Santa Ysabel Truck Trail is a 5.2 mile easy to moderate off-road trail near Ramona, California, that runs from near Southerland Dam to Pamo Valley. The trail travels through the mountains of Cleveland National Forest traveling along precipitous shelf roads in places. Near its western trailhead in Pamo Valley, the trail connects with Black Mountain Truck Trail.
|Trail Type||End to end|
|Trailhead Coordinates||33.124108, -116.801875 (Southerland Dam trailhead)|
|Location||Cleveland National Forest|
|Best Season||Year-round (hot in summer)|
Owned by the City of San Diego, the floor of Pamo Valley is leased for cattle grazing and much of the valley floor is fenced off. San Diego’s Coast to Crest trail passes through the valley and its grazing pastures. The surrounding mountains are managed by the National Forest Service and regional Native American tribes.
Temescal Creek flows through Pamo Valley and confluences with Santa Ysabel Creek, which comes into the valley from the East. Santa Ysabel Truck Trail follows the creek for much of the distance from Southerland Dam at times from high on the surrounding slopes. The area is home to many native species of plants and animals, and you may see deer, foxes, snakes, coyotes, bobcats, and many different birds.
A truck, Jeep, or SUV with good clearance should be able to handle the terrain along the trail. This is one of the mellower off-road trails in San Diego, and a good trail for beginning off-roaders. If it has rained recently, the trail may be muddy and slippery which adds to the difficulty.
The National Forest Service often closes the trail at the Poma Valley trailhead (with a big metal gate) after rains to prevent erosion and damage to the soft, muddy road. Make sure to check with the Palomar Ranger District Office, which manages the trail. You can also check the Forest Service’s list of local road closures here.
For more off-road trails near Santa Ysabel Truck Trail, visit our guide to San Diego off-road trails.