Explore To Do - 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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Awesome! Perfect weather. A little peoplie but great trip.

hiking
7 hours ago

The trail is wide and well maintained, would be a good one to bring the pups. Nice views at the top of the summit

Such a sweet hike with some breath taking views right in our back yard... you get to feel disconnected from everything as if you were in Julian. That last part to get to the top gets a little tricky since it’s covered in bushes and the trail markers don’t start until you get to the rock of the summit.... the old mines and Jeep are some super cool things to check out to keep your mind distracted on your way up! I usually don’t take water but thought I should for this one and even then was really thirsty at the end after downing two liters... stay hydrated and enjoy the views!!

I have been seeking this one trail through two other apps... This one directed me to where it begins. Easy to use.. More info...more detailed so my limited sundown closure trails are now my daylight pleasure trails...

Great views and great workout both ways

hiking
5 days ago

Saturday, 11/10/2018 completed The Warrior Challenge Hike supporting our Veterans Day 2018. Triumph at El Cajon Peak, signed the official Peak Log and located all 3 Geological Benchmarks. Tallied up 11.39 RT mileage and 3,936’ total elevation gains gains. 2nd time hiking the El Capitan Preserve and only made it El Capitan Peak back on 12/22/2013. 5-years later, 60-lbs lighter I now have sense of accomplishment being this is labeled the hardest hike in the entire San Diego County! So steep with numerous peaks and valleys to trek through I developed cramps again but all worth it at the end!

Great 10 mile hike!! I found this mountain to be very hard in the sense that is none stop up hill and down hill from beginning to end. It was a challenge!!! You definitely need plenty of water and snacks to replenish your energy.

Best bang for your one day hiking buck! Well marked informative mileage signs with elevation profiles. Only out and back trail in SD County that is up hill in both directions.

Beautiful hike with a moderate amount of steep sections

great hikers and viewers.

Great hike! Probably best to do in spring when every thing is green. Nice rolling hills! Not much shade

Beautiful hike with lots of ups and downs. There are a few steep spots that will get the lungs burning. Lots of great views along the way. Probably best in the spring because of wildflowers or after rain as there is a creek.

We took the rangers recm and followed the route she suggested. The trails took us thru various terrain. We were covered under the forest canopy of giant oak and cedar trees. We even came across a few deer and the greatest find was coming upon a fallen giant oak tree. It was at least 15 feet on its side above our heads.

we started at 7am, when the sun was nice and finished by 1pm, around 11am the sun killed us, we consumed much more water and stoped more often to rest. 2.5 - 3 liters of water was enough! :) start early, finish before the sun is up!! great hiking!

We did hell creek trail to horse thief loop, about 4 miles. Beautiful hike, steep downhill in, step uphill out. Clean well maintained trails.

A fun, quick hike in a nice forest with a few lovely viewpoints. We went in the later afternoon and it was perfect; lots of shade, no bugs, not too busy, and got back to the car in time to enjoy the sunset on the way down the mountain. The trail is well-maintained with a gentle but constant uphill grade, interspersed with steeper rollercoaster parts which makes it a little more interesting. We got to the top a little bit too late to enjoy the observatory, but that wasn't the reason we took the hike so it wasn't a big disappointment. All in all, a great little hike.

My girlfriends and I did this hike at 6am and we were back in the car by 11am. it was foggy when we reached the top so we couldn't enjoy the view. It was also freezing cold so we headed back down. It was a great work out for all of us and will definitely come back again.

Awsome hike. I posted a 36 min video on YouTube of the full hike. Do search "hellhole canyon preserve full hike 9.25" if you want to see what it is like.

Really great hike in Julian with beautiful fields. Also a great one for dog lovers!

hiking
26 days ago

My friend and I hiked this Saturday starting at 9:15am. It was during the October Santa Ana and now I know why I won't be hiking it in the summer months. It can get pretty hot.
We wanted to have a fun hiking distraction while hiking down so we created names for each of the steep sections that were challenging enough for worthy mention. Here are the names in descending order from the top...
1. Summit
2. Jalopy
3. Tater Tots
4. Feather Duster
5. Hey what?! WTF?!?!
6. Sarah's Song
7. Sugar, please
8. Eggsellent
9. Deadwood
10. Tardy to the Party
11. #11 (we didn't think of one)
12. Knee Break
13. Lifted Spirits
14. Beer, please

See if you can figure out why we named them!

A perfect hike that is a test of endurance rather than being a hard technical climb. The path is clear allowing for a hands free ascent. It took about 4.5 hours, if you time it right, the sunset over the coast is spectacular.

Beautiful in the fall. Great trek for a 5 year old as well.

This was a great trail: clearly marked, well-maintained, and provided a diversity of landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife.

East to get to, great views, and more shade than I had expected. However, there were a lot of flies and gnats flying into my face than I preferred. I've done this hike twice and the experience was the same both times.

It was beautiful! Weather was a cool 54 degrees. I saw 2 solo hikers the entire day. The trails were maintained and easy to follow.

This trail was literally the most beautiful thing ever! The weather was rainy and foggy when I went which made the adventure much more fun! We saw a deer. It was just lovely I literally need say no more. The trails are a little hard to find as the signs become distant so definitely take a map and activate the GPS on this app so you don’t get lost.

We hiked this trail on Sunday, 10/14 with 4-adults and 3-kids (ages 12-14). On the way to the trailhead, you will first reach the State Park gate where you will need to pay a $10 fee to enter the Park. There is a small building there with the ranger, and inside are some really nice stuffed examples of the local wildlife. The parking lot is very, very close, on your left. There is a bathroom building there with nice flush toilets and a picnic ground.

The hike starts down the paved road for about 300 yards, then enters the dirt trail. One thing I liked about the trail system is that it is mostly very well marked. If you are unsure where the trail transitions from the paved road to the dirt (it’s a funky 5 way intersection), then just check google maps street view, the street view shows it all, including down the trail, it’s pretty cool.

The trail goes thru some really nice oaks, and up a long hill, coming to a nice lookout at the Boucher Fire Lookout Tower. Be sure to ask any fire watch attendants for a tower tour. We did, and it was super cool for the adults, and the kids tolerated it just fine.

Back on the trail, and you’ll find a trail that is at this time very well maintained. They must have done a recent clean up and trimming all along it.

Warning, there is ALOT of poison oak in the area. None posed a problem along the trail at this time, but you need to be weary of it and educate any kids. Due to being fall, the poison oak was easy to spot, as it’s a beautiful red color.

Second warning, a tick tried to come home with us, but lost its life along the way, before it got to bury its head in my wife’s arm.

Wildlife: plenty of birds, saw lots of lady bugs in one meadow, and I mean lots... like a gazillion. Saw a group of 4 deer crossing the trail about 100 yards ahead, and In the last 1/2 mile or so, a small fox crossed the trail and posed upon a tree stump for us. It was super cool.

We liked the trail very, very much. I would have given it 5 stars, but downgraded it to 4 stars due to the poison oak and the hitchhiking tick. For a 3.4 mile trail, it gave a good workout with lots of beautiful scenery.

Great hiking, with amazing views.

Great hike, so beautiful, amazing scent of cedar and pine throughout.

Great walk. it took me 6 hours. if I deduct breaks, I may have walked 5.45 hours. be aware this is wilderness/preserve area. Mountain lions, bobcats, deer, coyotes, eagles, etc can be seeing.

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