Explore SD Peaks - 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! Very hard try and go super early because it gets hot. One of the things I Noticed is that couple times I saw glass by where the parking is. The last time I was there they broke my rear window just to steal my backpack with nothing of value.
Shady people , just be careful

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.

not for beginners

hard, but worth it

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

Very beautiful hike!

Was able to hike this in 3 hours including lots of rest breaks. I am not an experienced hiker and very sensitive to the heat. Really good challenge and cool to see the caves. Lots of dog and coyote scat on the trail.

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!

hiking
1 month ago

Good trail and easy to follow. Bring plenty of water and use sunscreen during the summer. Had my 4 kids with me (10 and under) and they were able to get to the top. It was definitely hot with minimal coverage, I’d like to do it again once it’s cooled down a bit. The views were worth the climb. The distance is a little off, it says it is 4.6 miles but we went 5.41 miles total.

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.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

The trailhead can be easily missed from the road. If you look for mile marker 2.5 you’ll find the trailhead. It’s blocked off with chains but you can walk around to access the trail. It’s an incline all the way to the top. There’s a lot of rocks and chasms from the rain. I would definitely do this one again just for the workout you get going up.

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.

Typical SoCal hike. Good workout and accurate distance. There are a few nice lookout points but for the most part it is an uncovered grind to the peak. We went in the early afternoon on a sunny day in June and it was HOT. No tree coverage but based on other reviews did not expect any. A solid hike and close to San Diego which is a plus.

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...

What can I say, this is a fun hike! The caves are so cool to see and u don't even think about the difficulty of the trail because of all there is to see! Beautiful views from the peak as well!

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.

Fun but harder hike, took kids and dogs and they were good!

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.

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.

Did this with 30lbs on a 90 degree day, and I must say, this was a fairly challenging hike. There are a lot of steep inclines and declines, and very little shade to regulate your body temperature. I was fortunate to have hiked in with extra water, as I used 20% of it to cool myself down.

As challenging as this hike was for me, I found it be rewarding, and it provided me with a sense of accomplishment. If you’re preparing for a backpacking trip, this will certainly help boost your endurance. You also get a lot of epic views of the surrounding areas, but as far as vegetation goes, it’s a bit bleak.

As far as wild life is concerned, I saw a few condors, hawks and ravens. Oh! ... and beware of rattlesnakes! I saw two on this trial, and one California king. There is also a plethora of lizards scurrying around.

hiking
3 months ago

it's quite the lower body burn for the first mile or so and then again, intermittently on the path. there are a few splits in the road that are not marked but you can figure it out relatively easily as the alternate "paths" don't really lead anywhere. you pass some huge homes, compounds really, so you don't really feel like it's a hike until you are near the top and the homes are in the distance. not as "scenic" as I'd hoped from prior reviews but after doing Corte Madeira in Cleveland National Forrest, there's not much that I would be wowed by. there are a lot of loose rocks so stick to the surfaces that look most traveled as they are the most secure. took us 2 hours because the first 20-30 minutes is super challenging. use this as a workout and you will love it. using it as a scenic experience, not really. we saw a total of 5 people so it's perfect for going at whatever pace you want.

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