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ENCHANTED HIDDEN TUNNELS OF DEL MAR MESA: Distance 8 miles, 600 ft elevation gain
Today we will explore some of the hidden vegetated tunnels of Del Mar mesa. Mountain
bikers, over the years, have carved out several mile long tunnels up and down these heavily
vegetated ravines leaving a natural canopy overhead. This creates an unique, intimate and
enchanted environment for us to enjoy. This will be an out and back hike with two loops in
different tunnels. We will start at the SW corner of the intersection of Hwy 56 and Camino del
Sur and proceed along a trail parallel to Deer Creek. After a little less than a mile we will enter
tunnel 2 and climb to the top of the mesa and an eucalyptus grove. If the day is not too hot we
will walk to tunnel 5 returning down to Deer Creek, climb back up to the top of the mesa and
proceed on single track trails to the eucalyptus grove. From there we will enter tunnel 4 to
Deer Creek and return to the start.
If we experience particularly hot weather we will change the route to minimize sun exposure
and go up tunnel 2 then down tunnel 4, back up tunnel 3 and back down tunnel 4 again. The
distance is roughly equal with both routes. Total distance is about 8 miles and less than 600 feet
of total gain. Poles might be useful in several spots. You should consider this a moderately
strenuous hike.
Directions: We will meet at the north end of the Vons market next to the Peets coffee shop
both located in the Torrey Highlands shopping center just north of Hwy 56 on Camino del Sur.
(Peets: 7845 Highlands Village Pl, Unit C 105) Coffee, pastries, and bathrooms available at
Peets. From there we will shuttle less than a mile to the Mobil gas station, which has limited
parking, where we will start the hike. Please be at the Vons/Peets parking area no later than
7:45 to start the hike. Weather should be overcast in the morning and reach the low to mid
80’s as we finish the hike. The shade of the tunnels should make the day comfortable.
You must be fully vaccinated to join this hike.
Questions: contact Mike McDonald: or 858 449-9399