North County Cruisers Motorcycle Club

Lilac / Couser Canyon Trip Description

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Lilac Map

When time or weather doesn't allow for a longer ride, we like to ride the Lilac/Couser Canyon area. The area features rolling hills and roads that are more technical with tight, twisting turns. This narrative shows one of many routes thru this area. We measured this ride at about 48 miles in length and it will take about two hours.

Notes: You will be on or cross Rt. 76 several times. Traffic will be heavy and moves quickly so use caution. Also, Sage Road has a steep uphill left turn that will require good balance. If you are unsure of your balance, we suggest bypassing Sage Road. Speed limits and tight turns will limit you to about 30 mph for the first 2/3 of the route..

The ride begins by heading West on Rt. 76 from the Mobil gas station at Interstate 15. You will turn right on Sage Road which usually has loose gravel at the intersection. If in doubt, ride the Rt. 76 shoulder before making the turn. Follow Sage road up to the top of the hill. This includes a steep uphill left turn. Be sure to use a low gear.

Sage Road will change name to Sumac and will follow the ridge. You will find the road to be narrow with two lanes surrounded by a diverse selection of homes. Sumac will change names and become Wilt Road at the stop sign at Pala Mesa. You should continue straight on Wilt. In general, traffic should be light and you can concentrate on enjoying the ride and the scenery.

Wilt road will end at Reche road where you will turn left. As you pass Live Oak park you should watch for Live Oak road which bears off to your right. Live Oak road will take you thru an area of ancient scrub oak trees that overhang the road. Signs will ask that you hold your speed down and enjoy the trees. Live Oak road will end at Mission where you should turn right. Mission is more heavily traveled so some caution is advised.

The route will turn left to cross to the other side of I-15 where you will turn left again on Old Highway 395 at the Tee. This is essentially a frontage road that will parallel I-15 North. You will follow Old Highway 395 North until the first crossroad where you will turn right on Rainbow Valley.

You are now entering the small town of Rainbow. This is primarily an agricultural community with many small farms. We once looked into buying property here only only to find that the ground is saturated from constant watering of crops. There is a ban on new building until the day when a external sewer system is installed.

Our route continues East on Rainbow Valley until you can bear right on 8th street. This takes you thru a small triangle that includes a real estate office. 8th street will bend right and become Rice Canyon road. Rice Canyon winds it's way thru the hills and can be a fun ride. Rice Canyon ends at Rt. 76. You should turn left and immediately turn right on Couser Canyon. Be careful on the short stretch of Rt. 76. There is a lot of Casino traffic.

This is a yet another twisty two lane road. It works its way up the mountain side, skirting an orchard, passes over the peak and works its way down again. (Be sure to watch for fruit on the road). Some of the turns can be very sharp so use caution.

Couser Canyon Tees into Lilac road and you should turn right. In spite of it's tame sounding name, Lilac can be fairly challenging. Like Couser Canyon road, Lilac also features a series of tight turns. Both Couser Canyon and Lilac have light traffic so you should be able to enjoy your ride without being stuck behind a slow moving vehicle. There is a main Lilac road and also West Lilac which branches to the West. Both are fun rides. Our course turns right on West Lilac. We have seen a wide variety of "critters" along Lilac include rattlesnakes and road runners.

West Lilac is especially fun with some very sharp turns. You also have a great view of the area to your right. At the Tee, West Lilac continues to your right. Circle R leaves to your left and is another great stretch of road. You could take that as an alternative to West Lilac. This final stretch of West Lilac is not as twisty as earlier but still is quite scenic. Be sure to stop on the huge bridge is passes overhead of I-15. You will be up high with a great view. This is a typical stop for our rides.

Lilac View
The view from the Lilac Road Bridge over I-15.

Continue straight on Lilac until it ends at Camino Del Rey. You are now in the small town of Bonsall near the San Luis Rey Downs country club. This area has a golf course and a training area for race horses. You should turn left on Camino Del Rey and take it Eastward. The road starts out as four lanes but soon narrows to two lanes. The road is flat with gradual sweeping turns with large ranches on either side. Follow Camino Del Rey until it ends at Old Highway 395. You can see that the course is bringing you closer to Escondido and traffic is starting to get a little heavier.

Turn right on Old Highway 395 and watch to turn right on Gopher Canyon road. If you stayed on Old Highway 395, you would pass the Lawrence Welk resort. Old Castle road leaves to your left and is another fun road to ride. However, we have chosen Gopher Canyon road as the last part of this ride. Traffic will move quickly so you should ride with caution. Watch to turn right on Little Gopher Canyon road which is a smaller road with little traffic. This is a pleasant stretch to end your ride. Follow Little Gopher Canyon road until it ends and turn right on River road. This will take you Eastward back into Bonsall.

River road will Tee into Camino Del Rey where you turn left and the ride ends. There is a gas station at Rt. 76 and Camino Del Rey. The road changes name and becomes Olive Hill. Note that this is the starting point for our DeLuz Canyon road so you could continue on that ride. We hope you enjoyed this ride.