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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 trail was awesome!! Nice view almost all around, no shade however is worthy

I hiked this trail both on Friday at noon and Saturday evening. Awesome hike up and awe-inspiring run down. My quads are on fire!!! Go early to avoid summer heat but doable (take enough water). Evening hike was the best. Approx 2-3hrs round trip. Weekday hike and evening no wait to take picture on edge aka Potato Chip Rock. Great trail will do again and again and again!!!

mountain biking
14 days ago

There is nothing like in the pictures No obstacles at all

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.

I've done this trail at least a dozen times, mainly due to it passing through BLM territory where some friends and I do some routine target shooting. There's a lot more areas that are now gated/fenced off that weren't a year or two ago but even with the off-limit areas, there's plenty to explore.

First and foremost, you don't need a special rig to get through this trail. I've completed the main trail in a RWD Nissan Xterra, FWD Lexus NX200, AWD Ford Escape, AWD Subaru Outback, 4WD 2017 Ford Expedition, 4WD 2018 F150 Raptor. All stock, no issues. With that said, there are tons of side trails, many of which are deserving of the "hard" label, some of which I've only been able to complete in the Raptor and others that I haven't even attempted because they're too tight for my truck. If you stick to the main trail, anything with half way decent ground clearance will do just fine.

With that said, the roads in many areas are quite narrow with a near vertical drop to what would likely be your death if you aren't paying attention. Traffic flows in both directions and there's only room for 1 vehicle at a time. There are several areas along the trail where you can pull to the side to let another vehicle pass. Make a mental note anytime you pass one because you never know when you'll encounter an oncoming vehicle that may require you to reverse your vehicle back to that spot so you can safely pass each other.

If you're going on a Saturday or Sunday, traffic is light but not what I would call "remote" you'll almost certainly encounter other off-roaders at some point along the trail and possibly a Border Patrol vehicle or two. If they come up behind you just pull over to the side as soon as it's safe for you to do so and let them pass. They know the roads well and drive vehicles that aren't theirs so they typically like to haul ass.

Bring water and some protein bars. The main trail will take about an hour to complete but you can easily be up there all day if you stop to take photos or decide to explore some of the side trails. Most of the side trails will lead to a dead end or link back up with the main trail. Some side trails aren't really side trails but another main trail. If you make a wrong turn you can find yourself heading way down south all the way to the 905 just a few city blocks away from the border. I like to bring my drone with me for the times I want to explore a side trail I haven't been on before. I take the drone up to get a good look at the trail difficulty and see where it goes before committing myself and my vehicle to it.

One last thing... If you enter from Otay Lakes Rd (aka Pio Pico) and exist from Marron Valley Rd and then head north on Campo Rd, you will have to go past a Border Patrol check point. The line is usually pretty short. I've rarely waited longer than 5 minutes, but something to consider. There is no stopping necessary if you're going South on Campo Rd, so some people may opt do the trail in reverse by entering through Marron Valley Rd and exiting Pio Pico.

hiking
23 days 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.

We started early in the morning at 7:00 am. We had to park on the street. There wasn’t any restrooms or trash cans. The hike was very pretty at 7:00 am. The sun wasn’t out very much. The hike was mostly uphill all the way to potato chip rock. On the way there are huge rocks and lots of stunning views. We saw bunnies, lizards, a scorpion, an eagle, and even a baby rattle snake. This early on a weekday we didn’t have to wait in a line to get to climb potato chip rock. Bring lots of water, snacks, and definitely a hat. The sun started to come up toward the end of our hike. We saw lots of kids on the trail, and some people had dogs too. The views and rocks are worth it!!

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.

Nice cardio workout, beautiful views. I would have rated it 5 stars of it wasn't paved.

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...

Awesome trail, you definitely get your moneys worth on this steady steady climb. Awesome views at the top

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.

I’ve been hiking this mountain for nearly 30 years. It is quite the strenuous trail in parts but take your time and enjoy nature at its best! Be sure to bring sunscreen and water. It will be be very hot after 7am in summertime. It’s one of the most beautiful places in earth!!

Wow, this hike was tough! Very fun and challenging. We are still talking about it a year and a half later.

The treck up is very challenging and completely rewarding when Complete

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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

Nice cactus garden at the entrance...and plenty of cacti along the trail! I love cactus, so that's a big reason why I gave this trail four stars. Instead of the loop, Patty and took the path up to the park on the other side. It was a steep hill! All in all, a fun little hike.

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
1 month 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.

Had a glorious 5.5 hr. Jeep trek from Pio Pico to Campo Rd. (94), well almost. The gate at 94 was locked and only through satellite photos did I find a route out, apparently through private property. As I was exiting onto 94 a CPG agent stopped me to advise that he was coming to open the gate and that I was indeed on private property. I assure him my intention was not to trespass as during the 5.5 hours I saw at least 5 agents a various stages, did not encounter any locked gates, and did not drive past or ignore any advisory signage indicating off limit areas. This is the first time I have done this route and planned it based on the route indicated from AllTrails. He indicated that the gates I passed through should be locked or closed as various parts of the trails pass through private lands etc., or are not supposed to be travelled on by the public. He was frustrated, not with me, but the fact I had such easy access. I wish there was some sort of official advisory and clearly noted routes that off-road enthusiasts could adhere to. Most of us do not want to trespass on private land and want to use the resource respectfully. My next trek, I will stop and ask each agent I encounter if I can be on that stretch of road and indicate where I am going. I will ask their name and give them mine so they can radio ahead that traffic is approaching, What else can we do, Im sure they don't want to play tour guide, but we just want to be able to get in and out without concern about being locked in or out of entries or exits. The agent did indicate I could have been accidently locked in at some point along the way....good thing I carry basic camping gear, food and water. This trail can be difficult at times and I do not recommend 2 wheel vehicles with insufficient clearance, as at times, it is not a Sunday drive in the best of conditions.

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.

mountain biking
2 months ago

5 stars for what this trail is. It is NOT a hike! I use it to get from one trail to another, but I would never still to this trail alone. If you are going to bike it there is a trail that runs parallel to the south that is noted on the map. That's a fun short ride.

mountain biking
2 months ago

Great starter trail for Mountain Biking.

this Trail was nice for an early morning. it would definitely be hot later in the day there's no shade period after you make it to the top where the American flag is, if you keep on going for another mile or so you hit a beautiful River with lots of trees. the rattlesnakes are out watch your step.

Strenuous hike, very hot! I brought 3L of water and ran out with 3 miles left back to the trailhead. Fortunately 2 guys better prepared hooked me up with another liter. One rattlesnake crossing the trail. Go early, I didn’t start until 8am. Water, water, water!!!

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