Just for Dad, a beautiful drive on a dirt road in San Diego’s secret backcountry

Green pastures in Mesa Grande.
Green pastures in Mesa Grande.

Here’s one of my favorite drives and it happens to include a dirt road. It’s also one of the first drives that I had in the Weekend Driver column in UT San Diego when it started way back in 2000. It’s Black Canyon Road, which runs north from Ramona to Santa Ysabel. This route will take you over some classic twisty roads to Lake Henshaw and an upscale road house for the weekend Harley Davidson crowd.

Black Canyon Road is one of the oldest byways in the county; I did some research and found it on maps dating back to the 19th century. An environmental report on the spectacular old bridge (since bypassed) said its original opening date couldn’t be determined, as the local Native American tribes and probably migrating animals used it first during prehistory times.

The trip described in the story was taken during a wet year, when things were really green and pretty out there. This year has been dry, so it will be a bit brown. Still, enjoy taking your trip to Black Canyon Road.

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