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hiking
2 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.

Bridge, tunnels, and abandoned train cars are really, really cool. The rest of the hike becomes really, really boring! It's 14+ miles of COMPLETELY flat walking. The only elevation gain was climbing 2 small hills because 2 tunnels are blocked. So don't expect any cardio.

The nudist colony is also pretty interesting. Well-kept, welcoming community with funny signage. There's a buzzer at the gate, you drive to the office (follow signs), talk to the nice receptionist and pay $5/person (cash or card), and go back to the gate to park and start your walk. You'll hit the train tracks after 1 minute. Take a right (North) and follow the tracks the entire way to the trestle bridge (7 miles). There are abandoned cars less than 1 mile into the hike, then you'll have some fun walking through some tunnels of varying lengths.... and then the boredom of monotonous walking will start creeping. And obviously it gets worse on the walk back. The tunnels are your only reprieve from endless flat walking.

In hindsight, mountain bikes would've been PERFECT!

We didn't encounter any security (Saturday in mid-Jan 2019). It took us 7 hours out & back. That's a fast walking pace plus adequate time to stop and explore the cars, tunnels, and bridge.

There are 2 tunnels that are blocked off. The 1st you'll scramble over a small hill. We went just to the left (West) of the tracks and came down just to the East of the tracks. Pretty easy, but allow space between people in case you kick a rock down the hill. The 2nd tunnel you'll follow an obvious walking path around the hill. It's a long wraparound to the left (West) of the track. Careful of cacti.

All of the structures are in good condition. Most of the bridges you cross have metal grating for walking. But watch your step! If you're not paying attention, there are gaps and some trip hazards. ... and there are caved-in tunnels that you'll see next to the current track route. They are cool, but be careful because if they caved in once....

Note there is zero water and zero shade at high-noon except the tunnels and cars. However in the winter, the morning sun was behind hills the the southeast for much of the hike. Most of the hike is along the western side of the hills.

Enjoy! Too bad it's not a 5-mile round trip hike. Because the unique sights are awesome, but they're too few & far between. If you have mountain bikes, I HIGHLY recommend going that route instead.

This trail was nice with a mix of long flat stretches, and sweat worthy climbs to get to the top. I appreciated that it was pretty deserted, we only came across a couple people, so it was easy to enjoy the quiet of nature.

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!

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.

A nice hike. The fine loose gravel made traction difficult at times, but it was not strenuous (I’m not in great shape, either). Gradual climbs and lots of flat trail areas. We were the only people out there except two people on horses.

hiking
6 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.

hiking
9 days ago

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

it was awesome but a little busy and lots of bike riders

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!

Beautiful. My fiancee and i hiked this today. Full of snow

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.

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.

It is an incredible experience. Well worth it. I have mixed feelings about posting this info but think I should. I did have an experience with a large cat growling and hissing at me very close to the trail. I saw him through the brush. Obviously, I plan to not hike alone again as this is my 4th encounter with a cougar. Each time is think “ what are the odds?? “The previous hiker to pass that spot had a small dog so am wondering if the cougar caught the scent and came close to the trail which I think is rare. Otherwise, it is in my top ten.. and I have hiked in the spectacular Khumbu in Nepal. Love this hike.

Great views at the top. Fairly easy hike until the last half mile or so, which gets a bit rocky. We went early (before 7), but there were still a lot of people on the trail. Getting crowded as we were coming down.

hiking
17 days ago

BUSY

Love this place!!!

hiking
19 days ago

Good hike! Very rocky, normal sneakers will do, but suggest getting some real hiking shoes. Scenic view at the top with picnic tables, bring some food for the full experience.

Great trail! Had my 20 month old on my back the whole time and it was great! Definitely could see how the heat would be too much in the summer, but I went in December so it wasn't too bad.

hiking
24 days ago

It’s a nice trail with a mixture of flat and wide with some climbing and some rocks that create a challenge going downhill.

We did this hike on 12/20 and there was a bit of snow/ice on the trail, but not on the majority and not slippery. Very few people on the trail this time of year. It's beautiful along the whole way.

hiking
25 days ago

This is a little bit of a challenge for most but the view is worth it. A little over 6 miles round-trip with an awesome 360 view. This is a well maintained trail but can be warm in the summer months. Bring water and avoid bringing your dog until cooler weather.

Awesome views along a well maintained and varied trail. Falls were better than expected

Great hike. Definitely one of the best in SD. Strenuous but absolutely doable. Did not come across any slippery or risky parts. Bring enough water.

Really pretty, but too desolate for a single female hiker. There was only one car in the parking lot when I reached the location. I’ve been on lots of hikes, almost all alone, but this one was rather eerie. I’ve been to 3rd world countries all around Central America and walked alone with no issue. I decided it was best to turn back after one mile, which I’ve never done before. I rather be smart than be a statistic, or worse. I will try this one again when I’m with another hiker. The land permit warning is old. If you look it up, it’s waived now, but the big sign that states otherwise, makes a statement. There was a 3rd car in the lot when I returned. A guy that was just idling for some reason. I got turned around on my way back and a truck was in the field, doing something strange in front. Okay, this place had me spooked. I’m not sure what all the fur along the trail was all about either.

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