There are more than 150 miles of unpaved, public roads in San Diego County and this isn’t the time to drive on them if you don’t have to.

The unpaved roads, such as Nate Harrison Grade, up Palomar Mountain, and Boulder Creek Road, between Descanso and Pine Hills, and trails in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, are usually lots of fun for a San Diego day trip. The county usually does a pretty good job of keeping the roads graded, meaning even a front-wheel-drive sedan (or my lightweight, rear-drive Mazda Miata) can make the trip with no problems.

After the rains we’ve had this year (and are continuing to have), they can be a mess. Even when dry, a dirt road needs to be smoothed. Ruts and rocks can wipe out the undersides of low vehicles. If they’re not dry, think getting the car muddy at the least, or, worse, being stuck in a rut in the middle of nowhere.

When the weather’s bad, there’s also the danger of flash floods, especially on the drives in the desert.

If you’re taking one of the Joyrides Around San Diego drives that includes a dirt road — Journey to the Stars, Curves, Dirt and Cuyamaca, Off the Grid Journey or Beautiful Badlands, wait awhile. Enjoy the rainy day at home; sit back and read Joyrides Around San Diego.


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