A little taste of San Diego County
The BFL combines parts of the Beach, Desert and Mountain Loops into a single big loop, resulting in the BFL (Big F*****g Loop) acronymn. This is the perfect option to experience the diversity that San Diego County offers if you do not have time to do the 3 loops individually.
The route starts and ends at the Julian Pie Company in Julian. The address is 2225 Main Street, Julian, CA 92036. The route takes you into the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve following the Coast to Crest trail along scenic back roads over to the San Pasqual Valley where you will be treated to some great singletrack as you work your way over to Lake Hodges in Escondido through the San Dieguito River Park to the beach at Del Mar. You then travel inland again through Penasquitos Canyon to the Trans County Trail into Poway. Then onto Ramona via the back roads. From Ramona you head up into the mountains towards Lake Cuyamaca along some significant climbs.
The route takes us into Cuyamaca Rancho State Park for some great singletrack. The singletrack will have you working your way over to Mount Laguna, which is sure to test your climbing ability. Then the incredible singletrack playground of Mount Laguna awaits you before you are sent down to the desert.
Get ready to put your sand riding skills to the test! The route connects to the Mason Valley Truck Trail which descends down a rocky & technical descent, Oriflamme Canyon, into the amazing Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The first campsite is at Blair Valley and shortly after the first resupply at the Stagecoach Trails RV Resort. We then head into some serious sand along the North Pinyon Mountain Road to the Mine Wash. Follow the washes along SR78 to the Old Borrego Valley Road into Borrego Springs, the only major resupply stop and the Borrego Palm Canyon campground. Out of Borrego Springs a significant asphalt climb up Yaqui Pass Road which takes us to the Yaqui Pass, Tamarisk Grove and Yaqui Well campgrounds. Next some more climbing up the Grapevine Canyon Road lollipop section then back to the Stagecoach Trails RV Resort. Follow the Rodriguez Spur Truck Trail back to SR78 then head up the final tough climb up the Old Banner Road Trail into Julian.
Access to the trails at Lake Poway closes at sunset, at which point you have the option to use Highland Valley Rd to get to Ramona. Look for the bypass route GPX on the downloads page
This loop is long and has some serious elevation gain. The variety of terrain makes bike selection challenging.
Note that there are no resupply options for the first 50 miles until you get to Escondido, so plan accordingly. From this point on there are many resupply options until you get to Poway, which is the last resupply until you get to the Lake Cuyamaca Store. Next resupply is at the Laguna Mountain Store, before the Stagecoach RV Resort in the desert, which is accessible twice a short distance off route. Borrego Springs is the only major resupply point with markets and restaurants. Los Jilberto’s Taco Shop is a favorite bikepacker’s stop.
There is open camping in the Cleveland National Forest between Santa Ysabel and Escondido. There are two campsites along the coast, both tp the north off route, at San Elijo State Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach. If no campsites are available, ask for the Hike or Bike campsite available between 4PM-9AM the next morning. There are also many hotels between Escondido and the coast and in Ramona.
Camping in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park at Green Valley, Granite Springs Primitive, Laguna and Burnt Rancheria campgrounds. The only hotel options is at the Laguna Mountain Lodge. Abundant primitive camping options everywhere in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There are formal campsites at Blair Valley, Borrego Palm Canyon, Yaqui Pass, Tamarisk Grove and Yaqui Well. Except for Borrego Palm Canyon and Tamarisk Grove, these campgrounds do not have water and only have pit toilets. Tamarisk Grove has a Hike and Bike campsite. A map of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is available HERE.
Ideal time to do this loop is in the fall or spring. In the winter the higher elevations may have snow. In the summer it can get hot at the lower elevations.