California MTB

Stowe Trail, San Diego: Things to Know

I received the call from the Marines to set an appointment to pick up my Stowe Trail permit.  I did so, getting it late last week.  This morning, I rode Stowe Trail from Fanita/Ganley in Santee all the way up through to Goodan Ranch/Sycamore, continuing up to Martha’s and then back through.

Things to know:

You cannot get off trail.  Signs are everywhere.  Don’t try to fool anyone.  You’ll be the fool, losing your permit and likely your bike.

Yes, some sweet single track is gone.  Some is still part of the trail.  A lot of it is double track.   It is currently, likely due to this winter’s rains, quite sandy and rocky.  Fat bikes and plus-size tires/bikes will roll it all just fine.  It is not smooth, “flow-ey,” glory trail riding.   It’s work.

It needs lots of tires rolling on it to break it in.   Get out there and ride once your permit comes in.

At Fanita/Ganley, the entrance looks like this:

Take a look at this map.  It makes it very challenging to connect to the Mel Brooks trails.  I suggest not deviating from the Stowe Trail, if you are not familiar with the area.  Stay on the Stowe Trail.


Monday morning, and I saw not another human being.  No Marines were on patrol.

It was great to ride Martha’s again…been a long time.  I never made the drive around and wasn’t into hopping fences, etc.  Martha’s is riding a little on the burly side right now!  Sure was fun!

A lot of people are to thank for making this happen.  I’m a mountain biker, so I thank SDMBA!

6 comments on “Stowe Trail, San Diego: Things to Know

  1. Why is it hard to connect to Mel Brooks system? that was pretty much the way I was going in before? Also do you know if you need to have the permit to go to the Mel Brooks system from this side? as the actual Stowe trail doesnt start until a bit further north?

    • James Murren, Writer

      See SDMBA Facebook comments. Also, I added an up close photo of the sign.


  2. Jim, can you post the phone number for MCRD? I rode out there today, not realizing a permit was needed. As you, no other person there.

  3. Thanks for the info! Quick question that I cannot seem to locate an answer for…how long is the trail from Santee to Martha’s? Thanks for any assistance you can offer!

    • James Murren, Writer

      Sorry, Paul. I don’t know the exact mileage, telling others that it’s about 6 miles.

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