Info on Borrego Springs
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The ride to Borrego Springs is probably our most favorite local ride. It covers 138 miles of terrain ranging from mountains to desert and will take about 5 hours depending upon stops. This is a ride best suited for cooler temperatures since Borrego can reach temperatures well over 100 degrees in the summer. However, there are times in the winter when Julian will have snow. Be sure to check the forecast.
The ride begins by heading East on Valley Parkway. This becomes Valley Center road as it bends to head North. At this point you are leaving the Escondido urban area and entering the surrounding mountains. Make sure that you have plenty of gas since there will be no opportunities, along the course, until Borrego Springs.
At a traffic light, the ride turns right on Lake Wohlford road. This route ascends the mountain quickly with moderate sweeping turns and will take you by the Lake Wohlford reservoir. This is a great area for a picnic although our recent dry years have really lowered the water level. Once you pass the reservoir, you will begin a gentle descent, with an occasional turn, until you once again reach Valley Center road. At this Tee, you should turn right to follow Valley Center road.
As the road name implies, you are traveling thru the Valley Center and the road will be flat and straight. The road will start to bend and descend into a lower valley and you will have a a great view to the East. At the bottom of your descent, you will pass the new Rincon Casino. Be wary of traffic. Valley Center road ends at Rt. 76 where you will turn right to head East.
At this point, Rt. 76 will begin to rapidly ascend into the mountains with wide sweeping turns. This stretch of road, and the South Grade road up to the top of Mt. Palomar, are very popular for sport bikers. When South Grade splits off to the left, continue straight on Rt. 76. Your route will no longer climb and will follow the mountain side.
Your route will go past Lake Henshaw on your left. On your right is the Henshaw restaurant which has good food. Note that the restaurant does not have air conditioning and can be a bit warm in the summer. On your right, you will also pass The Hideout Saloon with is a popular biker hangout. Rt. 76 will end at Rt. 79 where you should turn left.
As you head North, the terrain becomes flat, wide, and more arid. You will soon reach highway S2 where you will turn right. Shortly after that, you should turn left on highway S22 which is also known as Montezuma Pass. The road becomes very straight. Once you pass Ranchita, you begin a rapid and very scenic descent down the "Glass Elevator" into the Anza Borrego Desert.
"The `Glass Elevator' refers to the steep ascent overlooking the plain, as though one were ascending in a glass elevator - one can see so much from the road. Geologically, it's really interesting as that ascent is up the side of the `batholith'. Imagine that the length of Baja California up to North of San Diego is like one elongated brick. That brick is both sliding Northward and tipping up on its right hand edge. That's why you get relatively gentle slopes going up to, say, Julian, and then precipitous ones down the other side. It's been called `The Edge of Creation'".
The view from the vista above Borrego
Borrego Springs is a moderate size. There are currently three gas stations in town. You will encounter the first one as you enter town. There are a lot of choices for lunch including Carlee's Bar and Grill which is located near the traffic circle. We also like Kendall's Cafe in the Mall, Carmelita's Mexican Grill, and Pablito's.
The ride will follow S3 across the desert (passing thru Yaqui Pass) until you reach Rt. 78 where you will turn right. This route ascends from the desert floor up to approximately 5000 feet into heavily forested mountains and the old mining town of Julian. You will pass thru the "Scissors Crossing" at S2 and climb up the "Banner Grade". You can follow Rt. 78 thru Julian. However, there is an interesting back road route. Before you reach Julian, turn right on Wynola Road. This is a single lane road that twists among ranches with occassional tight turns. This road will eventually end at Rt. 78. Turn right on 78 to resume the course.
Terrain now alternates between flat mesas and cool forest areas as you descend to Santa Ysabel. Rt. 78 has nice sweeping turns. Unfortunately, traffic is usually fairly heavy due to the tourist oriented nature of Julian. Julian does have a number of quaint shops and is well known for it's apple pie. We prefer to stop for apple pie in Santa Ysabel. The Julian Apple Pie company is less busy than in Julian and the prices are better.
The route continues West on 78 from Santa Ysabel. You can follow Rt. 78 to Ramona. However, there is an interesting side route if you bear left on Old Julian Highway. This single lane road will snake thru the ranch country and will eventually bring you into downtown Ramona where it Tees into Rt. 78. Be careful as you turn left on 78. Like Julian, Ramona has its own charm. Stores tend to be more country & western in their style.
Rt. 78 turns right in Ramona while Rt. 67 proceeds straight. Be sure to follow Rt. 78. A stretch of Rt. 78 will give you another gorgeous view of the mountains as you descend. You will eventually pass the San Pasqual Battle Museum which makes for another interesting stop.
Finally, you will continue past the San Diego Safari Park which is worth a full day visit. When you reach Escondido, the ride is concluded. We hope you enjoyed the trip.