Situated in the sprawling, scenic outskirts of Temecula along Highway 79 lies a landscape that is beckoning adventurers and thrill seekers from around the world.
“Temecula doesn’t know it, but they’ve got Mammoth Mountain right here in their backyard,” said Vail Lake Resort owner Bill Johnson.
That may be true.
Spanning 11,000 acres, Vail Lake Resort has long attracted happy campers seeking a sweet retreat from the city.
But what residents may not realize is that many see the scenic hills and trails, white-sandy beaches and rugged terrain surrounding Vail Lake as perfect conditions for some serious sports-themed activities.
“We have begun to attract more attention here and we feel like we’re filling a need for Southern California as an outdoor recreation venue,” said Johnson.
Those sports include fishing, swimming, boating, wakeboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, marathons, mud runs and more, according to Johnson.
With an ambitious calendar of upcoming events — including a So Cal Endurance race on Sept. 29 and Rugged Maniac SoCal 2012 on Oct. 13 — Johnson and his wife Tish are seizing the opportunity to serve a growing trend of fun, sun, fitness and family-inspired activities.
A 25-mile marathon course that winds its way through the surrounding hillsides has been manicured for safe running. And the view, the lake, breezing trees and picnic tables have been, well, left to their natural state of perfection.
Johnson said that in his travels, he has rarely seen a site so suited to host such activities.
“I see Vail Lake as a destination like Mammoth — maybe bigger and year-round,” Johnson said.
Part of that picture is the jobs and revenue Johnson hopes the events will bring to the region, adding that he has reached out to another Temecula tourism juggernaut to gauge its interest in pairing up — Temecula wine country.
Johnson said that he hopes that becoming a outdoor sports recreation venue will “fill up (Temecula’s) restaurants and hotels.”
With all of the growth, Johnson said that all events will be hosted by nationally-recognized promoters and carefully vetted for activities that are consistent with the family-centric values that the city of Temecula strives to uphold.
Johnson insists that residents needn’t wait for the bigger activities to settle in, as a host of autumn events like the Haunted Hayride and the Vampire Vail Halloween Festival are planned for families of every age and stage.
To learn more, visit www.vaillakeresort.com.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.