Monday, April 28, 2014

5/3 Secret Canyon

The Secret Canyon trail is a 16 mile point to point run.

The northern trailhead is here in Pine Valley, and the southern trailhead is here

You have the option of running the trail one way and being done at 16 miles, or making it an out and back for 32.  Carry enough water for a 16 mile run as there is no place to fill along the way.

We will meet at the Hwy 79 carpool (exit #40 on the I -8) at 6:00 am to work out shuttling options and to have water available at the turnaround for those doing the return trip.

Please be aware that some poison oak has been reported along the trail, so if you have calf sleeves it would be a good idea to wear them. This is a tough out and back so be sure about your ability to go all 32 miles

No RSVP necessary, but please show up at the carpool at 6 am sharp so we can be sure we have your water and shuttling needs taken care of.


  1. we did the full run 2 weeks ago.
    about 5-7 miles from the southern end there is some very minor route finding (look for wooden signs on trees) and an 8 ft wide stream crossing (on rocks).


  2. I also just did the full distance (one way) and would say there a LOT of poison oak and its not avoidable, in all the shady spots of the first 7 miles from the North. The couple of stream crossings are not too challenging and provide a great opportunity to cool down or refill if you have a water filter. The water is at about mile 7 and 9 as measured from the North end. There is standing water at mile 14.5 but its really nasty looking so you'd be better of skipping it if possible. My other suggestion is gaitors, the rock wall flume area has a lot of cheat grass that will poke through your shoes and socks. Enjoy what I think is the most beautiful trail in the county! :)

  3. The trail is very easy to follow and well marked on the few sections where you can't see it because of overgrown grass. The wooden signs nailed to the oaks where very well placed. Most of the trail is very well cleared, and some sections in the manzanita groves are very nice and wide. In other sections, under oak canopy however, the poison oak was plentiful, and in three particular sections, it encroaches across the trail for 10-20 foot stretches. I did our best to avoid it, but Art and Jeri just ran through it. We're waiting to see if we get a reaction.
    The trail is very technical, and not particularly flat, especially the middle 8 mile section with lots of steep parts, which make even the downhills hard to run. Jeri measured 2400 of elevation gain and 1300 feet of descent on the 16-mile outbound to Pine Creek trailhead. The flume section is the most runnable, but it's only a few miles. The last couple of miles from the bridge to the end were rolly too. The trail is very scenic, with lots of spring flowers, and beautiful vistas from the higher elevations across the canyon. If you're sensitive to poison oak, have some Tecnu and wipes back at your car to clean off. Make sure you take plenty of water, especially this weekend, when it will be pretty warm.