns going through different ecosystems including forest sections full of oak trees which transition into typical Californian vegetation and then into an arid desert climate. 

The most beautiful trail in San Diego

The Big Laguna trail is a singletrack fun and fast trail for intermediate levels and in a beautiful setting. The trail goes through beautiful meadows with pines and flowers. You will encounter downhill and uphill sections as you explore and make your way back in this loop trail.

The most popular of them all

Last in our list of the 7 best mountain bike trails in San Diego is Los Peñasquitos Canyon Reserve, also known as PQ. The wide trails are great for families, kids, or someone that is just starting his mountain bike journey. It is a popular area, so you are bound to encounter other riders and hikers. You will also encounter some challenging singletrack in the Del Mar Mesa area.

There are plenty more trail options available, but hopefully, our picks can get you up to a good start on your journey to explore the trails at San Diego. Also all the trails in this list are legally ridden. 

Carles Carrera

Co-Founder, Product&Marketing

Carles' passion for Enduro MTB ignited the creation of AMS. Nowadays, you're more likely to find him speeding along scenic gravel paths, enjoying the thrill of his gravel bike.