Noble Canyon Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California

Distance10.0mi
Elevation Gain3,348ft
Trailhead Elevation5,433ft
Top5,535ft
Elevation Min/Max3792/5535ft
Elevation Start/End5433/5433ft

Noble Canyon Trail

Noble Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 10.0 miles long and begins at 5,433 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 14.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,348 feet. The Penny Pines Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. This trail connects with the following: Indian Creek Trail.

Noble Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Since its completion in 1982, the trail has proven popular among hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. With transportation arrangements set up in advance, you can travel one-way along this trail in the relatively easy downhill direction. Potable water is not available at either trailhead, so it would be a good idea to plan for your water needs in advance."

"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."

"Located in Pine Valley, about 40 miles east of San Diego. Highlights: There is some incredible singletrack within this woodsy forest setting. Ecological Reserve near Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Hazards: Rattlesnakes. Hikers near the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Forest Adventure Pass required."

"Situated in the Laguna Range, which tends to be warmer and drier than the neighboring Cuyamacas, you'll climb up an intermittent dirt and pavement road on this ride. It's easy to be lulled into thinking the climb will be moderate the whole way, only to encounter some truly sickening steeps. But it's a good way to earn vertical mileage, and that you will do as you turn onto Laguna Mountain Road.

You'll cross Noble Canyon National Recreation Trail several times- but be patient, you'll want as much vertical on this as possible. After finally accessing the top of the trail from sunrise Highway, you'll actually ascend some more. But after a half-mile, you'll begin to go down, And down. And down. It's technically challenging but awesomely beautiful, with interspersing oak "tunnels" and rocky cliffside vistas. Even some uphill sections and a boulder field at the ride's end can't change the positive impression of this ride."

Noble Canyon Trail Reviews

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2/15/2014
Trails starts out with a long slow ride to Sunrise Hwy, but well worth every minute of pain. A bit more climbing and the a series of rounded switch backs and road crossings. Slowly leads into a rocky decent with narrow trails. The Extra Credit takes you back out over the south saddle, and then continues over more rocky single track and then a the trails drops you right in the parking lot. Great ride overall. For Experts only.
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3/20/2010
A great beginner, warm up to backpacking. Obtain adventure pass beforehand due to lack of open hours at firehouse. Do mind the note regarding border crossers - a friendly gentleman walking by simply smiled and waved to us on a sunrise hike. Nothing unpleasant, but the potential to come across border crossers is real, and there are potentially difficult situations accordingly. Regardless, a beautiful setting nestled in the canyon of a beautiful range. Ideal for a couples getaway overnighter.
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1/16/2009
Nice easy terrain - went from the North end halfway. Some snow left over from the recent weather.
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6/5/2007
Not the most exciting ride I have rode. Do not recommend if your looking for big thrills. Great for the average trail rider.
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4/12/2006
Beautiful trail from the pines to oaks down a very scenic drainage. Best trail I know in southern CA. Bring your camera. 5" travel bike perfect for this fun descent.
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4/1/2006
Nice area but the possibility of border patrol activity made you nervous. It would have been nice to camp there if that was not the case. The meadows were beautiful! But the presence of trash (water bottles, socks, etc.) along the way spoiled the natural ambience.
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4/25/2003
Quit harshing on people who don't want to wear spandex and kook out on how "EPIC" pushing oneself up hill is. DH'rs have big b@lls and like the adrenalin. This is the same type of discrimenation displayed toward Snowboarders by Skiers. Which sport dominates now? DH/FR will dominate XC!
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5/20/2002
This is a short trip (all downhill on the way there) but well worth it for a getaway weekend. Plenty of water at Pine Valley Creek for camping, and the Creek has some nice pools for dipping the toes in. A popular trail for equestrians as well, so keep an eye out. A great day hike is to continue following the trail north on what's called Secret Canyon Trail. If you're feeling energetic enough, this goes for another 14 miles right up into Pine Valley - but even part of the way affords grest views. Another route north - less traveled but a bit more adventurous is to follow the Creek itself north, boulder hopping as far as you like. Watch out for poisonous oak - it gets bad at times. Or you could always continue on the Espinosa Trail to the east and try summiting Corte Madera (4657') or Los Pinos Mtn (4805'). Lots to do anyway.
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10/27/2000
Bittersweet. This fun trail has been eroded, overused and abused by lazy shuttling downhillers. The forest adventure pass that was supposed to have paid for trail maintainance is doing nothing for this trail. Giant brake bars and completely eroded rockgardens now lie where smooth singletrack once was. All this considered, Noble is still a good trail. Brake before you corner and jump at the chance to join a trail work day.
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9/4/2000
Ahhh, Noble Canyon, easily one of the best rides in California. On this ride you'll see it all, High Forest, (possibly with snow in the winter), all the way down to the desert climate. Be sure to bring plenty of food and water for this ride, it can be long, but well worth it. Fairly easy singletrack at the top, ending in some pretty technical stuff just in time for when you are all tired out. Beautiful scenery, excellent singletrack, just watch out for equestrians and hikers.
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Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Cleveland National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Monument Peak, Mount Laguna, Decanso
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018