dogs on leash
off road driving
Cleveland National Forest encompasses 460,000 acres, mostly of chaparral, with a few riparian areas. A warm dry mediterranean climate prevails over the Forest. It is the southernmost National forest of California.
Despite using the guide on the Modern Hiker website, I lost the trail a bit over a mile in and couldn't find it again as it became pretty overgrown. Met some others on the way who were pretty lost as well. Wear long pants as it's pretty easy to get scratched up!
Steeper then originally expected, great views from the top, can see down to the south into Jamul (Lyons Peak, Lawson Peak) and can see out to Point Loma and Coronado. Trail isn't too wide, but overall not bad. Great place to watch the sunset.
Followed the directions to trail from the destination in the AllTrails app, but did not park at water towers when Siri said I reached the destination, drove past up to where the road widens, there are some spray painted rocks on the right, the trail head is in that area, will see the opening in the fence.
Hiked the Dead Horse trail on a cooler day and there is plenty of shade in the early morning. This ended up being just under 8 miles. Once the sun gets higher there is limited shade so I would recommend hiking on cooler days. The trail is narrow but easy to follow with great signage. There is a lot of foxtails encroaching on the path and I spent a bit of time getting those out of my socks. There is an $8 fee for parking if you don't have the Adventure Pass or Federal equivalent. Also there was a sign forbidding dogs on the trail at the trail head.
Beautiful views at the top! The trail is difficult to follow. I had downloaded the trail from AllTrails and it looked like we were hiking parallel to it, but I figured that my GPS was slightly off. As it turns out, we had taken the wide right path when we should have taken the very faint left trail at a wide sandy spot. We were able to bushwack over to the main trail after ascending a bit to the rocky part. On the way down, we lost the trail again and regained it after some use of the alltrails map on my phone. I was surprised by the heat on the trail back. We started at 8:20 am and were back to our car by 11:20 at a slow pace due to the heat.
I used Francisco Leal trail. It was easy to follow and it also took me to Green Valley Falls even though there was no water but it was nice to see. I did a total of 10.4 miles. Be prepared to bring snacks and water because it took me 3:40. Enjoy!
Awesome trail. We did it on a warm day but surprised that it stayed pretty cool. The switchbacks are mostly shady in the morning. The upper ridge smells of fresh pine and while is in the sun, had a nice breeze. At the top, we took Main Divide east to the Trabuco Canyon Loop back down. All in all was 10 miles or so. Great trail in good shape. Can't wait to go out again and see the fall colors.
idk why everyone says this trail is hard. it was pretty easy. not challenging at all. we only brought 3 bottles of water and that was more than sufficient. ofcourse bring tons of water to hydrate. we didn't tale any breaks either. the climb up to the peak is all up hill and like doing lunges
the way down was a walk in the park.
definitely not a difficult hike. i did it with my 4 year old son.