Being my first time in the area, this hike blew me away. There were great views from start to finish, especially from the summit. Go on a clear day because the sunset is top notch. To put the icing on the cake, there are bolts on the face if you're into climbing.
Ted G. on Corte Madera Mountain Trail
Late post. Last month, June 18, 2016 I hiked Corte Madera Mountain Trail, San Diego's version of the infamous Yosemite Half-Dome. Racked up 7.53 RT miles on a warm dry day, the day before the border Tecate Fires. This was a cool hike, steep uphill hike all the way to the summit. I was pleased to see and sign the official peak log. After the 1st 1.5 miles on the trail, you come up to viewpoint and will be amazing at mountain. Good hike.
This one surprised us... quite the butt kicker for a regular hiker like me. It was like a mini El Capitan Preserve trail, with about half the elevation gain (206 floors according to Fitbit... El Capitan had 430 floors) with ups and down starting halfway through. Some real facts about the trail:
Difficulty: moderately hard
Distance (out and back): 7.32 miles
Elevation gain: 1457 ft
Landscape: Varies. Begins as a forest, then becomes brush desert, then mountain high brush desert.
Traffic: None. We were the only ones on the trail today.
Scenery: Really Really good for San Diego county. At first it isn't so much, but once you reach the crossroads where the trails split, it's great all the way to the top.
Quaintness: Epic. Not a soul nor sound of human civilization... Aside from the occasional airplane flying overhead.... :/
Flora and Fauna: Great! Lots of lizards and birds, especially birds of prey.
Note: all cars can get to trail... Part is dirt road. Just go slow.
What you NEED to bring:
- trail runners or hiking boots/shoes
- Lots of water and some snacks
- PANTS. This trail is narrow surrounded by high brush most of the way, some poison oak in shady areas
- If going in spring or summer, BUG SPRAY!!! Bugs, bugs EVERYWHERE (on some parts of trail, especially the beginning.)
What you COULD bring:
- trekking poles for those who need knee support
- Binoculars... Seriously... This is a GREAT hike for birdwatching raptors. I really wish I had brought mine.
- light jacket to avoid brush.
- nice camera for landscapes and selfies :P
I liked this hike a lot, and consider it one of the better ones in San Diego. If it wasn't so out of the way I would come here often. I will recommend people with a good fitness level to check out this hike.
4 stars for a good moderately long hike with great scenery for the area and varied landscape!
We completed this trail on May 28, 2015. Things to know:
- not crowded, reegardless of time of year.
- shaded more at the bottom with lots of trees ( there were a lot of pesky nats in the shade during the first 1-2 miles.
- Steep climbs during last 1-2 miles nearing summit. Its like climbing a steep staircase in some parts.
- Have to drive on a semi dirt road for a few miles from Buckman Spings before you get to the Trail Head.
- start on the Espinosa Trail and youll be headed in the right direction.
- the recorded track from our hike is titled Corte Madera Mountain 5/28/15
- the trailhead location on the recorded track is accurate.
- saw virtually no wild life, except for several large birds of prey all perched in the same Pine near top half of hike.
- i gave it five stars because of the remoteness and lack of crowds, the diversity of landscape, the length of the trail which i think is ideal, and the vertical challenges youll encounter along the way.
- the summit is not visible during the first couple of miles. Once you get over the initial ridge to where the trail splits youll get a good look at the stone face of the summit , which is rather spectacular.
Great hike, look out for the two bald eagles! The were hanging out near the top on one of the last telephone poles you can see. It was amazing! Take lots of water for you and your fur friend, there is a lot of up up up. There are lots of breathtaking photo spots, you can see green hills for days. I'd definitely do this hike again.
Did this on a November morning. Beautiful weather, great scenery, and awesome views from the summit and along the way!
Make sure to get an adventure day pass to park in the area, and also pay good attention to markers others have left near the top. I got side tracked on another trail because I missed a ribbon tied to plants showing which trail was the summit one (it had great views too!)
Great trail! The terrain changes up quite a bit from forest, to chaparral, to rocky manzanita areas. I love this trail and cant wait to go back. Seems like not a lot of people know about this one. We saw only a couple hikers our whole trip.