Santa Ysabel Creek Trail

Warner Springs, California 92086

Santa Ysabel Creek Trail

Santa Ysabel Creek Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This short trail leaves Black Canyon Road from Ramona and follows a winding shelf road that runs high above Santa Ysabel Creek. The road is suitable for high-clearance 2WD vehicles in dry weather. There are a couple of pleasant options for hikers here; a hiking trail heads off near the start of the vehicle trail and travels along Black Canyon Creek. The creek flows for much of the year and there are a couple of turnout points under giant shady oak trees that make a lovely place for picnicking and relaxing. The easygoing shelf road along Santa Ysabel Creek is wide enough for a single vehicle and has sufficient passing places. On a saddle, the spur trail up Black Mountain departs to the north. This stretch is rougher and more lumpy with uneven sections and embedded rocks, making 4WD preferable. The old Black Mountain Truck Trail, as it was called, is closed to vehicles after 3 miles. Hikers, horses, and mountain bikes can continue around the gate to the top of the peak. Special Attractions: Easy loop north of the town of Ramona; Views along Santa Ysabel Creek from the shelf road; Rough spur trail up Black Mountain. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions."

Santa Ysabel Creek Trail Reviews

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It was a very fun trail, it is very narrow, and if you encounter an on coming vehicle, someone is gonna have a not so much fun time trying to back up to a place where both cars can pass by. High clearance vehicle is needed, as there are plenty sharp whoops in which a normal car will get stuck or at the very least scrape the frame. I recommend taking this from east towards west, as it is displayed on the maps here. I never needed to turn on my 4x4, I did it all just using the 2wd, but if wet you will need 4x4 for some of the steep sections. Also, I have automatic locking rear diff, so I never lost grip, an vehicle with open diff may experience some grip loss even when dry, I also brought my tire pressure down to 24psi. Which made a world of difference in regards to grip, and just rolling over stuff. Finding the trailhead was not very easy, I actually took the wrong trail, and after 6 miles, I realized it couldn't be that trail, and headed back, then finally found it. You will know it is the correct trail, when you see the hiker trail head on your right hand side, then the truck trail will make a sharp left turn, and the hill will be on your right hand side, and the down slope will be on your left hand side. I don't think it's an "easy" skill level, I'm pretty new to off roading, but my truck is heavily modified with 14 inches of long travel suspension, which makes up for skill. But if you are on a stock truck, you will need moderate skill level.
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I did this trail today in a Jeep, and high clearance was very helpful. A little more rougher and narrower than the description would have lead me to believe. Beautiful views all around!

Santa Ysabel Creek Trail Photos

Trail Information

Warner Springs
Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
1.5 hours
Year-round; best in dry weather
1,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,800 feet
Top Elevation
Cleveland National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Ramona, Mesa Grande, Borrego Valley
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018