Explore SD Classic 10 Peak Challenge - 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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A good cardio work out starting around mile 1. A novice could loose their way in a few spots without using a trail app. or a good sense of direction. A good technical work out from mile 1 to mile 3. Don’t recommend for small children. It could be the the end of their precious world with lots of crying to be had by mile 2.

Not too difficult until the last half mile. It's a nice hike and doable with a dog. Pretty crowded though, but we didnt start as early as I would like.

hiking
no shade
3 days ago

There’s a lot of misinformation on trail distance in the reviews. The trail is longer than described but not 14-15 miles. I hiked El Cajon Mtn today (second time) and my GPS read 11.8 miles round trip, which is consistent with my last trip up. Also, the total vertical gain is about 3,800 feet due to the trail dropping then gaining again and again. I’m a fan of this mighty little SoCal mountain due to its close proximity to SD and the ability it gives to train for its bigger brothers, or sisters, that lie north in the San Bernadinos and Sierras... minus the effects of altitude.

I love this trail, but man, was it packed with people and dogs this morning! There was some sort of wilderness course taking place as well. Few puddles from the recent rain, but nothing to derail you.

It took us around 3 hours but we had a slower dog in tow, so we moved somewhat slowly and stopped frequently.

Love this trail. The only thing people forget to mention is it’s ALL incline the entire way up!!! But well worth it. Great workout!

Good winter conditioning trail. Beautiful views. No snow or mud, even after all of the rain we received this week. The first two miles are single track and the rest is an old dirt service road. It is fairly exposed, which gives you great scenery to enjoy, but would be pretty brutal on a hot day. Nice if you are looking for solitude. I was out there for 8 hours. I didn't see any other hikers. Just two vehicles and 3 motorcycles. It was a rewarding hike, the tower has nice picnic facilities.

I really liked this trail, less people than the trail in San Carlos!

Hiked this trail on Sunday, Jan. 6, at midday. The weather was perfect: about 55 degrees and sunny, no jacket required. This is a great trail. It’s very pet-friendly but dogs must be on a leash. We took the less crowded route that starts in a residential area and it was amazing. The trail, while very rocky in many areas, is very well maintained. Make sure your paying attention to what’s coming up so you don’t trip. There are some steep parts that make not a good first hike, but it is doable by anyone who’s hiked steeper, longer trails. It took an hour to get to the top with stops along the way for photos. I’d do this trail again.

I underestimated how cold it was going to be. I would bring crampons if you have them.

hiking
10 days ago

We did this before sunset & it was really enjoyable from the top. It definitely can be busy, especially during the weekends, but it’s do-able. It was pretty easy. The incline wasn’t bad at all. Just watch footing for slippery rocks.

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike, beautiful views on the way up and down. Get ready for some steep up and downs the whole way. Took 5 hours round trip, 2:45 up, 2:15 down. 2 liters of water was plenty. Would be brutal during summer, highly recommend during winter months. Peak has nice rocks to have lunch at.

Perfect weather for a hike today! Glad we did it probably won’t do it again. It was on our list and happy we can cross it off. We clocked “round trip” 15 miles from parking lot to summit. Highly recommend bringing your hiking poles, softened the highs and lows of the trial. Went on forever! It was a nice hike and we had optimal weather beautiful cloud coverage with a cool breeze. Nice view, in my opinion not that great of a reward for the work you put into it. Now that was a HIKE! My toes are killing me! Glad I did it... NEXT!

hiking
13 days ago

This trail is definitely no joke. I completed it yesterday by myself. You definitely want 3 or more liters of water and plenty of snacks, drink water before you arrive not coffee like me.. My phone tracked 12.7 miles in and out(I explored a bit at the top adding about .5 miles) it’s not the distance that was difficult for me, but rather the ups and downs on the way back my knees weren’t conditioned for as I haven’t hiked since about 6 months ago up At Yosemite. I completed it in jeans and tennis shoes and small back pack starting with a sweatshirt. A few areas on the way down I was wondering how some hiking boots would have helped soften the blow.

I arrived at 7:30 am and luckily they were opening the parking lot because the sign says 8am to 5pm. It was in the 70s during most of the hike, perfect weather. I can’t imagine doing this hike in the summer, you couldn’t bring enough water. I got back to my vehicle at about 1:10pm after spending maybe a half hour or so at the summit. On the way down I had to stop several times as my knees were cramping up. I didn’t experience any wild animals, just a few passing hikers on the way back down.

I highly recommend for the view and the challenge. Will be doing again in the future.

hiking
13 days ago

My first San Diego area hike. It was tough on my legs, but the views were fabulous. Folks on the trail were friendly. It wasn’t crowded, but we went on a Wednesday late morning. Puddles towards the top in the shade were frozen, but there was plenty of sunshine most of the hike.

I’m nearly 65 years old and did this hike at a slow and steady pace with poles. Definitely doable if you hike regularly on hills and have good strong legs. I didn’t find it too bad...I was surprised. If you’re not use to hiking steep hills over long distances this hike will kick your butt at any age. The view at the top is the best...well worth it.

Great easy hike! Well maintained trails. Popular hike for area - lots of people.

Less crowded than the main train, beautiful views.

This is my favorite hike to take family and friends from out of town. It’s a nice quick 3 miles and not extremely difficult plus there is a lot less traffic than the main trailhead side.

hiking
17 days ago

Great trail to prepare yourself for some of the more difficult hikes throughout the east county.

NIce, will marked trail to the Forest Service Lookout Tower. A lot of this trail is service road (approx. 4-5 miles). On our visit 1/5/19, there was a lot of snow for about the last 4 miles. I was the only hiker not using poles or spikes. If you are comfortable on snow and know how to avoid ice, you don't need either, It snowed on us on the way down and was VERY cold at the top (36° not accounting for wind chill).

Great view and awesome hiking. We had some snow what made our hiking even better. Be prepared with gloves, beanie and a warm jacket because it was very windy and cold.

but it's hard when you go up the hills and it gives you a leg work out and makes it a muscle

it was so fun we are good hikers cause of hiking

Going up was challenging but still OK. The 7 mile trip from the summit to the parking, man that was hard. Other than that it’s pretty much doable if you have experience trekking. Be safe out there!

It’s is one of best hikes. It has beautiful views and an awesome accomplishment!! It is very hard and I suggest you train yourself well before taking this challenge!!

A bit uneven with it's trail in some parts but a good leg workout you'll definitely be sore. Can get crowded but manageable.

One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. Temperatures were cool...48 at the bottom and about 34 with the wind chill at the top. Lots of snow at this time which makes for a magical, serene experience. Breathtaking views at the top. Uphill trek for approx 1.5 miles then some flat land. Five oak trail on the way back- slippery and muddy be careful. Poles would h w been helpful! Great for dogs and there is a local friendly mountain dog named Alice who went up the mountain with us. Don’t be alarmed and enjoy!!!

This is an extremely hard trail...not just hard. There’s more than a few steep inclines and declines. At times it seems like no end! The final ascent is pretty much rock climbing for half a mile. When we went today it was cold and windy especially at the top and my hands nearly froze even with gloves. It also got kinda warm in some spots due to the fact there’s almost no shade. Nice views along the way. Definitely glad I did it, but won’t be rushing to return any time soon. Not recommended unless you enjoy climbing for hours and are an experienced hiker/runner, given this is probably one of the hardest hikes in San Diego. I’m more experienced than most and it took about 4.5hrs for total of about 11.3 miles (not the stated 10.6) at a steady rate of hike and running at some of the declines.

a little more scenic than the traditional path

December 31, New Year’s Eve Hike to end the year! 7.7 miles of uphill and downhill with snow, mud, and rocky road. We didn’t get a chance to see the view on Cuyamaca Peak due to fog and windy weather, but it was definitely the toughest hiking trail when it is snowy and muddy!

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