Bicycle Rides Near Fallbrook, CA: General Road Recommendations

Fallbrook is a great place to ride a bicycle on the road. I have immensely enjoyed riding my bicycle in the Fallbrook area, which offers beautiful scenery, great roads to ride on, low vehicle traffic on many roads, and relatively few impediments to riding like the inconsiderate motorists found in some areas.

Good Bicycling Roads

Any of the following roads are a pleasure to ride upon. They are ranked in rough order of altitude gain on the road, from the most level to the most hilly. The six major hills in Fallbrook are explicitly given in The Fallbrook, CA Guacamole Grande.

Camino Del Rey, Bonsall.The longest flattest road in the area. Five miles of beautiful scenery through Bonsall paralleling Moosa Creek. Speed limit is 50 mph, but traffic is light and there are only a few spots in the road with inadequate shoulder.
Live Oak Road.Fairly flat, shaded along much of the way by "Ancient Oak Trees". Not much shoulder, but the light traffic and 25 mph speed limit make this a safe road to travel.
Rainbow Valley, Old Highway 395 loop, Rainbow.Fairly flat, beautiful trip through some of the many nurseries in Rainbow. Speed limit 55 mph, but there's an official wide bicycle lane on 395 and Rainbow Valley Road is lightly travelled.
Old River Road, Bonsall.Dead flat, nice trip along south side of the San Luis Rey River. Speed limit is 55 mph, but there is little traffic.
North River Road, Bonsall.Pretty flat, continues along the San Luis Rey River on the north side.
Olive Hill Road.A little hill at each end at Mission, but otherwise fairly gentle slope through pretty country and some nice homes. Speed limit 55 mph, but shoulder is adequate for the light traffic on the road. Avoid near 5 pm "rush hour", when the number of cars increases, lessening the pleasure of the road.
Gopher Canyon Road, Bonsall.Speed limit is 55 mph, and the amount of traffic is fairly high at times due to people from Vista connecting with I-15. When the traffic is not too high, this is a great road with the peak elevation just west of I-15, a steep climb from I-15 but a longer, gentler climb from the west.
Lilac Road, Bonsall.Lightly traveled road, significant climb from west end to junction at Highway 395. The road continues along the famous bridge over I-15 at the entrance to the Fallbrook area, and is generally level until the intersection with Circle R.
Circle R Road, Bonsall.Lightly traveled road, climbs steadily from Highway 395 to its intersection with Lilac Road.
Sleeping Indian.Lightly traveled road, with big hill going north from North River Road, and smaller hill descending along Burma at its northern end. Great views west into Camp Pendleton and the Naval Weapons Station, including ocean views.
De Luz Road.A "Cruise through De Luz" is a delightful trip through quite rural country. There are significant hills along the way, but the road is very lightly traveled.
Sandia Creek Drive.Again, a delightful trip through quite rural country, with significant hills along the way. The road is very lightly traveled, and the views of the Santa Rosa Plateau are stunning.
Rice Canyon Road.A delightful trip through the Rainbow backcountry, consisting of a fun quick descent from Rainbow to SR76, or a tough slow climb toward Rainbow from SR76. Beautiful scenery.
Old highway 395 from Temecula to Escondido.A bicycle lane starts at the San Diego County Line, and continues into Escondido. There are a number of hills along the way. 395 is best used to connect some of the prettier roads that intersect it. The climb to the crest at Lilac Road is the second-toughest climb in Fallbrook.
Couser Canyon Road.The toughest climb in the Fallbrook area from SR76 to the top, then a great descent to Lilac Road. Beautiful countryside all along the way.

Roads To Avoid

The following roads are not recommended for bicycle travel, except when necessary to connect more delightful roads.

SR76.Easily the winner of the Most Awful Road To Ride On award from every standpoint. SR76 is narrow in most places with extremely inadequate shoulders. It has the most traffic of any road in the area, including a number of heavy trucks. Although the absolute level of traffic declines east of I-15, it is more than compensated for by the large number of double gravel trucks travelling to and from the several quarries along SR76.

I recommend traveling on only two sections of SR76. First, the ~200' that connects Rice Canyon Road with Couser Canyon Road. Second, the half mile that connects South Mission Road with Olive Hill Road. To connect with North River Road, I prefer to climb the hill using Via Puerta Del Sol (which includes about a mile of good dirt road).

East and South Mission Roads near downtown Fallbrook.Heavy traffic makes these roads unpleasant to travel on, and one can avoid them for the most part in this area. Take Alvarado and Stagecoach in and out of town.
Reche RoadNarrow or non-existent shoulders, including at least one hazard of a big ditch right next to the road, combined with 45 mph heavy traffic. The ~400' between Green Canyon and Live Oak Park Rd. is needed to connect those two good roads.
East MissionAlthough East Mission has a nice wide bicycle lane, the constant heavy traffic at 45 mph makes it an unpleasant trip. However, I do recommend using East Mission to connect Old Highway 395 to Live Oak Road.
South MissionAlong much of its length, South Mission effectively has a bicycle lane due to its wide shoulder, even though formally there is no bicycle lane. However, the heavy traffic at 55 mph makes me always breathe a sigh of relief when I finish using it. I do recommend using it to connect Via Monserate to Olive Hill, and Olive Hill to Winterhaven Road, as a necessity to make loop trips.

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Copyright © 1999 by Tom Chester.
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Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 11 February 1999.