The West Sycamore extension of Mission Trails Regional Park was formally opened to the public in December of 2014. The park is immediately adjacent to the Goodan Ranch Sycamore Canyon Preserve and the two are interconnected by several trails. While the West Sycamore extension is not currently connected to the main Mission Trails Park, there are long term plans to procure land that will link the two.
We’d been eager to check out West Sycamore since we’d heard about it a couple weeks prior. Exploring new trails is great fun, and it’s always heartening to see new tracts of land being set aside for preservation and recreation.
We successfully navigated a suburban maze of McMansions to arrive at the trailhead, and were pleased to find a large parking area ready to hold swarms of cars. There’s a couple of trails that being at this parking area. According to the map, the trail on the south end dead-ends at MCAS Miramar property before very long, so we chose the northern trail which went much further.
From the parking area, we headed north along a wide dirt road. The road wound along rocky, chaparral covered hillside, travelling north and east. We had wide views of the surrounding area, and before long we saw a beautiful green canyon open up on our left. Beyond, in the distance, we could make out Mount Woodson and the prominent peak of Iron Mountain.
At just over .5 mile we began to climb a hill. Halfway up we found a turn off for a single track trail labelled “Stonebridge Trail.” The single track bypassed the hill by going along the side and met up with the wide road again on the other side. We chose the single track and vowed to check out the views from the top of the hill on the return trip.
At approximately 1 mile, we reached a trail junction and kiosk. The right fork led down to the north side of the Goodan Ranch Sycamore Canyon Preserve and connected with the trail system there. Our destination lay to the left: Beeler Canyon.
We were now following a ridgeline headed roughly west. Looking north we could see Scripps Poway Parkway in the distance, with some ranches and orchards in the foreground, and Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain off in the distance.
As we made our way down the hill, we could see a huge pasture that was bright green in the midst of winter. Flocks of crows were flying around and landing in the field or resting on the power lines that ran alongside.
At 2.1 miles we reached the bottom of the hill. What I assume was a private dirt road ran between our trail and the pasture. We could see a ranch house on the edge of the large field. We turned left to continue along the trail.
On the far side of the grove, the trail climbed upwards again. Around 3 miles we found ourselves along the backside of a residential property. The trail skirted the property, and we awkwardly made our way past while trying not to peer into some stranger’s house.
The trail bent away from the house to where the mouths of two canyons converged, then followed the contour of the hill on our left, and bent back towards the residence. We proceeded southeast, paralleling a rural dirt road down the hill on our right.
At 3.4 mile we crossed a small wooden footbridge, and it was just a bit further to the end of the trail at 3.6 miles. Here we found another, more remote trailhead at the end of Beeler Canyon Road. There was a small turnout with room for a couple of cars just before the gate.
Except for the limited parking, this probably would have made a slightly more sensible starting point for the out and back hike we were doing. Starting here would have put the majority of the climbing at the beginning of the hike, whereas now we’d be doing it on our way back. But being that the elevation change isn’t huge, I think either direction makes for a perfectly nice hike.
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Directions: From I-15, take the Pomerado Road exit toward Miramar Road. Head east on Pomerado Road for 3.7 miles. Turn right to stay on Pomerado Road for another .2 miles, then turn right onto Stonebridge Parkway. Continue on Stonebridge Parkway for 3.7 miles until it ends at the Mission Trails parking lot. map
|Total Distance:||7.2 miles|
|Total Ascent:||1275 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
|Facilities:||Porta-potty in parking lot. No water.|