In honor of #OptOutside, Kate, Andy and I hit the trails running a little northeast from us in Escondido. Originally we were looking to go to Julian/Cuyamaca, but the low temps (30 vs. 55) and the potential for rain convinced us otherwise. Instead, we ended up doing a trail run I’ve completed a couple times with my running group. In fact, the last time I visited was last January, before I realized I was incredibly sick with food poisoning.
Anyways, Raptor Ridge is part of the larger Coast to Crest Trail in the San Dieguito River Park, and pretty straightforward. It’s a well designated, wide path that is easily accessible right off the freeway.
What I call the Raptor Ridge trail is around 10.5 miles round trip (5.19 out an 5.19 back). We went the morning after some rain, so while it was muddy, it wasn’t too bad.
Around mile 4 the trail changes to a single track (this is considered the “Raptor Ridge” trail) and starts the ascent to the top. And while it was tricky (requiring a few walking breaks in which Andy turned around and said “you guys coming?!”) the view from the top was worth it!
And the best part about going up is that you get to go down! We ended up negative splitting this trail. By the time we hit mile 9 we were ready to be back to the car and turned the pace into a tempo run, dropping down into the 7’s.
My favorite thing about trail running, especially in the middle of San Diego, is how it makes you feel so displaced. Like you’re hundreds of miles away in a completely different area. We all agreed and loved how it felt like such a quintessential fall afternoon, from the color of the leaves, the wafting scent of plant-life and greenery, and the crisp chill of the air.
Entrance: 12301 Sunset Drive, Escondido, CA 92025
Route: Start off at Mule Hill trail and follow the trail signs for Raptor Ridge trail/viewpoint
Miles: 10.5 mi out-and-back