San Diego’s nearby mountains are a great escape from the urban environment. They’re also big… reaching 6,000 feet, which isn’t that big in the west, but would be huge east of the Mississippi.

The perfect companion to your mountain journeys is my new book, Joyrides Around San Diego. Sized to fit in your glove compartment, map pocket or backpack, it’s just $19.95 and includes 10 drives around San Diego County, six in the mountains from the coast hills to Palomar to Laguna, Cuyamaca and Julian. Plus, you’ll get four more drives that are in the desert and coast.

Prefer it in the Amazon Kindle format? The full book is available  just $9.95, and each of the chapters listed below is available for $2.99. You get instant download to your Kindle device or smart phone running the Kindle app. And, if you’re a member of Amazon Kindle Unlimited, they Kindle versions are all free.

Here are the mountain-drive chapters.

  • Crazy Couser: Scary curves make inland North County run one of San Diego’s best. It’s a twisting, curving 20-mile route that parallels Interstate 15 from just outside Escondido north to Pala Road. It requires careful and attentive driving along roads that are narrow with blind driveways and hairpin curves. There are frequent stretches where the road has little or no shoulder, as well as encroachment by everything from trees to boulders to guardrails.
  • Curves, Dirt and Cuyamaca: Enjoy a 45-mile loop in the central portion of the Laguna Mountains in eastern San Diego County through natural open space and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Includes challenging curves on SR-79 through Cuyamaca, 18 miles of public, unpaved road; all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive recommended. It’s a must for anyone who lives or visits San Diego County.
  • Jaunt to Julian: The classic San Diego day trip is the drive to Julian, elevation 4,200 feet. Generations have enjoyed this former gold-mining town’s old-time charm and character, as well as its apple pie. The area also has some of the most enjoyable roads in the region.
  • Journey to the Stars: Wander up Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County via two twisting paved roads or a historic dirt byway. Route passes a historic mission, an open-space park, agricultural areas, and casinos.
  • Roads of the Ranch: Explore the exclusive enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, where you’ll find twisting, tree-lined roads alongside eight-figure estates in one of the nation’s wealthiest zip codes. The quaint town center is ripe for exploring and it’s a destination about a half-hour from most of San Diego County’s population centers.
  • Towering Old Highway: The well-preserved former U.S. 80 in eastern San Diego County has all the charms of driving on an old country highway. Generally devoid of traffic, it has gentle curves with spectacular vistas in terrain ranging from high desert to mountain pines to California coastal hills. Desert View Tower is a must-see that isn’t like anything on Route 66.

Los Angeles Area

  • Famous with motorcyclists and gear-heads worldwide, the latest Joyride Guru® book, Mulholland, Mountains and Malibu takes drivers on a route through the Santa Monica Mountains, just 35 minutes northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Palomar Observatory is the destination in the Journey to the Stars Kindle book trip.
Palomar Observatory is the destination in the Journey to the Stars Kindle book trip.

More Mountain Drives ➤

Explore San Diego County's backroads, beaches, mountains and deserts with Joyride Guru® and award-winning author Jack Brandais. Make them your San Diego day trip.