Goodan Ranch

Goodan Ranch Preserve really was a ranch. In 1938 Roger and May Goodan bought the land and built the ranch where they spent the summers and weekends riding horses and relaxing. The property had a house, barn, garage, shed, water tower, and windmill, remnants of which you can still see today. The property was used to raise cattle until 1991 when it was purchased by the County of San Diego, City of Poway, City of Santee, and the State Wildlife Conservation Board. Today it is home to over 10 miles of trails used for biking, horse back riding, hiking, and running and a beautiful visitor center with a community room.

A few days ago we had a beautiful day and decided to hike Martha’s Grove Trail at Goodan Ranch Preserve. This is another trail that we previously visited with Karlie and decided to share with Sunny. There are 2 access points to the preserve – Highway 67 Staging Area and the Sycamore Canyon Road Staging Area. On both of our visits we started at the Sycamore Canyon Preserve Staging Area.

Karlie and Andie at Goodan Ranch Preserve
Karlie on Martha's Grove Trail

After parking you can either take Martha’s Grove Trail to the left behind the trail map or the gravel road straight ahead. I had planned to take the trail, but forgot we had to access it behind the sign so we took the gravel road. The views along the gravel road are nice, but we think it’s always better to be on a true trail. After walking about half a mile we came to an intersection and turned right onto Martha’s Grove Trail.

on the dirt road at Goodan Ranch Preserve
on the dirt road
sign for Martha's Grove Trail and other trails

The trail is a little narrower and more rocky than the road, which makes it more interesting to us. It has some pretty good inclines and descents making for a more challenging hike. As you hike on the trail there are views of surrounding hills and vegetation. Eventually you can see a windmill in the distance. As you continue on the trail you come to a gravel road with the windmill in front of you. There is a nice bench in front of the windmill which is a great spot for a little rest.

finally on Martha's Grove Trail at Goodan Ranch Preserve
on the trail
windmill near the ranch
Sunny on the bench near the windmill

If you turn to the right the trail leads past a storage shed and to the visitor center and remains of the ranch. The visitor center has restrooms and a picnic area. This is one of the few areas on the hike to get a little shade. Most of the trail is out in the open, but the picnic area has some trees and is quite nice for a break. If you continue on the road it leads back to the parking area on Sycamore Canyon Road. We logged 3.2M, but if you take Martha’s Grove Trail from the parking area the total distance is 3.5M.

Goodan Ranch Preserve visitor center welcome sign

Our Rating

Karlie, Sunny, and I rate Goodan Ranch Preserve 3 out of 4 paws up. It’s a somewhat challenging hike to the ranch with beautiful views. The only true downside for us is there isn’t any body of water. Overall this is a fun place to hike and we highly recommend a visit especially if you are in or near Poway.

How Do I Get There?

We like to access the preserve from the Goodan Ranch staging area at 16281 Sycamore Canyon Road in Poway. From I-15 take exit #18 – Poway Rd. and turn right onto Poway Road. Continue for nearly 5M and then turn right onto Garden Road. Continue for about 2M then turn right onto Sycamore Canyon Road. Follow this for about 1.4M. At the end drive over the speed bump and through the gated area to the parking lot. You can start the hike either on a dirt trail to the right, a dirt trail behind the trail map, or the gravel road straight ahead.

Goodan Ranch entrance

For more information about Goodan Ranch Preserve check out the links below.

County of San Diego Parks and Recreation – Goodan Ranch.

Goodan Ranch Preserve Brochure

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