852 Palomar Mtn. 105 mi, 8000 ft el, 76 ft/mi

The South Grade is 11.7 miles, 4210 ft el, 6.8%
A cat 1 climb, not quite Hors Category (go to Mt Baldy!)

0.0 Exit West side of train, Tyson St
0.1 R Pacific
1.0 R San Luis Rey River Trail (RR underpass)
1.1 L San Luis Rey River Trail
8.1 R bathroom in park
8.2 R College exit (after College underpass)
8.2 R College
8.3 R N River/Vandegrift
8.6 R N River
11.9 R Holly
12.2 R Kari
12.5 R old bridge path
12.9 L Old River
15.3 = Camino Del Rey
20.0 R Old Hwy 395
20.8 L Circle R
23.9 R W Lilac
25.8 R Lilac
27.3 L Lilac
30.6 L Valley Center
32.1 L Vesper
34.6 R Sunset
35.1 L Valley Center
40.3 R CA-76
Refuel Jilbertos Taco Shop
(bathroom behind building)
45.3 L S Grade
52.1 L S Grade
52.2 U Refuel Mothers Kitchen
52.3 R S Grade
59.1 R CA-76
64.1 L Valley Center
69.3 R Sunset
69.8 L Vesper
72.3 R Valley Center
73.8 R Lilac
77.1 R Lilac
78.6 L W Lilac
80.5 R W Lilac
89.0 R Camino Del Rey
89.3 L Old River
91.7 R old bridge path
92.1 L Holly
92.4 L Holly
92.7 L N River
96.0 L Vandegrift
96.3 L College
96.5 R San Luis Rey River Trail
103.5 R RR underpass
103.5 L Pacific
104.3 L Mission
104.4 R Seagaze
104.5 R Cleveland
104.6 L Topeka
104.6 R Tremont
104.6 R return to start

The climb up Mt Palomar is the one great mountain climbs in San Diego. Lance does it on a single speed. 5000 feet in 11 miles makes it good preparation for your next bike tour of the Alps! The descent is a classic mountain high-speed technical descent.

Attention to weather will make or break your enjoyment of this climb. The ascent is unbearable in the heat, and the descent is unbearable in the cold. Check the forecast for Palomar Mountain before you go.

Under 60 degrees - bring a jacket, long finger gloves and knee warmers. Nice extras would be a balclava, insulated gloves, and an insulated jersey. Pack them on your back or tie them under your saddle. Otherwise, plan on violently shivering on the descent, and losing all feeling in your hands. Research hypothermia.

Over 80 degrees - bring extra water, as there is none between the Taco Shop and Mothers Kitchen. Much of the climb is in direct sun. Research heat exhaustion. Low salt levels from sweating is also a problem. Salt takes a long time to absorb, and like food and water, if you wait until you are suffering to ingest, then it is too late. Salt up: Eat salty food the day before your climb, and research hyponatremia.

There are multiple cattle grates on the climb. Go over them quickly and straight ahead. They are uncomfortable, but your bike can handle it.

Weekends see many pocket rocket motorcycles racing the South Grade. They can easily avoid cyclists as they have to also watch for rocks strewn in the road, but they make a peaceful climb unpleasantly noisy.

The East Grade is much quieter. Weekdays and rainy days are much quieter. Returning to civilization, you may prefer climbing the quieter Cole Grade over the gambling rush to the casinos on Valley Center Rd.

The climb ends 20 minutes after your legs have turned to mush.