Afoot and Afield in San Diego County Hikes

Afoot and Afield Hikes

Afoot and Afield in San Diego County is the hiking/walks almanac for San Diego County. There are two hundred and fifty different routes described in detail. I’ve been going on hikes in San Diego using this book as a resource since 2010. I initially kept track of the one’s I had done on a Facebook note, but that was not very helpful in planning what I wanted to do next. I put this page together with a complete list of all the hikes in the book as a better way to select, plan, and track hikes I do from the book. I will mark hikes done in this list as I complete them and I’ll also give them a rating. Keep in mind that the rating is for that day under those conditions – on a different day/season the hike may be much better or worse!

The book gives a great description of how to find the trail, what is allowed, such as dogs, it also gives a difficulty rating. I’m not going to duplicate any of that here. If there is something that is wrong, or something I feel I can add I will, otherwise, the book has nailed it!

When I first started hiking in San Diego I found that I would repeat convenient hikes, especially if I enjoyed them. To stay focused on the shear variety that San Diego has to offer I will limit myself to only new trails on the weekends… until I’ve done them all. During the week, I may want to do a trail that is nearby and familiar, but I’ll have no excuses on the weekends!

Current progress on goal of 250 hikes as of: 9 Novembr 2017

Year Hikes Distance Comment
2010-2013 19 86.1 Before I added this to my Bucket List
2014 18 96.6 Some longer hikes training for a Grand Canyon rim to rim hike.
2015 7 26.1 No reasonable excuse for this…
2016 21 85.2 Much better.
2017 22 68.9 Busy year, but shooting for my best local hike year so far.
Total 87/250 362.9 About one third done by count… and lots more beautiful trails to explore.

Updates 

Did my first desert hike in San Diego county today (5 Feb 2016).  Wow – I liked it way more than I thought I would.  Going to do more of these soon.

Other Resources

Another very good resource for the latest info (hours, rules, etc) for some of these hikes on the county’s website: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/parks/hikes.html

Want to try to hit more than one of these hikes in the same area on the same day?  Not sure the order to do them in?  Check out this Google map of all the trailheads for the 5th edition of the book.  (Note:  The 5th edition was released in April 2017 and has 281 or 282 trails, depending on what part of the Amazon description you believe. At some point in the next year or so I’ll update my list for the new edition.)

While searching for the name of a bird species for a bird I came across in Mission Trails Park, I found this site that lists animal sightings by place: https://www.inaturalist.org/places
For Mission Trails here is the list with pictures of birds and other animals: https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/6387-Mission-Trails-Regional-Park-Check-List?page=1&taxon=3&view=taxonomic

Trail List and Hike Tracking

Beaches and Bays: North County Coast

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Hosp Grove 1.5 mile loop 50′ 19 May 2017. 3 Stars. A nice hike in an urban area. Good trails. Lot’s of traffic noise lowers the rating. Hospital Grove Trail Carlsbad California
Trip 2: South Carlsbad to Cardiff 5.5 miles point to point N/A
Trip 3: Batiquitos Lagoon 2.8 miles round trip out and back N/A
Trip 4: San Elijo Lagoon 1 to 3 miles or more N/A

Beaches and Bays: Torrey Pines & La Jolla

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines Beach 5.0 Miles, Point to Point N/A
Trip 2: Scripps Coastal Reserve 1 to 4 miles on looping and out and back trails Up to 300′ 6 May 2014 5 Stars – very short walks, but beautiful. The stairs were closed so we had to drive between the knoll and the beach. Parking is tight or distant, your choice. View from knoll loop trail - Scripts Coastal Reserve
Trip 3: Torrey Pines State Reserve 1-2 Miles looping or out and back 200′ 22 April 2014 5 Stars – could do this one every day! Torrey Pines Coastal Preserve
Trip 4: Torrey Pines Extension 1-2 Miles 200′ 29 April 2014 4 Stars – Unique place, some trails in need of maintenance. Red Ridge and DAR Trails were our favorites. View from the end of the Red Ridge trail Torrey Pines Reserve Extension
Trip 5: Crest Canyon 1.6 Miles round trip 350′ 12 May 2014 3 Stars. Nice short trail. Good add-on or connector for some of the other trails around, but just OK on it’s own. At the top of Crest Canyon Open Space
Trip 6: La Jolla Caves (extreme low tide) 1.0 miles out and back N/A
Trip 7: La Jolla Coast Walk .8 miles out and back 100′

Beaches and Bays: Point Loma

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Bayside Trail 2.0 Miles, Out and Back 320′ 7 Feb 2015 5 Stars – Great views of San Diego bay and downtown. Check out the tide pools trail at Cabrillo too while you’re there. Cabrillo Bayside Trail
Trip 2: Sunset Cliffs Park Up to 1 mile Varies

Beaches and Bays: Border Coast

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Tijuana River Estuary 1-3 Miles (4.3 Miles), Looping or out and back routes N/A 27 October 2017 4 Stars – Very unique trail. Want to try this again in the spring. There were several Heron/Egrets around and a several other birds if you watched closely. White Heron Tijuana River Estuary

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Fallbrook

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Santa Margarita River 5.2 Miles, round trip, out and back 400′
Trip 2: Rock Mountain 2.0 Miles, round trip, out and back 550′ 30 Sep 2016 4 Stars. Likely an easy 4.5 in March. Clean off the graffiti and maybe a 5 on a good day. Steep trail near the top great views. rock-mountain
Trip 3: Los Jilgueros Preserve 1.1 mile loop N/A
Trip 4: Heller’s Bend Preserve 1.2 mile round trip, out and back 250′
Trip 5: Monserate Mountain 3.8 mile round trip, out and back 1200′
Trip 6: Wilderness Gardens Preserve 2.8 mile loop 200′

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Oceanside, Vista, & San Marcos

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Guajome Regional Park 1-4 Miles, in short or longer loops N/A
Trip 2: Calavera Preserve 2.8 Mile loop 1000′ 11/20/2016  3 Stars – Nice Fall day hike.  The trails could be better marked.  Lots of side trails some of them really steep. Also saw a very large Turkey Vulture soaring over us. atop-the-mountain-in-calavera-preserve
large-turkey-vulture-over-calavera-preserve-carlsbad-ca
Trip 3: Rancho Carrillo 2.0 Mile loop 100′
Trip 4: Double Peak 5.0 miles round trip, out and back 1000′

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Escondido

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Dixon Lake 2.4 Miles loop 300′
Trip 2: Daley Ranch – Tour of the Ponds 3.5 Mile loop 600′
Trip 3: Daley Ranch – Jack Creek Meadow 5.6 Mile loop 500′
Trip 4: Daley Ranch – Boulder Loop 4.0 miles loop 750′ 1/14/2017 4.5 Stars – Nice boulders and trees, terrific trail, perfect day for it. randy-sean-eric-jenny-at-daley-ranch-boulder-loop1
Trip 5: Daley Ranch – Engelmann Oak Loop 5.1 miles loop 800′ 6/10/2017 5 Stars – With Jenny on a beautiful cool moist morning in June, a rarity in Escondido. Lots of blooms and the creeks were still flowing. Business end of the Humming Birds trumpet on Endelmann Oak Loop Daley RanchLarge old oaktree at the base of a rock Endelmann Oak Look Daley Ranch
Trip 6: Lake Wohlford 1.0 mile, out and back on two trails N/A
Trip 7: Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve 5.0 mile, out and back 700′ 18 April 2015 3 Stars – April was a little late this year. Not many blooms. Too hot and dry to really appreciate it. View across Hell Hole Canyon toward the site of old wooden Escondido flume
Trip 8: Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve 7.6 mile, out and back 1500′ 6 April 2014 5 Stars plus – Views and trails Eric and Jenny at the Lake Hodges Outlook
Trip 9: North Shore Lake Hodges 6.4 miles round trip, out and back 250′
Trip 10: Bernardo Mountain 7.2 miles round trip, out and back 1000′ 26 April 2015 5 stars – a very big/pleasant surprise. Awesome trail. Hawks soaring over Bernardo Mountain
Trip 11: Piedras Pintadas Trail 3.8 miles round trip, out and back 250′ 6/3/2017 5 Stars. Unusual number of blooms this year in June. This would be a 4 star hike if not for the great views of the lake and the placards labeling the native plants. Really loved this hike. Piedras Pintadas Trail and view of Bernardo Mountain on the other side of Lake Hodges
Trip 12: Highland Valley Trail 4.8 miles round trip, out and back 150′ 6 Jan 2016 3 Stars – Nice day, nice trail, too close to roads and large farm. boulders-and-oaks-line-the-highland-valley-trail
Trip 13: Battle Monument Trail 1.0 miles round trip, out and back 240′
Trip 14: San Pasqual Hiking Trails Up to 12 miles round trip, all trails Varies
Trip 15: Boden Canyon 11.0 miles round trip, out and back 500′

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Poway

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Twin Peaks 2 Miles, round trip out and back 700′ 3/31/2017 3 Stars – Be careful to stay on the main trail on the way down or you will end up on a dead end trail and have to bushwhack or backtrack. view-of-poway-from-twin-peaks-trail
Trip 2: Lake Poway Loop 2.4 Mile loop 400′ 1/25/2014 5 Stars Lake Poway view from the east trail
Trip 3: Blue Sky Ecological Reserve 5.0 Mile round trip out and back 800′ 1/25/2014 3 Stars (easy to add the 5 star Lake Poway loop trail though) Eric Rial Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Hike
Trip 4: Woodson Mountain – East Approach 5.5 miles round trip, out and back 1500′ 12/3/2009 5 Stars (Boulders!) Me hiking Mount Woodson for the First Time
Trip 5: Woodson Mountain – West Approach 6.8 miles round trip, out and back 2300′ 10/13/2010 5 Stars Next to a Huge Boulder Near the Top of Woodson Mountain - Jan 2010
Trip 6: Iron Mountain 6.4 miles round trip, out and back 1200′ 1/21/2010 5 Stars – (Variety, View) On the crossover trail before the switchbacks Iron Mountain - Jan 2010
Trip 7: Goodan Ranch & Sycamore Canyon 4.7 miles loop (did an extra bit, 5.1 miles) 500′ 5/28/2017 4 Stars. Nice trail. Extended spring in 2017, still lots of blooms. Looks like a lot more to explore in this park. Strange Blooms Caterpillar Phacelia Marthas Grove Trail Goodan Ranch

Goodan-Ranch-Marthas-Grove-Trail

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Penasquitos

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Black Mountain – North Slope 2.5 Mile loop 400′ 11/22/2009 3.5 Stars Eric and Sean on top of Black Mountain from the North Approach
Trip 2: Black Mountain-South Slope 3.6 Mile loop 800′ 1/26/2014 3 Stars Me and Sean on the South Slope of Black Mountain
Trip 3: Knott Grove 3.0 Mile round trip out and back 100′ 6/3/2016 5 Stars. Trail is marked closed with a City sign due to bridges being out, but we were able to cross the creeks on rocks. Awesome trail between the creek crossings. Eric Penasquitos Canyon Trail on way to Knotts Grove
Duck-on-Penasquitos-Canyon-Creek-on-the-way-to-Knotts-Grove
Trip 4: Los Penasquitos Canyon – East Approach 6.4 miles round trip, out and back 300′ 1/11/2015 5 stars – at least on a drizzly winter day. Crossing the creek on the way back Los Penasquitos Canyon—East Approach
Trip 5: Los Penasquitos Canyon – West Approach 5.5 miles round trip to the falls, out and back 200′ 1/4/2014 4 stars View from top of small falls in Los Penasquitos Canyon
Trip 6: Lopez Canyon 3.5 miles round trip, out and back 200′ 1 September 2017 3 Stars – trail is nearly overgrown in some areas, washed out in others. There were an amazing number of Sacred datura blooms, a couple watermelon vines, and lots of trees. Sacred datura blooms in Lopez Canyon September 2017
Watermelon Vines in Lopez Canyon September 2017

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Golden Triangle & Clairemont

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Rose Canyon 3.5 Mile round trip out and back 100′ 28 April 2015 4 stars – a nice evening stroll, but I think I would like it even better in the morning. Rose Canyon evening walk
Trip 2: San Clemente Canyon 1-6 miles on out and back trails N/A
Trip 3: Tecolote Canyon 1-5 Miles out and back on mostly disconnected trail segments N/A

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Center City

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Florida Canyon 1-3 Miles on looping trails N/A
Trip 2: Banker’s Hill Historic Walk 1.5 mile loop 50′ 12/2009 3 Stars Sean on Bankers Hill Suspension Bridge
Trip 3: Maple Canyon 1 mile round trip out and back 150′ 5/13/2017 3.5+ Stars – the plus for being close to Little Italy. Did this hike with Mom! Jodene Resseguie on Maple Canyon Trail

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Mission Trails Regional Park

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Cowles Mountain – South Approach 3 Miles round trip out and back 950′ 2/3/2010 5 Stars (Social hike) Sean Leading the Way down on double Cowles Mtn Hike
Trip 2: Cowles Mountain – East Approach 3.0 miles round trip loop 1000′ 3/26/2016  4 Stars Cowles Mountain from Barker Way
Trip 3: Cowles Mountain – Northeast Approach 4.8 miles round trip loop 1400′ 2/3/2010 4 Stars Terrific View from the top of Cowles Mountain
Trip 4: Pyles Peak 5.2 mile round trip out and back 2000′ 3/11/2010 5 Stars Eric Rial on Pyles Peak
Trip 5: Visitor Center Loop 2.3 mile loop 300′ 1/8/2017 4.5 Stars. A busy hike but some real surprises along a fairly basic hike. view-from-beginning-of-the-oak-grove-loop-before-the-visitors-loop-portion-of-the-trail
Trip 6: Rock Climbers Loop 1.0 mile loop 400′ 1/28/2010 3 Stars Sean on Rock Climbers Loop
Trip 7: Kumeyaay Lake 1.0 mile round trip out and back N/A 1/8/2017 3 Stars. Short and easy hike. 5 stars if you are a bird watcher. ducks-on-kumeyaay-lake
double-crested-cormorant-on-kumeyaay-lake
Trip 8: Kwaay Paay Peak 2.5 mile round trip out and back 900′ 3/25/2010 3 Stars (washed out trail) Eric Rial on Kwaay Paay Peak
Trip 9: Oak Canyon 3.0 mile round trip out and back 200′ 1/28/2010 4 Stars Sean on Oak Canyon Trail
Trip 10: South Fortuna Mountain 4.4 mile round trip out and back 1400′ 3/31/2011 5 Stars (great for training) Sean and Jenny on South Fortuna Hike
Trip 11: North Fortuna Mountain 4.8 mile round trip out and back 1300′ 6/12/2011 5 Stars Jenny and Eric hiking in Mission Trails Park North Fortuna Trail
Trip 12: Rim Trail 4.0 mile loop 550′ 9/24/2016  3 Stars – rocky trail, signs were not good (left off some of the trail names.  rim-trail-mission-trails-park
Trip 13: Shepard Canyon 2.8 mile round trip out and back 250′ 9/22/2016 3 Stars – nice trail could use some maintenance. shepard-canyon-september-2016

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Lakeside to Romona

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Conejos Creek 7.2 Miles round trip out and back 100′
Trip 2: Stelzer Park 1.5-3.0 miles on a loop and out and back segments (3 miles) 480 11/9/2017  3 stars.  Could be higher in the spring.  Nice picnic area near the parking lot.  Nice oak trees, but that part of the trail is close to the road.  Great views from Stelzer Peak.  Would be 5 stars for anyone who likes dirt skiing.  Very steep road with loose gravel on the way up and back down from Stelzer Peak. Nice shade under the oak trees on Riparian Trail Stelzer Park
View of Lake Jennings and campground from Stelzer Peak
Trip 3: Oakoasis Open Space Preserve 2.5 miles loop 300′ 1 Jan 2017 4.5 Stars. Easy hike, nice view of the San Vicente Reservoir view-of-san-vicente-reservoir-from-oakoasis-open-space-preserve
Trip 4: El Capitan Open Space Preserve 11.0 mile round trip out and back 4000′ 4 May 2014 4 Stars (Steep ups and downs with very few switchbacks after the first mile. Terrific views and a fun scramble up the last half mile to the peak. Eric Rial on the El Cajon Mountain Peak
Trip 5: Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary 1 mile or less N/A
Trip 6: Simon Open Space Preserve 2-4 miles on looping trails N/A
Trip 7: Mount Gower Open Space Preserve Up to 9 miles round trip Varies

Coastal Strip and Foothills: Alpine & Jamul

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Crestridge Ecological Reserve 5 miles over two trails. (2-4 miles on loops and out and back routes) 300 feet 28 April 2017 3 Stars. Love the views to the west, had it been clearer maybe more stars. Hike beside avacaco farm was relaxing Eric Rial Crestridge Ecological Reserve
Trip 2: Wright’s Field 1.9 mile loop 100′
Trip 3: Viejas Mountain 3.0 miles round trip out and back 1500′ 8 March 2014 5 Stars, good workout, great views. Rocky steep trail so you may want to bring hiking poles. Rock Pile and view on top of Viejas Mountain
Trip 4: Loveland Reservoir 1 mile or more round trip out and back 100′ 31 May 2015 3 Stars – difficult to navigate when the lake water is so low. A stark reminder of our current water situation Loveland Reservoir at a very low water level May 2015
Trip 5: Sloan Canyon 4 miles round trip out and back 900′ 31 May 2015 2 Stars – likely bad timing, I hope to do this one again on a cool winter morning… as the book suggests. Descending in to Sloan Canyon May 2015
Trip 6: Sycuan Peak 2.0 miles round trip out and back 800′ 2/16/2014 Trail – 1 Star, Views – 4 Stars+ Eric on top of Sycuan Peak
Trip 7: McGinty Mountain 5.0 mile round trip out and back 1400′ 2/1/2014 3 Stars – trail erosion View on the way up McGinty Mountain Trail
Trip 8: Hollenbeck Canyon 4.0 mile round trip out and back 400′ 2/16/2014 5 Stars About half way through the Canyon portion of the trail

Coastal Strip and Foothills: South Bay

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Sweetwater Trail 4.8 miles round trip out and back 700′ 5/27/2016  2.5 Stars.  Could be better earlier in the year.  Take the high trail… Getting ready for a break at the Sweetwater Trail turnaround point
Trip 2: Rice Canyon 4.0 miles round trip out and back 200′ 5/27/2016  2 Stars.  Mountain biking this trail and the rest of the open space loop might be a good option Blooms along the trail in Rice Canyon at the end of May 2016
Trip 3: Lower Otay Vista .8 mile round trip out and back 300′ 5/27/2016  3 Stars.  Easy trail, great views. View of the lake from Lower Otay Vista

Mountains: Agua Tibia

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Dripping Springs Trail 14 miles round trip out and back 3100′ 10 May 2014 5 Stars – tons of variety, terrific, well maintained trail, but strenuous. View into southern Riverside county from the Dripping Springs Trail
Trip 2: Agua Tibia Loop 20.0 miles loop 4100′
Trip 3: Eagle Crag 16.2 mile round trip out and back 3800′

Mountains: Palomar Mountain

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Scott’s Cabin & Boucher Hill Loop 3.0 miles loop (5 miles including the Cedar Trail) 800′ 8/27/2016 5 stars, we started at Doane Valley Campground so add another 2 miles and 600-700 feet of climb on the Cedar Trail. Boulcher Hill Tower Palomar Mountain State Park
Trip 2: Thunder Spring & Chimney Flats Loop 4.0 miles loop 900′
Trip 3: Doane Valley Nature Trail 1.0 mile loop 150′ 8/27/2016  5 stars, great trail to learn and to take a grandchild on. Giant Cedar number 14 on the Doane Valley Nature Trail
Palomar Mountain State Park Doane Valley Nature Trail naptime
Trip 4: Lower Doane Valley & Lower French Valley 3.8 mile loop 150′ 8/26/2016  4 stars 1920 Hydroelectric Test station on Weir Trail Palomar Mountain State Park
Trip 5: Observatory Trail 2.2 miles point to point 100’gain / 750′ loss
Trip 6: Fry Creek Trail 1.0 mile loop 300′
Trip 7: Fry Creek to Doane Valley 1.2 miles point to point 300’/550′
Trip 8: San Luis Rey River 2 or more miles round trip out and back varies
Trip 9: Love Valley 2.0 miles round trip out and back 300′
Trip 10: Oak Grove to High Point 13.0 miles round trip out and back varies
Trip 11: Barker Valley 6.2 miles round trip out and back 1000′

Mountains: Warner Springs

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Indian Flats .6 mile round trip out and back 50′
Trip 2: Hot Springs Mountain 5.5 miles round trip out and back 1250′
Trip 3: Aqua Caliente Creek 8.0 miles round trip out and back 900′
Trip 4: Caliente Wilderness 12 miles round trip out and back 1700′
Trip 5: Combs Peak 6.1 miles round trip out and back 1150′

Mountains: Santa Ysabel Creek

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Black Canyon 2.0 mile round trip out and back 200′
Trip 2: Black Canyon to Pamo Valley 5.0 miles Point to Point 450′ loss/1200′ gain
Trip 3: Black Mountain 14.2 miles round trip out and back 3100′ 26 April 2014 5 Stars – Tough hike – road not trail, in good condition – perfect hiking weather/season on this day. Small trail spur near top of Black Mountain but not the peak - best part of the hike

Mountains: Upper San Diego River

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: West Side Road 4.0 mile round trip out and back 800′ 2 Jan 2017 3 Stars – The high road. The trail to Cedar Creek Falls (low road) is much more tempting. view-of-cedar-creek-falls-from-the-west-trail-descending-into-the-san-diego-river-valley
Trip 2: Inaja Trail .5 mile loop 100′
Trip 3: San Diego River 1-6 miles or more round trip out and back 1300′
Trip 4: Cedar Creek Falls 4.5 miles round trip out and back (changes to the trail make this 5.25 miles now) 1200′ 9 Feb 2014 5 Stars plus. We took the new trail from the west, mentioned but not described in the book. I did a post for this hike: Cedar Creek Falls from Ramona All of us at Cedar Creek Falls
Trip 5: Three Sisters Falls 4.0 miles round trip out and back 1000′ 14 Feb 2010 and 9 Jan 2011 5 Stars plus 3 Sisters Falls Feb 2010
Meetup Group enjoying lunch on top of 3 Sisters Falls Jan 2011
Trip 6: Eagle Peak 4.2 miles round trip out and back 1200′ 14 Feb 2010 4 Stars Eagle Peak Feb 2010

Mountains: Julian

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: William Heise Couty Park 1-3 miles round trip out and back 700′
Trip 2: Old Banner Toll Road 2.8 miles round trip out and back 750′
Trip 3: Volcan Mountain 4.5 miles Loop 950′ 28 October 2016 4 Stars. Could be more in the spring. Nice trail, some cool groves of trees. Great views from benches on the 5 oak trail. We went above the 5 Oak Trail turnoff, but could not go all the way to the peak due to a work crew. nice-grove-of-cedar-and-live-oak-above-the-5-oak-trail-on-volcan-mountain
Trip 4: Upper Santa Ysabel Creek 7.0 miles loop 1200′ 15 April 2016  5 Stars – Perfect day to do this hike! Walking under the live oaks East Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve
Happy cows and birds East Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve

Mountains: Cuyamaca Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Kelly Ditch Trail 5.5 miles Point to Point 1000’Gain/1600’Loss
Trip 2: Cuyamaca Reservoir 2.5 mile loop 200′
Trip 3: Middle Peak 5.7 miles loop 1100′
Trip 4: Sill Hill Waterfall 6.5 miles round trip out and back 1400′
Trip 5: West Side Trail .7 miles round trip out and back 50′
Trip 6: Azelea Glen Trail 3.0 miles Loop 550′
Trip 7: Cuyamaca Peak 5.6 miles (8.2 miles) 1700′ (1762′) 5/13/2016 4.5 Stars. We did this different than the book so I did a post:Cuyamaca Peak via Conejos Trail Sean heading up Conejos Trail to Cuyamaca Peak
Trip 8: Stonewall Peak 4.5 miles round trip out and back 850′ 2/13/2016  4.5 stars – unique peak, good trail, unusual beauty. We had lunch just below Stonewall peak
Trip 9: Stonewall Creek & Soapstone Grade Loop 8.2 miles loop 1050′
Trip 10: Harper Creek 2.5 miles round trip out and back 200′
Trip 11: Dyar Spring & Juaquapin Loop 5.8 miles loop 800′ 1/22/2016  4 Stars – might be higher in the spring. Great views of Stonewall and Cuyamaca Peaks  Lunch time on the Dyar Spring and Juaquapin Loop

We heard this woodpecker pounding on this dead tree trunk near the end of the hike

Trip 12: Oakzanita Peak 4.6 miles round trip out and back 1200′ 4/3/2010 4 Stars – with a meetup group. Eric on Oakzanita Peak Trail
Trip 13: East Mesa Loop 10.5 miles loop 1300′
Trip 14: West Mesa Loop 7.2 miles loop 1100′
Trip 15: East Mesa Loop 7.2 miles loop 1200′
Trip 16: Pine Ridge Trail 3.3 miles loop 600′
Trip 17: Sweetwater River Loop 7.2 miles loop 700′
Trip 18: Guatay Mountain 5.2 miles loop 1600′ 19 April 2014 3 Stars. Beautiful hike, lots of cool plants but trails need some work. Ceanothus on the Guatay Mountain Trail

Manzanita Tree on Guatay Mountain trail

Mountains: Laguna Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Kwaaymii Point 1.0 miles round trip out and back 150′ 12/17/2016 5 Stars Plus. Best little 1 mile hike I’ve been on in east county. short-but-sweet-trail-back-from-kwaaymii-point
Trip 2: Garnet Peak 2.4 Miles miles round trip out and back 500′
Trip 3: Indian Creek Loop 8.0 miles loop 1000′
Trip 4: Pine Mountain Loop 5.3 miles loop 700′ 11/4/2017 4 stars – We picked a cool fall day to do this hike. Still plenty of green, and great views of the Cuyamacas from the “short side trip”. View of the Cuyamacas and Indian Creek Trail along the Pine Mountain Loop
Trip 5: Cottonwood Canyon 3.2 miles round trip out and back 2000′
Trip 6: Oasis Sprint 2.0 miles round trip out and back 300′
Trip 7: Foster Point 1.4 miles round trip out and back 100′
Trip 8: Lightening Ridge Trail 1.5 miles round trip out and back 250′
Trip 9: Agua Dulce Loop 5.3 miles Loop 600′
Trip 10: Sunset Trail 3.2 miles round trip out and back 400′
Trip 11: Big Laguna Trail 10.0 miles Loop 900′
Trip 12: Monument Peak 2.6 miles round trip out and back (3.5 miles per my GPS) 550′ 11/19/2017 5 stars. Amazing views of most of the Mount Laguna area and deep into the desert. Panoramic view from Monument Peak of mountain and desert landscape transition
Trip 13: Kwaaymii Trail .5 miles loop 100′ 11/19/2017 2 stars. Might be better in the spring. Kwaaymii Trail trailhead labeled Indian Trail
Trip 14: Desert View Trail 1.3 miles Loop (4 miles – Trail head in campgrounds is not available in the winter.) 150′ 11/19/2017 3 stars. Interesting section of the Pacific Crest trail. Very poorly marked View in to Anza Borrego from Laguna Mountains on the Desert View Trail and PCT
Trip 15: Wooded Hill Nature Trail 1.5 miles round trip out and back 300′
Trip 16: Kitchen Creek Falls 4.5 miles round trip out and back 900′ 3/4/2010 4 Stars – it would be 5 if you could get a better view of the falls Standing at the top of Kitchen Creek Falls
Trip 17: Cottonwood Creek Falls 1.8 miles round trip out and back 500′
Trip 18: Noble Canyon Trail 10 miles point to point 650′ gain/2400′ loss
Trip 19: Laguna to Cuyamaca 12.2 miles point to point 1250’/2700′

Mountains: Pine Creek

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Roberts Ranch 2.0 miles round trip out and back 200′ 5 May 2016 2.5 Stars. Nice relaxing walk, but not very well maintained trail. Classic ranch meadow at Roberts Ranch near Descanso
Trip 2: Lawson Peak 4.5 Miles miles round trip out and back 1600′
Trip 3: Horsethief Canyon 3.2 miles loop 500′ 4/1/2010 3.5 Taking a picture in Horsethief Canyon
Trip 4: Secret Canyon Trail 15.6 miles point to point 1200′ gain/2300′ loss
Trip 5: Espinosa Trail 7.8 miles point to point 1250′ gain/2100′ loss
Trip 6: Corte Madera Mountain 6.5 miles round trip out and back 1750′
Trip 7: Morena Butte 8.0 miles loop 1500′
Trip 8: Hauser Canyon 13.5 miles round trip out and back 2000′

Mountains: Border Ranges

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Otay Mountain 15.0 miles round trip out and back 2500′
Trip 2: Tecate Peak 9.2 Miles miles round trip out and back 1900′ 22 Feb 2013 3.5 Stars. Prefer trails to roads, difficult vehicle access to the trail-head, but well maintained and great views View of the border from Tecate Peak

Desert Coyote Canyon

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Lower Willows 4.0 miles round trip out and back 100′
Trip 2: Sheep Canyon 4.0 Miles miles round trip out and back 1200′
Trip 3: South Fork Sheep Canyon 3.0 miles loop 1500′
Trip 4: Cougar Canyon 3.0 miles point to point 900′

Desert: San Ysidro Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail 3.0 miles round trip out and back 450′
Trip 2: Indianhead Mountain 7.0 Miles miles round trip out and back 3200′
Trip 3: Indian Canyon & Borrego Palm Canyon Traverse 11.0 miles point to point 3100′ gain/3900′ loss
Trip 4: Panorama Overlook 1.0 mile round trip, out and back 300′
Trip 5: San Ysidro Mountain 7.0 miles round trip, out and back 4400′
Trip 6: Flat Cat Canyon 5.0 miles round trip out and back 1800′
Trip 7: Lower Hellhole Canyon 4.8 miles round trip, out and back 900′
Trip 8: Culp Valley Loop 1.7 miles loop 300′
Trip 9: California Riding & Hiking Trail 8.0 miles point to point 500′ gain/3700′ loss
Trip 10: Upper Hellhole Canyon 3.0 miles round trip, out and back 1600′
Trip 11: Tubb Canyon 1.5 miles round trip, out and back 200′

Desert: Coyote Mountain & Rockhouse Canyon

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Coyote Mountain – South Spur 4.0 miles round trip out and back 750′
Trip 2: Coyote Mountain – East Approach 4.0 Miles miles round trip out and back 2600′
Trip 3: Alcoholic Pass 2.0 miles round trip out and back 650′
Trip 4: Jackass Flat & Butler Canyon 10.0 miles loop 1000′
Trip 5: Rockhouse Canyon & Valley 19 miles loop 3500′
Trip 6: Box Canyon to Hidden Spring 12 miles round trip out and back 2500′

Desert: Santa Rosa Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Peak 6582 15 miles round trip out and back 5800′
Trip 2: Rabbit Peak via Villager Peak 20 Miles miles round trip out and back 8300′
Trip 3: Rattlesnake Spring 8.5 miles loop 2500′
Trip 4: Mile High Mountain 13 miles round trip out and back 5500′
Trip 5: Rock Tanks Loop 7.5 miles loop 1300′
Trip 6: Coachwhip Canyon 1 to 4 miles round trip out and back 500′
Trip 7: Truckhaven Rocks 1.8 miles round trip out and back 200′
Trip 8: Calcite Mine 4.0 miles round trip out and back 800′
Trip 9: Palm Wash & Sheep Tanks 7.0 miles Loop 900′

Desert: Borrego Badlands

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Fonts Point 1.0 miles round trip out and back 200′
Trip 2: Seventeen Palms & Vicinity 2.5 Miles miles loop 300′
Trip 3: West Butte Borrego Mountain 3.5 miles loop 700′

Desert: San Felipe Hills & Pinyon Ridge

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: San Felipe Hills 4 miles round trip out and back 700′ 5 May 2016 4.5 Stars. Very well maintained trail, part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Great desert flora. Our lunch spot on the trail San Felipe Hills
Trip 2: Lizard Canyon 3.4 Miles miles round trip out and back 700′
Trip 3: Jasper Trail & Grapevine Canyon 11 miles point to point 500′ gain / 2900′ loss
Trip 4: Grapevine Mountain/Bitter Creek 6 miles loop 2400′
Trip 1.2: Yaqui Well Trail 1.2 miles loop 100′
Trip 6: Cactus Loop Trail 1.0 miles loop 200′
Trip 7: Bill Kenyon Trail 1.0 miles round trip out and back 150′
Trip 8: Pinyon Ridge 8.5 miles round trip out and back 1400′

Desert: Pinyon Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Narrows Earth Trail .5 mile loop 50′
Trip 2: Sunset Mountain 6.0 Miles miles round trip out and back 2200′
Trip 3: Pinyon Mountain – North Approach 14 miles loop 3100′
Trip 4: Harper Canyon 9.0 miles round trip out and back 1500′

Desert: Blair Valley & Vallecito Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Cool Canyon 2.0 miles round trip out and back 4500′
Trip 2: Granite Mountain 6.5 Miles miles round trip out and back 3200′
Trip 3: Mason Valley Truck Trail 8.5 miles point to Point 200′ gain / 2400′ drop
Trip 4: Oriflamme Canyon 2.6 miles round trip out and back 500′
Trip 5: Marshal South Cabin 2.0 miles loop 400′
Trip 6: Pictograph Trail 1.6 miles round trip out and back 300′
Trip 7: Whale Peak – North Approach 4.0 miles round trip out and back 1500′
Trip 8: Whale Peak – West Approach 13 miles loop 3200′
Trip 9: Pinyon Mountain – South Approach 2.0 miles round trip out and back 500′
Trip 10: Rainbow Canyon 2.2 miles round trip out and back 500′

Desert: Split Mountain & Fish Creek

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Cool Canyon 1.2 miles loop 100′
Trip 2: Alma Wash to Starfish Cove 10 Miles miles round trip out and back 1600′
Trip 3: Split Mountain & Lycium Wash Loop 12.5 miles loop 1000
Trip 4: Mud Hills Wash 5.0 miles round trip out and back 300′
Trip 5: Sandstone Canyon – East Approach Up to 7.0 miles round trip out and back Up to 1000′
Trip 6: Sandstone Canyon – South Approach 6.2 miles round trip out and back 900′

Desert: Agua Caliente Springs

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Moonlight Trail 1.5 miles loop 350′
Trip 2: Pond Trail 1.4 Miles miles round trip out and back 200′
Trip 3: Mount Laguan to Agua Caliente 11 miles point to Point 300′ gain / 5100′ drop

Desert: Bow Willow & In-Ko-Pah Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Torote Canyon 4.0 miles round trip out and back 1000′
Trip 2: Sombrero Peak – East Approach 3.0 Miles miles round trip out and back 1900′
Trip 3: Mountain Palm Springs 2.5 miles loop 350′
Trip 4: Bow Willow & Rockhouse Canyons Loop 7.5 miles loop. We did this backwards and went farther: 9.3 miles with 138′ gain/loss. 1100′ 4/14/2017  3 Stars – This could be a five star hike on a cooler day (around 85 today) if the trail was marked. The book says the trail is not marked well, it should say it is not marked.  I did not see one “official trail marker”. There were ducks (rock piles), and without those we would have had to do an out and back instead of a loop. Unless you are very sure of your land navigation skills bring a map and/or a GPS. Rockhouse Canyon Star Trek formation Loved this rock formation. Kept hearing the original TV Star Trek battle music in my head!
Trip 5: Bow Willow Canyon 7.5 miles round trip out and back 750′
Trip 6: Sombrero Peak – West Approach 10 miles round trip out and back 1300′
Trip 7: Pepperwood Trail to Canebrake 14 miles point to point 450′ gain / 3700′ loss
Trip 8: Four Frogs & Jacumba Jim Loop 9.0 miles loop 3200′

Desert: Carrizo Badlands

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Mine Peak 2.5 miles round trip out and back 700′
Trip 2: Canyon Sin Nombre 5.0 Miles miles round trip out and back 550′ (much more with exploring) 5 Feb 2016  5+ Stars – Slot Canyons off Canyon Sin Nombre  Enjoying the longer of 2 slot canyons.
Trip 3: Arroyo Tapiado & Arroyo Seco del Diablo Loop 16.5 miles loop 600′
Trip 4: The Domelands 6.0 miles loop 1200′ 19 Feb 2016 5 Stars – Warm day over 80 degrees, but the Domelands are worth the effort for sure. Sean in front of our favorite domed windcave
Both of us on the other side of our favorite domed windcave

Desert: Carrizo Gorge

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Carrizo Gorge Overlook 5.0 miles round trip out and back 700′
Trip 2: Indian Hill & Corrizo Palms 6.5 Miles loop 900′
Trip 3: Mortero Palms to Goat Canyon 4.0 miles round trip out and back 600′

Desert: Jacumba Mountains

Hike Distance Elevation Change When Rating Picture
Trip 1: Blue Angels Peak 5.0 miles round trip out and back 1300′
Trip 2: Valley of the Moon 7.0 Miles round trip out and back 900′
Trip 3: Myer Valley & Boulder Creek 4.0 miles loop 1000′
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Comments
  1. One of my favorite books on my shelf!

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