"Freeway-close for San Diego residents, Noble Canyon in the Laguna Mountains offers an unadulterated look at backcountry Southern California, circa 1920. Today, as suburbia leapfrogs inland from the coast, it’s nice to explore an area where the wind sweeps through pine needles, raptors soar overhead, and a crystal-clear brook sings as it tumbles over stone—all with barely any hint of modern civilization.
Botanically, this one-way downhill trip takes you from a zone of conifers and oaks into fragrant chaparral. The route, officially known as the Noble Canyon National Recreation Trail, is designed for multiple uses, including mountain biking. Naturally the bikers prefer the downhill direction, and some are likely to be moving excessively fast."