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

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Love this trail

Awesome trial! My husband & I never hiked & decided let’s try it. Wow did it kick our butts. We also started at 1300 on a 100 degree day (don’t do that). It took us 3hours round trip. Beautiful views. Definitely wish it had more signs on how far to go. We brought 2-40oz hydroflasks, & a gallon of water + don’t forget some protein or PB&J’s! Overall amazing!

Great for a morning workout and enjoying the views.

we took the north trail on the way up and came down the South, highly recommend taking the South trail. Happy Trails

It was one of the hottest forecast days of the year and we got off to a bit of a late start (7:30 ish) - we realized this when, on our way up, we noted lots of hikers already on their way down. What ever you do BRING LOTS OF WATER. Lots means a couple liters NOT one small bottle of Crystal Geyser! I can not tell you how many people we passed that were on their way to heat stroke. Shared our extra water with a few who were out far from the trail head! Bring extra water! (always a good idea anyway)
It's a well marked path, starting with a dirt road for the first mile or so, then up to singletrack through and up the rocks, with rock steps on some of the rockier sections. There is shade to be found. We were early enough that some of the brush provided a great place to just get out of the sun for a moment or two when catching your breath. Although it's a popular hike, we never felt crowded on the trail and never hit any traffic jams - perhaps because of the area high heat warnings. But there were a reasonable amount of people there. It's a nice UP and back Down hike, meaning it's easier to push yourself a bit harder at first knowing that it will be easier going down. The first mile or so had several porta potties and trash bins along the route and the trail was really clean. Not sure if it's like this all the time but perhaps they stepped it up for the July 4 weekend crowds. Really great local hike with easy parking, beautiful views away from the suburban sprawl and cool shaded grassy spots to crash in when you get back down to your car! Would recommend and would definitely do again.

The most difficult hike in San Diego. Great challenges come great rewards. The views are amazing just like they say. You wont be disappointed. It is very easy to loose the trail or try to go around an obstacle and end up on a cliff face or another impassable obstacle. This is more of a climb than a hike. Stay on the ridge line. The descent is harder then the climb, so give yourself plenty of time and bring at least 3 litres of water.

we did this trail 7/3/18 w a group of 20 people this is a very easy horse trail up to Woodson trailhead
this is the best route
took a bit longer
we took the paved asphalt the whole down & it hurt our knees & toes
parking early on the road

So hot!!!!

I would like to say it was hiking, but it was more walking along a nude beach for most of the stretch. Be forewarned there are a ton of clothing optional ladies and gents out there, mostly gents. You will probably feel very much out of place and over dressed but once you get past the first 3 miles of nudity (mostly males) there’s a good 3 or miles of terrain trail. Let me be clear as I should have read more of these reviews before I went. It’s not really a hike as much as it is a beach walk/run with a decent terrain at the end. If you’re reading this and it’s too late and you’ve already encountered too much skin exposure for a day you can take the roads back to the trail head.
Best of luck my friends.
P.S. I gave 2 Stars because I’m still recovering from the views.
But credit to the last 3 miles of the actual hike trek there were really good views of NATURE there.

The trail begins at the back of the parking lot. It is very well maintained and I saw a few dedicated men picking up trash on the trail and at the top. The trail starts to get harder the last two miles. That is where the rock steps begin; however, it's not as difficult as other hikes that I have been on. I was at the gate at 6:00 am when it opened on a weekday and I had the rock to myself for a while at the top. I saw lots of people coming up the trail as I descended. The views are very scenic going up and at the top.

Definitely a difficult hike, especially on a hot day. (It got up to 105 when I went). Be sure to bring lots of water as there is little shade, but the view at the top is worth the climb and the hike back down is pretty easy. Just make sure from the lake Powell parking lot you take the trail to your right and not your left or you will add on an extra mile each way like I did on my hike up by accident.

A great workout. Big inclines and the trail is well marked. It was totally worth it for the great views and of course pics on the rock.

on Iron Mountain Trail

12 days ago

Amazing trail. Well mark.

Help someone! If anyone could comment and direct me to The right trail head beginning for this trail, I would really appreciate it. Pardon my seeming noviceness LOL. I hike “hard to difficult” trails every week, and I’ve done the El Capitan side of this a couple of times, though not finishing it, going in at least 5 miles in and 5 miles back. I really want to do this south entrance trail. I parked just before the entrance of the reservoir and saw what looked like the beginning of the trail, though there are some little trails, each lead me to nowhere. I really want to do this side of the mountain it looks awesome. Anyone know exactly where to begin?

hiking
15 days ago

Some challenging parts!

Quite a hike for a first timer like me but was a good exercise. Nice view.

Beautiful trail, recommend following the guidance here up Azalea to the right then down the paved road on the way back (not fun for the feet though).

Note: the entrance to Conejos is very difficult to spot, the trail sign is hidden if you’re travelling from Azalea. Also, bring lots of water and sunscreen. Park patches, cool gifts, and wildlife display at Cuyamaca Rancho visitor’s center before you get to the campground- worth a stop Sat and Sun 1000 to 1600. Recommended soundtrack for the drive: Tin Hat Trio: The Rodeo Eroded.

hiking
17 days ago

Great workout and a challenging hike. Will do this one again.

Dope!! I looove this place!! Very challenging but rewarding once u get to d top n see the potato chip rock.... amazing!! I was able to do in 3 hrs didnt stop n kind of jog here and there on my way back. Hiked all by myself n had a blast!! Will def do it again maybe in nov wen its not too hot !

hiking
18 days ago

went to the peak during sunset. also the full moon was rising opposite the sun. it was wonderful. went at the end of june. temperature was perfect.

Hot day bring lots of water, did training hike with backpack made it challenging and a good workout. Jogging down easier than walking due to steep. Went on a Friday morning around 7:30 no crowd at all

hiking
20 days ago

Loved this trail! One of 5 of the 5 peak challenge and my favorite. Views are great, not as crowded, challenging, great workout!

Trails are wide and forgiving. Couple spots with shade next to large rocks just in case it gets too hot.

Choose your own adventure rock climbing! Lots of paths and routes, the all go up, but they're not kidding when they tell you to stick to the very center of the ridge (nothing like starting up a chimney and coming eye level to a bolted anchor 5' to your right on the same rock).
Going down is balls. This would be WAY better as a through hike (leave a bike or 2nd car at the main El Cajon TH).
I saw ZERO rattlesnakes (hiked from 10:30am to 4:30pm), but I did see not one, not two, but THREE GOLDEN EAGLES soar over my head. Best part of the hike.
I brought 2L and ran out towards the end. Bring at least 3L. The only shade on the entire hike is under lunch rock.
The discomfort of feeling sweat run down your legs under your gaiters is worth the protection from the billions of foxtails and evil desert bushes towards the top.

This site has good beta: http://www.vistaseeker.com/2016/01/25/el-cajon-mountain-south-arete/

one of my favorites, a nice cardio climb.

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