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Long Trails > 8 miles Map
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September 18th: This hike was gorgeous and challenging. I underestimated it and took only 2 liters of water. I ran out about halfway back to my car, and by the time I got fluids I was very ill. I want to reiterate a previous poster's suggestion - take at least 3 liters!! Amazing views at the top, well worth the hard work.

My go to trail for backpack training. I’ve used this trail for many years as I prepare for various long distance backpacks. My favorite in the area.

This trail is awesome and only lightly used until you meet up with the Iron Mountain Trail. Love training from this TH.

not for beginners

hard, but worth it

This trail is very well kept and has mirrors for blind curves. Truly an enjoyable drive. This trail is not at all deserving of a hard rating in my opinion (for a summer drive at least) you will have some steep grades and a few narrow spots but not at all a two way trail so keep in mind when you pass a turn out spot as you may have to back up.
We drove a Jeep Compass Trailhawk without issues. We did throw it into 4low to prevent any slipping but could have done it without it. Traffic was minimal for a holiday (Labor day) only saw two other vehicles and a small group of 3 dirt bikes. All in all great trip!

This trail is super fun, the scenery is a bonus! I wouldn't rate this trail hard but you must have a vehicle with some ground clearance and good traction. My first time, I took my Wrangler with all-terrain tires without my 4wd and it would slide around a lot, especially going downhill which could be a little scary if you catch too much speed. I previously went again and set my wrangler at 4Hi. It was quite a difference, much better of course.
The "No Off-Road Vehicles" signs made me a little nervous but so far I haven't encountered any problems. it is a 2 way trail and can be very narrow so it is important to keep an eye out for upcoming vehicles. I encountered about 5 and we were considerate on both ends to make it work, at one point I had to back up quite a bit.

love this trail! Quiet, not crowded at all. Good runnable trail for race prep!

mountain biking
1 month ago

it is called raptor ridge not raptor hill, an awesome ride, especially if you make it to the top, great views, I usually do night rides due to cooler conditions, but only recommend for experienced riders.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike very steep watch your step coming down so worth it !!!

Love this HARD hike but FYI the trail is closed for August due to high heat! We showed up at 6 am with tons of water and found closed sign and had to divert to mission trails. Def hike when cooler!

So a buddy and I did this hike on 8/6/18. Not a good idea. Do not do this hike in the summer. Wait until it cools off. There is very little shade to stop in. And please for the love of all that is holy, bring more than 3L of water. You will run out. You will be miserable. The hike itself is intense. A lot of big hills, the top has a 360 degree view of nothing but mountains. The last few hundred feet are tough. Small trail through big rocks.

This hike is legit and very steep and tiring. Bring tons of water and be prepared for uphill both ways. We did it on 7/21/18 and one of our good Freinds had a heat stroke and was life flighted out. Be prepared.

I've done this trail at least a dozen times, mainly due to it passing through BLM territory where some friends and I do some routine target shooting. There's a lot more areas that are now gated/fenced off that weren't a year or two ago but even with the off-limit areas, there's plenty to explore.

First and foremost, you don't need a special rig to get through this trail. I've completed the main trail in a RWD Nissan Xterra, FWD Lexus NX200, AWD Ford Escape, AWD Subaru Outback, 4WD 2017 Ford Expedition, 4WD 2018 F150 Raptor. All stock, no issues. With that said, there are tons of side trails, many of which are deserving of the "hard" label, some of which I've only been able to complete in the Raptor and others that I haven't even attempted because they're too tight for my truck. If you stick to the main trail, anything with half way decent ground clearance will do just fine.

With that said, the roads in many areas are quite narrow with a near vertical drop to what would likely be your death if you aren't paying attention. Traffic flows in both directions and there's only room for 1 vehicle at a time. There are several areas along the trail where you can pull to the side to let another vehicle pass. Make a mental note anytime you pass one because you never know when you'll encounter an oncoming vehicle that may require you to reverse your vehicle back to that spot so you can safely pass each other.

If you're going on a Saturday or Sunday, traffic is light but not what I would call "remote" you'll almost certainly encounter other off-roaders at some point along the trail and possibly a Border Patrol vehicle or two. If they come up behind you just pull over to the side as soon as it's safe for you to do so and let them pass. They know the roads well and drive vehicles that aren't theirs so they typically like to haul ass.

Bring water and some protein bars. The main trail will take about an hour to complete but you can easily be up there all day if you stop to take photos or decide to explore some of the side trails. Most of the side trails will lead to a dead end or link back up with the main trail. Some side trails aren't really side trails but another main trail. If you make a wrong turn you can find yourself heading way down south all the way to the 905 just a few city blocks away from the border. I like to bring my drone with me for the times I want to explore a side trail I haven't been on before. I take the drone up to get a good look at the trail difficulty and see where it goes before committing myself and my vehicle to it.

One last thing... If you enter from Otay Lakes Rd (aka Pio Pico) and exist from Marron Valley Rd and then head north on Campo Rd, you will have to go past a Border Patrol check point. The line is usually pretty short. I've rarely waited longer than 5 minutes, but something to consider. There is no stopping necessary if you're going South on Campo Rd, so some people may opt do the trail in reverse by entering through Marron Valley Rd and exiting Pio Pico.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a late review but I hiked this trail back in the winter when the temps weren't too bad. I started the hike super early before the sun came up. It took a couple hours to finish the hike but its not too bad if you start early and do it before it gets too hot. I brought a gallon of water and pretty much drank the whole thing. I saw one girl practically having a heat stroke when I was hiking back toward the car. Her friends were pouring water on her head. I probably wouldn't recommend this hike unless you are in decent shape.

A tough one. Specially in the summer time. Took 5:50” heat definitely a factor. 4.5lt, barely enough. Nice views up top. Save energy for the return leg since you will find steep hills. Would recommend trekking poles and an early start.

Definitely not a summer afternoon hike. VERY hot with very little shade. I took 4L and it was barely enough. Great hike otherwise. The best part was the rock formations towards the end, so push through to the peak and you’ll be rewarded.

Tough as it's made out to be. I hiked it when it was a high of 75 and felt like it was 90. I went through 4 liters of water and could have used more.

great hike for training for whitey. beautiful day...

One of my favorite hikes in SD and also one of the hardest I've done! Great training climb for those working towards higher peaks and distances.

hiking
2 months ago

Wow, this hike was tough! Very fun and challenging. We are still talking about it a year and a half later.

A little hard to be sure you’re on the right trail at a few junctions, but a good strenuous climb if you haul ass...

trail running
2 months ago

Lovely quiet trail, perfect for running. Would recommend parking and beginning at black mountain ranch park rather than the trailhead this app recommends (that trailhead is at one of the most confusing parts of the loop- black mountain ranch park is pretty clear)

This was definitely a challenging hike! Would recommend starting as early as possible. We started at 8am and finished just shy of 4 hours and it was really hot! I had about 2L in my hydration pack and finished every ounce! It was an incredible accomplishment to summit, but you’ll definitely work for it!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike and challenging. My Fitbit and the mileage on the trail didn’t coordinate and I clocked almost 13 miles. Definitely longer than 10.6. I found the 2nd hill around the 3 mile marker the most challenging.
Kudos to the guy who was jogging up! Are you kidding me?!?
Great hike and look forward to it again

trail running
3 months ago

This is a beautiful trail, and gorgeous country. I've run/hiked it three times. The trail is quite steep and rutted in some places. Using trekking poles helps with the step terrain and uneven surface. I like to run with one trekking pole. Wear a big hat, and carry at least three liters of water.

hiking
3 months ago

The toughest hike I have done in San Diego. Be prepared for steep inclines. I wish I had brought my trekking poles for the way down. I went in April with the temperature in the mid 70s and started at 8am. I brought 4 liters of water and it was just right. I can't imagine doing this hike in the summer time. Not enough shade to cool yourself off.

Great hike, fantastic views and I saw no snakes

hiking
3 months ago

This hike is the most difficult hike I've done so far. The view is nice, but there are easier hikes in the area with better views if that's what you're after. I would recommend this hike for the challenge, but keep in mind that it gets more difficult the farther you go. Be smart about your choices. Wear the right clothes, bring enough water (more on that below), and be generally prepared.

There are mile-markers along the trail to inform you of your current distance. It will likely take between 4-6 hours to complete the entire trek. It takes roughly the same time to reach the summit as it does to return to the trailhead. Most of the trail is void of shade. Beware of rattlesnakes.

At the parking lot there is a sign with recommended water, but I would recommend slightly more. The first time I went up with 3 liters and was down to .75 liters when I reached the top. I would recommend having at ~4 liters depending on the weather.

Had a glorious 5.5 hr. Jeep trek from Pio Pico to Campo Rd. (94), well almost. The gate at 94 was locked and only through satellite photos did I find a route out, apparently through private property. As I was exiting onto 94 a CPG agent stopped me to advise that he was coming to open the gate and that I was indeed on private property. I assure him my intention was not to trespass as during the 5.5 hours I saw at least 5 agents a various stages, did not encounter any locked gates, and did not drive past or ignore any advisory signage indicating off limit areas. This is the first time I have done this route and planned it based on the route indicated from AllTrails. He indicated that the gates I passed through should be locked or closed as various parts of the trails pass through private lands etc., or are not supposed to be travelled on by the public. He was frustrated, not with me, but the fact I had such easy access. I wish there was some sort of official advisory and clearly noted routes that off-road enthusiasts could adhere to. Most of us do not want to trespass on private land and want to use the resource respectfully. My next trek, I will stop and ask each agent I encounter if I can be on that stretch of road and indicate where I am going. I will ask their name and give them mine so they can radio ahead that traffic is approaching, What else can we do, Im sure they don't want to play tour guide, but we just want to be able to get in and out without concern about being locked in or out of entries or exits. The agent did indicate I could have been accidently locked in at some point along the way....good thing I carry basic camping gear, food and water. This trail can be difficult at times and I do not recommend 2 wheel vehicles with insufficient clearance, as at times, it is not a Sunday drive in the best of conditions.

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