The San Diego area is home to a variety of offroad trails that offer adventure and scenic views for offroading enthusiasts. However, not all offroad trails are suitable for all vehicles, especially those that are not equipped with specialized offroad gear. In this list, we have curated four offroad trails near San Diego that can be completed by a stock Subaru Forester with no modifications. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced offroader, these trails offer exciting challenges and beautiful scenery to explore. As with any offroad activity, drivers should always exercise caution and be prepared for any potential hazards.
- Otay Mountain Truck Trail: Located in eastern San Diego County, the Otay Mountain Truck Trail is a dirt road that runs for approximately 13 miles up to the summit of Otay Mountain. The trail is relatively easy with a few rocky sections and can be completed by a stock Subaru Forester with no modifications.
- Nate Harrison Grade: The Nate Harrison Grade is a historic dirt road that leads up to Palomar Mountain from the town of Bonsall. The road is approximately 7.5 miles long and climbs over 3,000 feet in elevation. The trail is rated as moderate and has several switchbacks, rocky sections, and steep inclines. While a stock Subaru Forester can complete the trail, drivers should exercise caution and watch out for rocks and ruts.
- Palomar Divide Road: The Palomar Divide Road is a dirt road that traverses the ridgeline between Palomar Mountain and the Cleveland National Forest. The trail is approximately 8 miles long and rated as moderate. The road has some steep inclines, rocky sections, and tight turns, but a stock Subaru Forester can manage it with no problem.
- Thomas Mountain: Located in the San Jacinto Mountains (technically not San Diego County but it’s close and worth it), the Thomas Mountain trail is a dirt road that starts near the town of Anza and climbs up to the summit of Thomas Mountain. The trail is approximately 9 miles long and rated as moderate to difficult. The road has several rocky sections, steep inclines, and narrow passages, so drivers should be cautious. While a stock Subaru Forester can make it through the trail, drivers may want to have some offroad driving experience before attempting it.
Essential Gear to Bring Along
- Tire Pump 12 Volt: Whether it’s to air up your tires after a fun day on the trail or fill up your spare in a pinch a good air pump can help you out.
- Walkie Talkie Radios so you can keep in contact with your buddies
- Cooler for your drinks and food to celebrate a successful offroading day
- Tow Rope…just in case.