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Diamond Valley Lake
The main purpose of this ride is to visit the new Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir near Hemet. The ride covers a distance of 99 miles including a side trip to the Reservoir view point. It will take about three hours to complete the route. We recommend starting with a full gas tank and a meal because there will be few opportunities along the course.
Note: The View Point is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Be prepared to show your drivers license. Thursday thru Monday.
The Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir was started in 1995 and is designed to hold nearly a trillion liters of water when full. The water will be is used to provide protection against drought and the out flow will also generate electricity. There is an observation view point that gives a spectacular view of the project. There is also a Visitor center that features hands-on exhibits, a map of California's aqueduct systems, a small sample of ice age fossils, a solar panel exhibit and more. Both the view point and the visitor center are free. There is also the Western Science Center that can be explored for a fee.
The ride begins from the parking lot next to the Mobil gas station located at Rt. 76 and I-15. As usual, we take Old Highway 395 North parallel to I-15. This is the road that is just West of the gas station. At Mission, we turn right to cross to the other side of I-15 and turn left at the Tee to continue following Old Highway 395 North. This takes us along the edge of the town of Rainbow and eventually follow Rainbow Valley road as it winds down into Temecula.
Rainbow Valley road ends at Pechanga Pkwy where the route turns left. The route then turns right on Rt. 79 and proceeds Eastward and out of town. Follow Rt. 79 as it gradually narrows to a two lane, twisting road. The terrain becomes rolling hills filled with scattered brush and few signs of civilization. You will pass the Vail Lake RV Resort on your left and should start watching for Sage road. The sign is a little hard to see but is next to a sign pointing towards Hemet.
Sage Road has recently been repaved. Watch out for traces of sand and rocks on the pavement and places where the road gets narrower. The road continuously twists and turns while the surrounding land becomes flatter and more desert-like. See the picture below.
The View from Sage Road
This area has a lot of boulders and is popular for trials riding events. If you turn right on Wilson Valley road and then left on Reed Valley road, you will reach an area where National trials events are typically held. The events are held on private property.
The road begins to descend quickly as you get closer to Hemet. Note that it can get pretty hot in Hemet so you should check the forecast before taking this ride.
Sage road ends at a stop sign when you reach Cactus Valley road. Turn left on Cactus Valley and the road becomes State street when it turns right. State street runs flat and straight into Hemet. Watch for the sign marking the turn left to go to the reservoir visitor center. This is an interesting place to visit and more importantly, it has restrooms!
Mastodon Fossil at the Visitor Center
If the View Point is closed (ask the guard), you can still see a video and pictures showing the various stages of construction of the reservoir. The fossils are interesting too, especially since there is no charge to see them. The ride resumes by heading back on Newport Ave. and turning left on State Street to continue North. Look to turn left (West) on Domenigoni Parkway at the next traffic light.
Follow the parkway until it ends at Rt. 79, Winchester road. This is a different section of Rt. 79 from the one that you previously followed. If the Reservoir View Point is open, you should turn left on Construction Avenue. There are signs for the View Point just prior to turn. There is a guard station that regulates the number of visitors at the view point and they use several different means including pass cards. The guard may just wave you thru or will explain how long you can stay. Be prepared to show your drivers license.
The Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir
It's a 2 mile ride to the View Point at the top of the reservoir. The route is obvious and there is a paved parking lot at the top. You can park and follow the trail up to the View Point. It's a great view. There is a road all the way around the reservoir and we hope that it will be open to the public some day. It looks like it could be a nice ride.
When you are done enjoying the sights, follow the road back past the guard until you reach Winchester again. Turn left on Winchester and continue South. Traffic moves quickly so you will have to be careful as you watch for Washington Street. You will turn left on Washington at a crossroad. Stay on Washington as it heads South and then bends to the left and becomes Borel Road. Lake Skinner is to your left but you won't be able to see it. The land is rolling plains used for ranches. You are approaching Temecula Wine Country and will pass a mixture of wineries, nurseries, ranches, and homes.
Borel road has a series of giant "whoops" and then bends right and becomes Rancho California road. The route turns left Glen Oaks Road and follows it until it Tees into De Portola Rd. Turn right on DePortola and enjoy the scenery as you continue South thru wine country. Follow De Portola until you reach Anza road. The road straight ahead is hard packed dirt so you should turn left on Anza. Anza will take you to the original Rt. 79 that brought you to this area. Turn right on Rt. 79 to head West back into Temecula.
You will probably want to stop for gas and food somewhere along Rt. 79. We like the Shell station but traffic can make it difficult to get back on Rt. 79 West. For variety, we suggest turning left on Pechanga Pkwy and taking it all of the way South. Along the way, you will pass the Pechanga Casino and then have a fun ride as you pass thru the canyon. Watch for sharp turns to the right. You will then pass thru the Pala Indian Reservation where the speed limit drops to 25. When you reach the Tee, turn right and follow the road until it Tees into Rt. 76. The new Pala casino is straight ahead of you. Turn right on Rt. 76 and follow it to I-15 where the ride ends. We hope you enjoyed the course.