Head east from San Diego towards Ramona, the city's country neighbor, on any given weekend, and you'll start seeing cars packed along the road on the outskirts of Ramona. The crowds flock to two wildly popular trails, Iron Mountain Trail and Mount Woodson Trail to Potato Chip Rock.
Many San Diego hikers never make it further into Ramona to explore the many other trails surrounding the town. Colin Macdonald is looking to change that.
Macdonald is the proprietor of Kit Fox Outfitters, an outdoor gear store in Ramona, and the mastermind behind the Ramona Trail Challenge. Along with the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, Kit Fox is sponsoring the hiking event, which challenges hikers to complete six trails in Ramona by July 1, 2020.
"People don't realize how much backcountry is here in Ramona," says Macdonald. "There are dozens of hikes just outside of town that rival Iron Mountain and Mount Woodson and are much less crowded."
To participate, hikers need to visit Kit Fox Outfitters at 780 Main Street or at the Ramona Chamber of Commerce at 1306 Main Street, Suite 104 and pick up a Challenge form to log their hikes.
Those who complete the challenge and submit the completed challenge at the Kit Fox store in Ramona form by July 1 earn the chance to win a backpack full of prizes from Kit Fox and other local merchants.
The trails in the challenge are Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Mt. Gower Preserve Trail, Barnett Ranch Preserve Trail, Santa Ysabel Preserve East Trail, Pamo Valley Stage of the Coast to Crest Trail and Simon Preserve Trail.
To receive a discount from participating local merchants, hikers may visit their location, show their log form and take a selfie using the hashtag #RamonaTrailChallenge.
Other local merchants supporting the challenge are Smoking Cannon Brewery, Pamo Valley Winery Tasting Room, San Diego Sunshine Distillery, Reds Whites and Brews, Ramona Family Naturals, CC Cycles Bike Shop, Boll Weevil Restaurant and Cheers of Ramona.
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