Noble Canyon

With three distinct topography ranges, Noble Canyon is one of the few areas to offer vast Anza Borrego Desert views, wide stretches of open meadows, and crisp air atop the Laguna Mountain, all while touring shrub-covered backcountry, jagged peaks, and an abundance of wildlife activity.

photo:  Photo by USFS/Leslie Kehmeier.

Length: 10.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: USDA Forest Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (on pavement)
Bicycling (off pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Equestrian - Riding
Equestrian - Other stock
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Snow - Cross-country Skiing
Snow - Snow Play, General
Snow - Snowshoeing
Wildlife Observation

See more details.


Location: The Noble Canyon National Recreation Trail begins along Pine Creek Road north of the community of Pine Valley. It terminates at the Pacific Crest Trail near Oasis Spring in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.
State(s): California
Counties: San Diego
Longitude: -116.45765
Latitude: 32.90571

Driving Directions

Located off the I-8 at exit 47 (Sunrise Hwy 1), the Penny Pines trailhead is 13.5 miles off the freeway, providing direct Noble Canyon Trail access.


An hour’s drive from San Diego proper, this solitude-inducing day trip provides more than a killer leg workout, it is also hailed as one of the premier riding destinations in the country, making it a popular destination for mountain bikers everywhere.

Noble Canyon stands as one for the more ambitious rider or hiker, with nearly 10-miles (one way) of ledge hugging switchbacks, steep slopes, and jagged rocks, finishing the ride can occasionally require some walking. Noble Canyon intersects the Big Laguna, Sunset and Pacific Crest Trails extending to the El Prado Campground, Laguna, and Burnt Rancheria Campgrounds (depending on your starting and ending location) for the outdoor and overnight enthusiast.

With its intense incline, steep slopes, and heavy rock coverage, the trail can be very technical and challenging, reserved for the more advanced or adventurous rider. The elevation can change from 3700 to 5500 and certain sections, like the one known as "Stairway to Hell," require good speed and weight distribution, making the battle between skill and fitness an interconnecting element imperative to the trek forward. While Noble Canyon demands much from the recreational user, intermediate riders need not be scared off. Though certain sections require some finesse, those who don't frown on a little walking and are up to the challenge should be able to complete it.

Completing the entire loop from Big Laguna to Noble Canyon and back spans approximately 30 miles.

Additional Details

Width: 24 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil, compacted
Secondary Surface: None
Average Grade: 4%
Maximum Grade: 12%
Elevation Low Point: 3,740
Elevation High Point: 5,420
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: Trail Information
Website: USFS Trail Spotlight
Website: USFS Trail Details

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail management:
Anne Carey
Cleveland National Forest
Descanso Ranger District
3348 Alpine Blvd
Alpine, CA 91901 [email protected]



 Photo by USFS/Leslie Kehmeier.

Photo by USFS/Leslie Kehmeier.

Noble Canyon Trailhead. Photo by

Noble Canyon Trailhead. Photo by


No reviews are available. Be the first to leave one!


Suggest an Edit

Do you see a problem with this trail data? Contact us below: