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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Parking lot now closes at 7pm. I waited until after a nice rain which made the views spectacularly green. The DG was perfect for a good foot hold - no sliding especially going down those granite slopes. I brought 3L of water - drank most of it on this cool day which was perfect. I'm not an expert hiker...nor in fabulous shape, but I made it. It was a challenge both physically and mentally. I took many many breaks having to snack to keep me from shaking and feeling weak. Took me almost 7 hours. This was a "one and done" for me cuz this hike nearly brought me to tears! lol.

Great hike! The water is very cold, so don’t plan on swimming! Worth the trek!

Beeeeauuutiful. At the first juncture stay on the right then at the second one follow the tall brown arrow sign. The views at the top really hit your soul.

Gorgeous trail! We did this on a sunny day in March and it was perfect, plenty of traffic but not enough that it felt crowded

Beautiful hike through the old growth cedars along the creek, ending at a glacial lake with great waterfalls and thick plant life everywhere!

a long yet if your up for the 14 mile hike and XC skiing well worth it hike! amazing views from the start to finish! We thought we would be the only people up there, but there was about 6 other people behind us. make sure to start early, it took us about 12 hours, because of the road being closed 5 miles before the trail!!!

Nice, changing hike. I brought 3L of water and drank it all by the end, even on a nice, cool day, so be prepared with plenty of water for the tough assend to the top. The gates closes at 6pm so park outside the gate on the side of the highway if you might be cutting it close on time or you're car will get locked in for the night.

In my opinion, this hike should be rated as moderate. I did it during the rain with no problem. The views are awesome.

Long hike uphill, followed by moderately difficulty descent. Pretty spectacular views from the top, would highly recommend. As with other commenters, first two miles is a rough climb (but manageable) and will drain you if you aren’t prepared.

12 days ago

Nice short hike with 2 cool bridges to cross. Water is crystal clear.

Soo hard, is very long trail with a lot of mini mountans, but is work it, i lovet

Easy, but boring for me minus the suspension bridge

Definitely the most beautiful and challenging hike in San Diego! It took me about 2:45 to make it to the summit with only a couple of short breaks and then about the same amount of time for the way back. With a long break at the top, the whole hike took about 6 hours! I recommend wearing hiking shoes and bringing at least 3 liters of water and a snack for the summit. Leave your dog at home!! Any hikers looking to test their endurance or just want to experience some beautiful views, this is the hike for you. Go now while it’s still cool outside and everything is turning green. Gates are currently locked at 6pm.

17 days ago

This is a great hike. I'm 57years old and normally lift weights so this was a different work out for me. It was my second hike in thirty years. My first being Rock house trail two days before.

This was fun but hard. Took me eight hours. I took lots of photos and videos and when I went up hill i had to treat it like a leg work out. Did a few steps till I got tired and stopped. Then did the same over and over.
By stopping a lot, I got to see the beauty of the hike and took some awesome shots. It rained a lot which was beautiful and there was mist steaming off the hill sides.

Like many say, bring good boots if you're not use to this type of hiking. But there was an elderly couple in their fifties running up the mountain but they ran to the El Capitan side. Two other hikers were back packing 40 lbs worth of weights.

The hike is harder in the mind than on your body. It just keeps going and going. If you are patient and don't push yourself to the edge of your limit but stay with in your limits, you'll make it just fine. I have no cardio but I stayed within my self and it was an amazing hiking experience. Just follow all the advice from the seasoned hikers and enjoy the beauty.

Oh and it took me eight hours. I may look like a bear, but I hike like a tortoise.lol

Tried to do an overnight trip here, but the rain and wind sent us packing to the car and down to Alpine for some burgers and beer. My fellow hikers and I didn't bring enough cold weather gear and trying to stay warm in wet jeans wasn't working out for them. The trail wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Its pretty well defined about 70% of the time, so you need to stay focused. The Manzanitas that line the trail throughout the hike are cool, some were completely covered in the bright red bark. When the fog did clear the views were exceptional. We were able to snap a few pics and then the fog and rain came back with a vengeance. There's a good spot off the trail to set up camp about 3/4 of a mile from the peak, there is also appears a good spot further down at the Los Pinos trail junction. Will definitely be coming back when the weather clears up for another try at an overnighter.

this one is fairly easy,pretty but also very beautiful to see all the green and the water, fresh water at that. I've taken my granddaughter up there she's 6 months old it was just beautiful and didn't take very long

The trail was beautiful and worth hard work. I made it to the peak in under 3 hours and played on the summit for another hour. I was exhausted heading down and I definitely needed more breaks, and it took me well over 3 hours to return to my car. I drank less than two liters of water but it was quite cold so I didn’t need to compensate for the extra heat. Make sure your shoes have good traction as the trail can easily give out on some areas.

Beautiful sights. There are a few trails that seemingly intersect, so starting on one may wind up on another.

They should rate this easy hard easy hard. It's challenging in that your heart rate will not go down (good thing). For every decline you do an incline is waiting for you.... this means on the way back as well. I can't imagine this trail in the summer, it is very exposed. Be safe have fun, happy trailing!

This hike is no joke! So many hills hills hills! Very challenging hike! So worth it! I’m gonna be sore tomorrow. So glad I️ read reviews about taking lots of water!! Started around 6:45am 39 degrees but than warmed up to the 70s. Took 2 liters of water plus 3x16oz containers and only had one left!

Easy-hard-moderate-hard. This trail will kick your butt with its steep ups and downs, and it's all worth it.

Great hike. Rated appropriately in this app. Good hike even for senior hikers. 360 Panoramic view at the top. Not to crowded in Feb. and breeze was nice in places during the hike.

Awesome incline! First couple of miles the most challenging. Great views at the lookout tower. Took us around 7 hours round trip with a lunch break and coffee at the top!

29 days ago

Amazing hike! We hiked this in September 2017, the trail is easy to follow and offers spectacular views the entire time. It passes through dense forest and open valleys, waterfalls and great views of the glaciers. We started early in the day and only saw 2 other hikers. Bring lots of water and a sandwich and snacks. Carry bear spray. The trail passes through prime grizzly habitat, so make lots of noise. The views of Iceberg Lake are amazing and there is another lake right before Iceberg Lake that is stunning as well.

First of all, it was great. So many vista points, every ten minutes there was a very welcoming boulder to sit on top and enjoy the views below.
It took us 6 hours total. About 3.5 hours up, chill at the summit, and about 2 hours down.
The day was sunny and clear, about 80 degrees. We drank about 1.5 liters each, although we had a lot more.
I wish we had trekking poles, that would make the descent faster and easier (contrary to the reviews I found out that the way back is more of a descent, like 2/3 of it.) I also wish we had eaten well before driving out, since that took us time - we found ourselves out of fuel, so to speak, while we still had 2-3 miles to walk.
The last part, from the junction before the trails to the summits, was the most difficult part. I got an adrenaline rush from seeing the summit "so close" and pushed hard, and the ascent is no piece of cake, you have to maneuver around the boulders and climb up using your arms for support with every push.
There were a couple of empty water bottles and candy wraps along the trail, which was ridiculous to me, have never seen that anywhere else.
The trail, however, is clearly marked and really well taken care of.
If you are into hiking as a process, this is a trail for you. If you are into hiking for the "epic views" and hate the constant ups and downs that are over 45 degree angle - you won't enjoy it that much, will be more of a grind.
Wear sunscreen and shoes with good traction. And bring a snack.
Oh, and absolutely no mountain biking after mile 3, don't know why the trail is marked as such.

1 month ago

This trail was a good time. Overall there are so many different paths that you can take which is nice. This will allow you to make the hike as long and challenging as you would like. We ended up going about 11 miles and started the hike around 7am. We really enjoyed being there early and seeing the "earth wake up", with lots of spiderwebs covered in dew, fog over the lake, and much more. Make sure to watch out for mountain bikers, they are all over the place, and you cannot always hear them coming around the corner.

Well maintained easy to follow trail

Bring water at LEAST 3 liters we needed it
My legs/knees were killing me on the way down so if you have trekking poles could be very useful

Took us about 6 hours round trip and we started at 8:30am with small breaks on the way up and down

Saw a lot of travelers and trail runners!
Highly recommend a lot of fun just VERY steep and the the stretch before the summit is a lot of rocks and climbing so make sure you strap your water bottle in your pack tight!
I recommend bringing a hat and sunglasses and definitely some sunscreen
I would say it the hardest part is the very steep climb about 1/3 in..save your energy going back is no cake walk

Had to maneuver the washout area (will get your feet wet). Came upon a herd of elk walking up the road to the trailhead. North side of loop was closed due to a bridge washout. No warning signs at trailhead.

1 month ago

Second time up this bad boy. one of my favorites because of the challenge. it's like Mount Gower on steroids in that there's lots of ups and downs with scrambling at the very end.

Got there at 6:32 a.m. I parked along the road. There will be plenty of other cars doing the same before 8 am.

Took me 2:06 to summit from the car, 1:47 from the official trailhead (the marker that starts at mile 1). Came back down in 1:35 (summit to trailhead) and 1:58 (summit to car). I run and hike regularly and only stopped to drink water 5 times.

I think of this hike as two separate hikes. This trail ascends and descends (although from the bigger picture, it's generally ascending), but you won't really feel that way as you're on this hike. keep in mind that when you're going down, you'll be going up on the way back to your car.

As such, here's my advice:

- 3 liters of water. better to have too much than not enough

- don't hike this one if it's supposed to be a hot day. there's very little shade and the mountain heats up quickly.

- start early. the lower the sun, the better it will be for you. take sunglasses either way because much of the journey will have you facing East and the sun will be in your face for a good portion of the hike to the summit

- wear shoes with traction. there's a lot of steep washed out/ sandy/ rocky terrain. the more grip your shoes have, the better.

- don't use all your energy on the way up to the summit. eat and rehydrate! remember, coming back is just as tough as getting there. make sure you save enough water for the trip back.

Best trail so far. The views are amazing. Don’t forget to pick a permit up for parking. The pine valley store is couple of exist before you get off the freeway. First mile is boring but, after that, it’s gorgeous. Highly recommended

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