This is the eighth installment in a new series where we highlight great can’t-miss routes around the world.
If you want to get your fill of excellent riding in the middle of winter—or any other time, for that matter—look no further than Southern California. Sure, it rains a couple times of year, but compared to the rest of the country, the riding season is virtually year round.
This route out of Temecula, heads out Highway 76, before launching up the South Grade of Palomar Mountain. This is seriously one of the best curvy roads in the country. This section of road is packed with 180-degree carousel turns, hairpins, and tight sweepers that will challenge even the most experienced riders. After hitting the summit we suggest heading down the East Grade toward Lake Henshaw. This side of the mountain isn’t as tight, but still packs a ton of technical corners, and also has the potential for much higher speeds, so use some brainpower and don’t get carried away.
After jumping back on the 76 for a few miles head south on Mesa Grande Road, which will start out as a pretty rough and narrow farm road and eventually blend into a fantastic couple mile section of awesome hairpins, be patient, then end section of this road is worth the wait.
The ride back into Temecula on Highway 79 is scenic and flowing and very enjoyable in its own right, and a nice reprise after tackling Palomar’s zillion hairpins.
Where to Eat
Mother’s Kitchen: This vegetarian restaurant sits at the intersection of the South Grade and East Grade roads on Palomar Mountain. Don’t shy away just because there is no roadkill on the menu, especially at breakfast time.
The Roundup Grill: If it’s lunch time, a great place to grab a burger is the Roundup Cafe right across from Lake Henshaw. You won’t be disappointed.
Julian Pie Co, Santa Ysabel: There is nothing better than home-baked pie mid-ride, and the Julian Pie Co. definitely delivers. There Santa Ysabel location is just about a mile off of this route, or you make a slightly longer detour and head up into the town of Julian to its other location.