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We did an early morning hike and reached the peak before sunrise...which was spectacular!

Trailhead- don't forget to display your Adventure Pass for $5 or buy an annual pass at Big 5 for $30 and add a 2nd car pass for $5 and split the cost with a friend for only $17.50 if you hike a lot like me this is the best decision; the Bear Canyon Trailhead is located to the right of the candy store

Trail- it was in surprisingly good shape even with all the recent rains and it is pretty wide and well marked until the last half of a mile to the peak; there are times when the trail has a connecting trail and you just want to opt to the right each time...this happens at 1.0 miles in, again at the 2 mile mark, and then at about 3.2 miles you get to a spot that I think is called "4 Corners" and you take a sharp right to leave the Bear Canyon trail to use the Sitton Peak Trail; the trail for the most part is moderately steep at times with some breaks of flat areas or decline and only gets hard once you have done 4.5 miles where you will need to take a narrow trail that will be on your right and this part is pretty steep at times where you will be using your arms to balance and support yourself and this part is difficult for about .4 miles until you reach the peak...just take this part slowly and you will be rewarded at the peak

Peak- you will be rewarded with beautiful views to the west and east especially...we arrived shortly after 6 am since we started a little after 4am! It was a spectacular sunrise and we probably spent close to 45 mins at the top eating, drinking mimosas (we fancy hikers), and taking an abundance of pictures; there is a sign at the top with the name/elevation

Details/Recommendations: my recording calculated it as 4.9 to the peak and 9.8 miles RT; it took us a little over 2 hrs to the top and about 1 hr 45 mins down with us spending about 45-60 mins at the top so I would say give yourself around 5 hrs give or take an hour to complete this; hiking poles might be helpful for the difficult half mile near the peak but can be done without; of course have hiking shoes, some water (1-2L), and some snacks, this hike is moderately difficult and anyone who hikes somewhat regularly or exercises a bit will be able to do this...because of the nearly 10 miles total young children might get fatigued

Well here’s one that separates the wolves from the sheep! Been wanting to do this one for a loooong time, just waiting for the right day. Nice cool temps and overcast skies really took the edge off, and after the recent rains there was no haze and stunning visibility in all directions. I could see a snow capped San Jacinto and San Gorgonio to the north. Totally amazing.

It’s as difficult as everyone says, and it really brutalizes you on the way back. But I’d say anyone could easily do this hike with a little bit of conditioning, rugged footwear, and good timing. The real difficulty level of this trek is predicated on the weather/temperature. I would definitely not mess with this one mid July.

Took me 4.5 hours, managed to get by with 2 liters of agua, though I brought 3. Took a 30 minute break on the summit to get baked and enjoy the panorama. Don’t be afraid of this hike, go do it!

Challenging, but totally manageable. Bring lots of water. I found it to be a quiet and peaceful trail, saw few others, which I love. Great views, worth the effort.

I found the ‘descent’ to be challenging in the 4-3.5 mile return section. Definitely a tough climb but wonderful views and my favorite in the SD area so far.

Nice hike, pretty easy/wide trail much of the way. Suggest taking the side Five Oaks trail for the best views and less people (even though a bit harder and narrower).

trail running
9 days ago

Great Hike, challenging Run. I’ve been to the top 3 times, this past weekend I opted to go straight at the 3 way intersection at the upper saddle. This brings you to an amazing lookout atop the face. Much more dramatic than the summit. Trail is washed out and difficult to stay on but there is the occasional rock cairn to show the way.

Great views from the summit. The hike is relatively easy, rather than as rated to be hard. The 1/10th mile section to the top is steep - and slippery when muddy. Take your time and pick your path carefully. Trekking poles are a great benefit for ascents and descents. Note that that section would be much more challenging, IMO, if you are hiking with small children or small dogs. If you have to carry either in your arms, and navigate the ascent/descent, then the risk of losing one's footing would increase significantly.

Great hike! Gets steep between miles 2-4. It can be considered a difficult hike. Bring lots of water! The summit is to the left of the sign and the trail is marked from the sign to the summit. Much harder on the way there than on the way back. Took 4hrs20mins at a moderate pace.

Stunning views on a beautiful fall day. Main trail is very family and dog friendly. A little blustery at the top but didn’t take away from it all.

hiking
11 days ago

This hike is everything it’s said to be and more. This is cardio workout to say the least. Started at 630a and completed the hike by noon. Took a 1 hour much needed break. I easily drank 3 liters of water and it was cold for most of the hike. I saw a few folks starting late...I wouldn’t advise starting the hike after 10am. Enjoy the hike

Such a beautiful hike all the way to lookout tower. enjoyed the hike up but decent was very hard on my knees even using my poles. Will do it again

The hike to the saddle completes most of the elevation gain. From there to Peak is flat or gradual gain. Really pretty hike. Lots and lots and lots of dogs on trail. If you get there by 7am or earlier you pretty much have the trail to top by yourself. Coming down in late morning or early afternoon and you will pass excessive amounts of people. Bathrooms at trailhead and all trails well marked. I started hike at 7am and was the only one on top. Did see 4 people coming back down. All but one spent the night camping.

Gorgeous hike! Stop at ranger station in town for parking permit and trail pass. Learned that hard way. Wilderness up there is just gorgeous! Saw one black rattle snake on trail near top.

I did this hike expecting great views and beautiful trail (palomar mountain it’s beautiful) but it’s not. 2 first mi are steep and somewhat pretty- after that it’s a service road with nothing to enjoy. The views at the top are Ok- but for me not enough. Good exercise little enjoyment

If you are looking for a challenging hike or if you are training for something strenuous, this is the hike for you! This trail doesn't relent until about the last mile before getting back to the parking lot. It is either up or down and quite steep in some areas. I highly recommend using hiking poles for this trek as I found them to be really helpful on the sections that were steep and / or slippery. Also recommend bringing electrolyte packets along with a lot of water. I felt quite satisfied to complete this one!

hiking
20 days ago

Really nice trail, especially the five oaks trail section. A lot people and unfortunately dog poop.

hiking
27 days 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

This was the second time I've done this trail and it's great. I wouldnt say it's extremely difficult like some others. If you're even remotely in decent shape, it's moderate to hard. I will admit there's the last bit before the peak that goes straight uphill and kicks your ass....You know when you're a teenager and that one kid goes "I'm gonna take the shortcut" and runs straight up hill. That's what that part feels like. Not long but right when you scream out "when will this end?!" you're at the peak. The view is amazing and if you get a clear enough day you can see straight to Malibu. Of course the fires are currently happening so visibility wasn't the best but Long Beach was still visible.

The rest of the hike is definitely moderate, just a little long. My recording has gotten 9.6 miles both times I've done this hike. Bring lots of water, a lunch for the top and sign the trail log. The candy store at the bottom is a great spot to pick up an adventure pass or last minute things, $10 minimum if you're using a card.

Last thing is to make sure you know which way at each junction. There's several four or five way junctions and the last little trail off to the peak could be easy to miss. I took screenshots of another hikers play by play directions.

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!!

Great views and great workout both ways

hiking
1 month 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.

A hard trail. I went in from the Tenaja trailhead,through Fisherman's camp, up Bluewater Pass to Oak Flats and then onto the truck trail to the peak. This route is tough, lots of brush bashing and Bluewater Pass is steep. Oak flats is gorgeous and this route is rarely traveled. I would not recommend this route to anyone but a seasoned hiker that does not mind brush bashing, hard to follow trails, and poison oak. It's a long day in and out. If you can get past those things it's a great hike, planning to do this one again in November 2018.

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!

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.

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

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