Explore San Diego - done - 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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Went by today and parking lot was closed with sign that all trails closed. Hasn’t rained in a week so not sure why closed.

Amazing hike! We took the shorter trail which is quite steep but a great workout and takes less time. Very much worth it!

Awesome! Great incline going up the mountain. Great Cardio. I did the hike solo and felt safe. Going down the hill I chose the harder trail and it was a little rocky so I slid a couple of times but other then that it was a great hike I would definitely do it again!!

Heavily trafficked and not too challenging. A ton of switchbacks make it easier to ascend but also make it repetitive. Great view at the top.

Beautiful hike, but do it early to beat the heat and the crowds!

great trail. good elevatipn. great views. cant get lost either.

a lot of people, met a barefoot hiker who is cool. not too many people would stop and talk though.

This hike is definitely worth it. It’s also worth paying the $10 to park. They have excellent, well maintained facilities at the lake, and the trail is also very well maintained. If you are a trail runner this is ideal because the path is relatively smooth and even for the first stretch, then when it gets steep there are rock stairs or rock gardens. There was not one place that was sketchy to navigate.

I’d call this a moderate hike because while somewhat long and a bit a steep at places, you never question your life or abilities. Hard hikes, I think, should have you second-guessing your ability to complete them. This hike never required any thought. It was smooth.

Also, I thought I’d be showing up “late” when I started about 7:45am on Sunday, 12/9. It wasn’t crowded at all and I had long stretches to myself. There were a few groups going up but not too many. And while I didn’t take a picture, there was no line do so. Definitely more people on the way down (coming up), but there were a few large groups. Bottom line, don’t stress if you are not there at sunrise, you can still get some alone time in. And there’s a lot of shade in the morning. It took me about 1:20 to get up and 50 minutes to come down, and I ran part of the way down.

If you need a hike to really kick your ass, try El Cajon Mountain. Even if you don’t go the full 11 miles, it is challenging and up hill both ways!

hiking
6 days ago

Went 2 days after heavy rain. Our first rime. Surfer recommended going barefoot, he was right.! super slippery at bottom by the rope. Took Gliderport stairs back and the ridge back to HoChi Minh. Views are amazing. I agree w moderate rating. Real fun, oh yeah, for those new to area Black’s beach is one of the best breaks in area and the North side is a swimsuit optional beach.

Good stuff

great for learners, or getting back into shape, or just getting better. great view of San Diego, beautiful sunsets. Easily accessible. pleanty of parking, and places the eat nearby. Downfall is it's often crowded, people think theres maintaneance to pick up their already bagged dog poo and bust leave it on the trail (stupid!) theres zero shade (sucks in the summer), and natural vegetation suffers from frequent human activity (comparing to the rest of mission trails, even during the dry season theres still some green, but hardly on Cowels) a pro to that, is less wildlife (snakes in particular)

Definitely a good hike that wears you out on the way up....as long as you hike the side starting at the lake. Will definitely hike again soon.

hiking
13 days ago

My first visit was in the summer, it was hot and trail was in tact - had good fun. My second time was after rains, the trail has become little more difficult than before because of the erosion. But I would say the fun element of this trail has increased because of the erosion. A shoe with good grip is a must have.

Nice hike up with combo of mild-moderate inclines, flat areas to recover, and rewarding views at the top. It didn’t feel crowded with people/dogs to the point that it slowed me down. I didn’t bring my dog because of some stories I heard about overheating, wildlife issues, and fights with other dogs. I guess I could see a fight occur where the trail is tighter in spots (same way up/down) and dogs would come in contact with each other. That said, all dogs were well behaved when I was there and the trail was impeccably clean.

monster workout. great views. facilities at the bottom. The description and all trails is incorrect it is closer to 8 Miles not 6.9

one of the first hikes I've done best hike I've done. easier and easier as I go. running down is always the best. had 1 time where I saw a baby rattlesnake but other than that it was good lots of foot traffic but amazing hike.

hiking
17 days ago

There’s a bathroom and fountain (including doggie fountain) at the Tamarack Ave trailhead. Not many a lot of places within the trail to throw out dog waste bags so you may have to walk around with them for a bit. It is kind of easy to get lost, not many signs, but over all a good easy hike.
**depending on the route you take to the peak there are some semi steep inclines and declines, would suggest hiking boots if you have them**

The waterfall is worth it. Pack for a picnic!

I lost myself in the water at the end and loved every moment of it. The route we took was the 6 mile route: we parked, walked straight ahead, continued for just over 3 miles, walked down to the water, hung out, chilled and walked back the same way we came. This was a nice "recovery" hike after doing a more challenging one a few days prior. This was long but definitely worth it. Give yourself a few hours though because walking 6 miles takes some time! Lots of shade but there are a few points where there isn't any.

hiking
20 days ago

I know I'm biased but this is one of my favorites! Yes it can get busy but nothing like Torrey Pines. The views up top are gorgeous and every time Ive been there everyone is considerate and friendly. Ive been at 6am as well as 10pm. Previous reviewers mention being courteous with head/flash lights because some of us do much better with night hikes in the moon light.

Definitely take water. If you go during sunmy hours there is no shade throughout the hike so plan accordingly (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc). I am definitely a "slow but steady" hiker and it takes me about 1 hr to the top and about 40 mins down.

on Lake Calavera

hiking
20 days ago

Recommend early morning or late afternoon as there is no shade and not much to see.

It’s nice to run down the trail and walk back up.

Excellent workout, we did the shorter trail; it was hard but definitely worth it!
Highly recommended.
D

I loveeee this hike!!!! I’m confused on why people are saying it’s not a loop cuz it is but it’s a 11 mile loop. Not 6 miles. That information is incorrect. There’s so many trails the variety is amazing it feels like all different hikes. There’s 2 trails one for hikers and trail runnings and one for bikes and cars possibly. You don’t have to really ever worry about bikes. It’s beautiful and I highly recommend it! Some parts of shaded and a lot parts aren’t. Bring a ton of water and sunscreen. Lots of fun areas! Enjoy :)

Great trail. Walked with my 10 years old daughter and her friend. Good walk out.

26 days ago

my son, granddaughter and I had a wonderful time exploring the trails and area. trails were easy to navigate, steep near the volcano

Good Long trail steady climb. And obviously the awesome photo opp at the end

Beautiful wilderness area. Lightly trafficked. Takes between 4-5 hours to complete. Bring 6-8 liters of water and 2,000-3,000 calories.if summiting in winter bring emergency blankets in case you need to bivy at the top.

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