Explore kellie - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

kellie Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Awesome! Just beware...where there is water, there be a-holes

Fun hike!!! Enjoy!!!

Ticks- ticks- ticks everywhere!! Overgrown- not much to see until you reach the summit and that’s all. A “been there, done that and never more” for me

backpacking
9 days ago

Beautiful hike in the beginning, but after you hit the summit and then decend it gets incredibly rocky and tough. Climbing up the south side of the mountain after camping in the valley was really tough for me.

At the bottom of the valley go past the gate and walk approximately 2 more miles and hit a small waterfall. We heard tons of frogs and had a delightful sleep amongst them. But let me repeat, hiking up that south side of the mountain was really tough. Worth it to sleep among the frogs and waterfall however. I gave this a three star only because I found this hike so difficult.

hiking
11 days ago

Did this hike on a Saturday morning at sunrise, was the only person at El Monte County Park and the only person on the trail. Lovely hike with a lot of switchbacks, a ton of wildflowers, cool rocks, and great views of the valley. The bench with the Blossom Valley Summit plaque is a good place to end the hike and head back, if you continue along the all trails track it just takes you between a couple houses to the roadway to the south, the bench is a much nicer finishing point.

PARKING: you'll have to park within the camp ground so be sure to read the signs and not park in lots that have been reserved. ALSO - a few websites note that you need an ADVENTURE PASS to park but i parked without a pass (without researching ^_^') and luckily didn't get ticketed. However, parking at the Observatory is free - just not at the campground. :D

ANYWAY, from the campground - try to find parking midway into the campground so you're near the amphitheater...cause that's where the trail head is. You'll come across A LOT of chipmunks and squirrels (maybe even some on the road :( you know what i mean) but i think the most annoying critters are the gnats and flies - especially if you go near the afternoon.

I think i digressed. Where am I?

The hike is pretty straight forward with no branching trails (from what i remember) and with gradual inclines. I recommend hiking early in the morning (possibly around 7 or 8) to avoid the gnat swarming around in the heat. I think i saw a few deer but i could be wrong. I get my animals mixed up sometimes.

The hike seems scenic but 15 minutes into it - i started hearing a low guttural roar, which quickly intensifies and then disappear. Yeah, the trail is actually adjacent to a road that actually leads to the Observatory. Kind of kills the whole alone in the woods mood but meh.

ANNNNNYWAY, about an hour into the hike - you'll finally reach the observatory. Past the parking lot (i wish i had driven myself up there and pretend i actually did the hike - no one would know...) you'll see the museum and gift shop to the right. pretty cool stuff in there.

A little further up is the actual Observatory, which you can actually go in and read all about Hale and the telescope. Pretty cool stuff. BTW - PLUTO IS A PLANET!!!

After you've had your fill of interstellar education (btw, there's a tour you can join for cheap), hike your way back the same way you came.

Overall, pretty enjoyable hike with little human traffic. I heard there's a pretty cool night hike led by one of the rangers or employees or something. Something to think about.

Beautiful trail to do on a semi cloudy day, the last 100 yards require minimal bouldering. The rocks on the summit are big enough to lay down and enjoy the breeze with your shoes off. Recommend poles for the descent.

off road driving
12 days ago

Beautiful place for a relaxing drive. Went on a Friday afternoon and had the mountain to myself. I never saw another person all the way out and back. Paid $10 for a day pass and the officer drove up and opened the gate for me to go up Hot Springs Mt. Road. Only needed 4wd for one small section.

absolutely beautiful. this is on the must do list for any socal hiker. look out for snakes though.

hiking
16 days ago

This a an easy hike compared to Cowls mountain.
Very beautiful with lots of green grass, trees and rock formations.
Excellent views along the entire hike.
We went on a Monday afternoon. It was cloudy and cool and we only saw 3 other hikers in the 2 hours it took to complete the hike.
There are wildlife warning signs but we did not see any lions or snakes and we were scanning the hills constantly.

Not bad. Kinda lackluster ending in blossom valley feeling like a you're tresspassing in someone's backyard but overall I liked it. Very well marked and easy to access. Awesome view of the mountains. Went with my seven yr old and two dogs, no issues except for a tiny blister.

hiking
18 days ago

I found this to be a really challenging hike, I would definitely rate this as HARD and not MODERATE. After parking at the campground at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, you follow the fire road north/northwest to the peak. Several trucks who accessed the trail via Hot Springs Mountain Rd passed us on their way up to the peak. There were a ton of gnats, and no trail markings, so we took the wrong trail and added 2 miles to our trip. The views from the top are spectacular though, the reservation is beautiful, and the trek was worth it.

hiking
18 days ago

Enjoyed this more than I expected to. Good solid 8 miles on my gps. Very similar to the style of El Cajon Mountain, but shorter. Many ups and downs. Not a straight ascent, then descent. Not much shade, but nice scenery. The last 200 yards is not for everyone. Scrambling on hands and feet. Pretty steep.

hiking
18 days ago

We didn’t have much time so we only made it from the park to the tunnel. Which was a great quick workout. You start climbing straight from the park in area 8. We only saw two other couples on the trail on Saturday. We will go back and climb both sides. If you aren’t in good uphill condition this may hurt a bit.

We loved this hike. Somehow we turned it in to about 6 miles and the fit bit says about 112 stairs climbed. Lots or great up and down trails. Some downed trees across the trail here and there. Hope they don’t remove them. Easy to get a little of everything on these trails. E will be back soon.

This is a legit hike! The most challenging was right at the start of the hike, so be ready. I took me about 3 hrs to get to the top, then 2 hrs back down. Make sure to pay $10 at the entrance, you can park anywhere. The most popular trail had a chain blocking access to cars driving up. Have fun!

hiking
19 days ago

Very steep switchbacks. The history of the flume is very cool. The trail just sort of dumps you out into a new McMansion urban sprawl community so that's weird. But the views of El Cajon mountain on the way up are great.
I'd give this a 3.5 but apparently we don't get half stars. Very lightly trafficked so I bumped it up.

I've never seen anyone else on this trail which is how I like it. The views are ok and there's a fun little IRL easter egg near the top.

Wear full pants as there are a lot of close brush areas. Probably want long sleeves too to avoid scratches. Not a lot of cover. Definitely a nice little workout with good elevation gain.

Great hike. It is a challenge. No walk in the park. Well maintained. Limited shade so, do this hike early in the morning. It gets hot quickly. Save the water for the return because you will need it. Stay on the left most of the time. There is a market with a hiker sign on the right, don’t take it. This is probably at the 1.5 mile mark. Beautiful view from the top. You have to scramble to get to the top. Very cool and intense. You can spend a good time checking out the rocks and view up there. Few people in trail. 8 miles for me.

Great for kids, good surprise at end

Loved this trail. First time I had gone. Took my pups it was nice not to many people and only one other dog. The chairs are so cool at the top.

There is a $10 entrance fee to the park. CASH ONLY so come prepared. The general store will do cash back if you forget but they are limited by what’s in the till. The trail to the lookout was short and moderately steep. The views would be spectacular on a clear day, but it was hazy when we went. From the lookout, the trail heads downhill and there are numerous downed trees across the trail that were fun for our toddler and made the day interesting. Overall, trail would be considered an easy outing if it wasn’t for the downed trees you have to traverse along the way.

Love this trail!!! It’s marked pretty well. It’s a decent incline to the top. Lots of complaints on dog poop but I don’t think it’s dog poop. It looks to be wild animal poop-but there is quite a bit of it. The chairs at the top are awesome! I’m so glad I got up to to do this morning.

Amazing views as always and the in the freezing temperatures much of the trees and foliage around covered in stunning icicles!

Great trail but to echo their reviewers, not a beginners hill. We made it up and down along with a lunch stop near the top in just over 3 hours. Love the signing books up top, cool to see the log over many years.

Just watch for the left turn with the brown metal post we missed it and had to double back.

El camino muy claro y la vista desde las sillas que están en la cima, inmejorables!

Perfect Sunday hike! Gorgeous trail with such a nice reward at the end! Great hike to do with dogs. We probably saw about four other groups of people the whole day which is very empty for San Diego. Would deff put this hike into the cycle of hikes you can do again and again.

Really lovely hike, with lots of different options for various levels. We didn’t make it to the top, since our dog was getting nervous on the granite, but we will be back. We did find several small, dark ticks along the trail, so vigilant checking is advised.

hiking
2 months ago

We experienced Many Ticks, so protect yourself accordingly;
Otherwise, this is a peaceful area to explore!

We made it to the cables but had to turn back just past as our dog was unable to continue due to the incline of the scramble; she is an experienced trail dog so if you are headed to the summit - leave your pets behind.

There are many other areas to explore such as the meadow and the ruins around the loop trial if the summit proves too much; this area is great for dogs.

We will be back!

Great hike for the kids, water features are always a nice way to take a break halfway through. especially in San Diego where water features are almost nonexistent. Its a pretty gradual descent down into the canyon which flattens out as you get closer to the Pine Valley Creek. We went in the afternoon around 3, which was perfect. Hopefully we get some more rain this year, because I'm planning on a springtime return here. I could see how it could be scorching in this area around summer time, so bring lots of water. Should really call it the Espinosa Trail through Horsethief Canyon.

Load More