Past Meetup

Ride 24 miles Lake Murray - Mt Helix - Mission Trails Loop

This Meetup is past

3 people went

Lake Murray Park concession stand

5540 Kiowa Drive · La Mesa, CA

How to find us

In front of Lake Murray concession stand.

Location image of event venue


I'm riding this 24 mile loop (route map: ), if anyone would like to come along.

This is a 'no drop' leisurely paced sight-seeing ride rather than a training ride. We will stop as many times as needed to keep the group together. The ride starts and finishes at Lake Murray concession stand (enter Lake Murray Park from Kiowa Rd entrance, you'll find the concession stand on your left behind a parking lot). We'll meet at 9:15AM and roll out by 9:30AM.

This is Lake Murray Concession Stand

(our meetup spot).

We will follow the lake trail east to Baltimore Dr, climb up Jackson Dr to Lemon St where the real climbing begins, topping out at Mt Helix Nature Theater. We descend winding Alto Dr to Grossmont Blvd into Fletcher Hills, take the Hillside trail down to N Marshall and Cuyamaca St in El Cajon, then another bike path north to Carlton Oaks Rd. Turn west and hook south to Mission Gorge Rd before riding through Mission Trails park via Fra Junipero Serra Trail (another regroup pt at the visitor center) before climbing Jackson Dr back to Park Ridge Blvd into Lake Murray. Re-group at top of climbs. The whole route is on pavement, but we'll spend many miles on many paved cycling/hiking trails. We may spend a short (30 yds) detour on dirt/gravel trail if we stop to visit the Old Mission Dam in Mission Trails park.

Route video: (Note: I filmed this using a handheld camera, and so can't shoot on very steep climbs and descents)

**This ride is automatically canceled in event of rain or fog in La Mesa or Santee areas (believe me, you wouldn't want to descend Alto Dr when it is wet or foggy).

Please inspect your bike (road bike only) before ride date (allow time to take bike to the shop if needed). Check the tires, brakes and derailleurs. The climb of Lemon St - Mt Helix Dr is about 2.6 miles of 6-12% grade. There are some relatively flat bits along the route for recovery. The descent of Alto Dr is very narrow and winding - including 1 switchback turn. Maximum gradient on the route is a short stretch of 17% on Mesa Vista Rd just after the Alto Dr descent.

Jackson Dr climb is comparable to N Torrey Pines Rd climb from the beach to the golf course, but a bit shorter. So you want to have good gearing for serious climbing.

Helmet recommended. You should bring spare tube(s), pump or CO2 cartridges, full bottles of drinks, snacks, and dress warmly in layers. Also bring $5 cash in case of mechanical breakdown that requires taking a bus or a cab home.

Some safe group riding refreshers: (click for youtube video clips)

- Basic safe cycling (

- Cycling safely in traffic (
- Group riding etiquette (
- Safe group riding lane change (
- Climbing tips (
- Descending tips (