Haven’t done the hike yet. Still have to make my wife’s coffee. She’s still in bed deciding when to get up. I’ll take other people’s opinions on the trail and make our own assessment after the hike. I reckon there’s no bathrooms on the trail. Asking cuz my bladder ain’t what it used to be. I’ll keep in touch.

This is my favorite local hike.

I did this day hike with my homie Rod a few weekends ago. The first half of the loop was beautiful hiking and some of the best I’ve done around San Diego. I suggest you wear long pants as the ticks were abundant and their bite very annoying. We reached the magee section of the trail around sunset and this was a very hard and seemingly untouched trail. After a long battle with the bushes, we reached the parking lot around 12 am. This is a long day hike (took us 15 hours) and I do not suggest the Magee trail unless you bring your machete and patience. All in all great hike, didn’t see a single person all day.

Good hike with good views. I was hoping to find more and see more at the top of the trail

Beautiful trail with barely any shade at the beginning. Lots of great views. I love how you go from desert to forest on this trail. At the end of the Dripping Springs trail, there are a couple openings to camp.

I like this trail better than the Wild Horse trail which is on the other side and connects via Palomer-Magee trail.

backpacking
13 days ago

I broke this up into 2 days. My route was Dripping Springs > Palomar-magee trail > (camp) > Cutca to Eagle Crag (didn't make it) > back down to Wild Horse. Here's my review:

First off, you'll need to email a form to the ranger to get a permit to backpack. I filled mine at night and got it back the next morning. Super easy and free.

I started off on the Dripping Springs trail which had absolutely amazing views and I'm happy I started with this trail. This trail barely has any shade. It's well kept, easy to follow and is a pretty good climb. At the end of this trail, there will be a sign for Palomar-magee trail. You can camp here since there are a couple open spots and head back, or if you dare, head to the Palomar-magee trail.

The Palomar-magee trail, like everybody says, is heavily overgrown - meaning, there's a million branches in your way along with fallen trees that you'll have to climb over or crawl under. If you do not have pants, or a long sleeve, then you'll get minor scratches. However, if you look down, you'll see the trail and won't get lost. There was one point where I questioned if it was the right trail, but looked to my right and saw the opening. I've heard of some people who turned around because they didn't want to deal with it. If you're up for the fight and want to do the whole loop, then this is the only way to do it.

At the end of the Palomar-magee trail, you'll find yourself at the junction that says Cutca trail, wild horse, and dripping springs (aka going back to palomar-magee). If you go up about 20 feet on the Cutca trail and look to the right for an opening, there are several GREAT camp spots, which I camped at and saw an amazing sunset.

The next day, I went up the Cutca trail, which was almost just as overgrown as the Palomar Magee but not AS bad. There will be times where you may need to take off your pack to hop over some fallen trees. As I got to the junction of Cutca Trail/Dripping springs/Indian Reserve, I had no idea where to go. Do not go down Cutca Trail, which HAS a blue/white ribbon, or you will descend and will further yourself from the loop. Then like me, you'll realize it's the wrong way and have to trek back uphill. Instead, I placed several pine cones, south west, where there is an opening but easily missed. Just look southwest on your compass and you'll see what I'm talking about. Now this trail is HEAVILY overgrown. I attempted to go down this trail, got pretty far and got to a junction where I had no idea where to go. There was a trail that was going north, which I believe would bring me away from Eagle Crag. There was another semi trail that looked like it was going up a VERY STEEP hill on my right.. It was extremely steep and I didn't want to deal with it, so I retraced my steps to head back out. I wish Cleveland National Forest would put some signs here, in addition to clearing the trails...

I got back to the Cutca/Dripping Springs/Wild horse junction where I camped, and started to take the white horse trail. This trail has a lot more shade than Dripping Springs, however, A LOT of flies in the "forest" that will attack your eyes and ears (super annoying). Be prepared for a crap ton of flies.. Once you make it past the forest and flies, you'll be fine. It's all descending, not as beautiful as Dripping Springs, but you definitely don't want to go back to Palomar Magee. There are some parts that are overgrown but nothing crazy like Palomar Magee.

All in all, Dripping Springs was beautiful and everything else was pretty overgrown, except for the start and mid section of Wild horse. Be prepared to fight a million branches and hopping over fallen trees if you're doing Palomar-Magee to connect the loop.

Tips: There isn't any water so bring a lot of water, the desert will dry out your mouth. If you plan on doing Magee, bring pants. I had pants and a tshirt but my forearms were getting scratched quite a bit.

backpacking
13 days ago

I broke this up into 2 days. My route was Dripping Springs > Palomar-magee trail > (camp) > Cutca to Eagle Crag (didn't make it) > back down to Wild Horse. Here's my review:

First off, you'll need to email a form to the ranger to get a permit to backpack. I filled mine at night and got it back the next morning. Super easy and free.

I started off on the Dripping Springs trail which had absolutely amazing views and I'm happy I started with this trail. This trail barely has any shade. It's well kept, easy to follow and is a pretty good climb. At the end of this trail, there will be a sign for Palomar-magee trail. You can camp here since there are a couple open spots and head back, or if you dare, head to the Palomar-magee trail.

The Palomar-magee trail, like everybody says, is heavily overgrown - meaning, there's a million branches in your way along with fallen trees that you'll have to climb over or crawl under. If you do not have pants, or a long sleeve, then you'll get minor scratches. However, if you look down, you'll see the trail and won't get lost. There was one point where I questioned if it was the right trail, but looked to my right and saw the opening. I've heard of some people who turned around because they didn't want to deal with it. If you're up for the fight and want to do the whole loop, then this is the only way to do it.

At the end of the Palomar-magee trail, you'll find yourself at the junction that says Cutca trail, wild horse, and dripping springs (aka going back to palomar-magee). If you go up about 20 feet on the Cutca trail and look to the right for an opening, there are several GREAT camp spots, which I camped at and saw an amazing sunset.

The next day, I went up the Cutca trail, which was almost just as overgrown as the Palomar Magee but not AS bad. There will be times where you may need to take off your pack to hop over some fallen trees. As I got to the junction of Cutca Trail/Dripping springs/Indian Reserve, I had no idea where to go. Do not go down Cutca Trail, which HAS a blue/white ribbon, or you will descend and will further yourself from the loop. Then like me, you'll realize it's the wrong way and have to trek back uphill. Instead, I placed several pine cones, south west, where there is an opening but easily missed. Just look southwest on your compass and you'll see what I'm talking about. Now this trail is HEAVILY overgrown. I attempted to go down this trail, got pretty far and got to a junction where I had no idea where to go. There was a trail that was going north, which I believe would bring me away from Eagle Crag. There was another semi trail that looked like it was going up a VERY STEEP hill on my right.. It was extremely steep and I didn't want to deal with it, so I retraced my steps to head back out. I wish Cleveland National Forest would put some signs here, in addition to clearing the trails...

I got back to the Cutca/Dripping Springs/Wild horse junction where I camped, and started to take the white horse trail. This trail has a lot more shade than Dripping Springs, however, A LOT of flies in the "forest" that will attack your eyes and ears (super annoying). Be prepared for a crap ton of flies.. Once you make it past the forest and flies, you'll be fine. It's all descending, not as beautiful as Dripping Springs, but you definitely don't want to go back to Palomar Magee. There are some parts that are overgrown but nothing crazy like Palomar Magee.

All in all, Dripping Springs was beautiful and everything else was pretty overgrown, except for the start and mid section of Wild horse. I wouldn't recommend Eagle Crag unless if you exactly know where to go (I didn't).

Tips: There isn't any water so bring a lot of water, the desert will dry out your mouth. If you plan on doing Magee, bring pants. I had pants and a tshirt but my forearms were getting scratched quite a bit. Once again, I don't think Eagle Crag was worth it.

The McGee portion of the trail is now so overgrown that you literally have to crawl on your hands and knees through miles of bramble while getting whipped in the face with branches. About a 3 mile stretch is completely overgrown. The only way you know you’re not lost are some random bits of plastic tied to the branches you find every 30 minutes or so. Found myself very claustrophobic and stressed during this part of the hike. The rest of the hike was amazing! I suggest you take the wild horse route up and down. Don’t even bother with McGee it’s almost impassable as it is.

Not quite as hard as a normal black box "hard" icon would indicate, but never the less a great challenging hike. Wonderful views about 2 miles in. Went in February so we had a perfect day (70 degrees), lots of cool wind. Not that busy on the trail for a Sunday. Switchbacks were a bit redundant at first, but the scenery more than makes up for it. From walking in the sun, to passing through wooded covered areas, this trail has it all (except for a water source...streams were drybones for sure). Great quick hike up, and a fun hikers run (shuffle) down. Definitely coming back.

really good trail don't think that's half just long have to take decent shoes lot of pony rocks

love this trail, great for trail running. I get up the trail every chance I get. Beautiful and challenging, what a combo

I did the loop yesterday, my first time. the loop is passable but be prepared to battle with trees and bushes as you make your way through the midpoint of the hike. overall it was a great day! love the vistas and the challenge, will be doing this one often!

I wouldn't say this hike was a "difficult" rated hike at all. done many 14ers and this was just a mellow uphill. we hiked a total of 12 miles up the dripping springs trail, after you pass the first mountain, the climate changes into a rain forest type of environment and it's extremely beautiful and rewarding with panoramic views. Looking forward to hike it again in the spring when all the flowers are blooming

Beautiful surroundings. Easy trail. Good for jugging. I wouldn’t categorize it as difficult. Very easy. Climate change was awesome.

2 months ago

Hiked to the top of the first big hill. Started at 2:30 pm because the trail was shaded. Beautiful 360 view. Campground below was surprisingly very well kept and appealing.

This hike is deceptive. It's long if you go all the way to Palomar and also goes up almost 3000' elevation. It's my go to hike when I don't want to travel because it's close to home. The beauty of this hike is in springs there's millions of flowers, summer has lots of leaves, and winter the leaves are turning color. I always like doing the same hike at different times of year.

Tough trail, done the full out & back 2x.

Wild horse trail Monday morning beautiful an quiet ...the only person out here...I'm about 1 mile from Crosleys saddle⛅️

5 Stars! Stayed at Campsite then in morning went on hiking trail.. very convenient location to spend the night at.. Hike was absolutlely beautiful!! There were a lot of shady spots! Beautiful views of the lake..and rolling mountains.. very interesting views.. some of dark green mountains some trails with a fall theme.. tons of pretty leaves.. some of the way high yellow grass.. big rocks.. it just kept changing.. loved it!! only downfall is the end of trail... absolutley nothing.. just a spot in the middle of nowhere.. nothing to look at nothing to see... the best parts are when your hiking.. trails are in good condition.. cant wait to do it again!

Great Challenge of a hike. Bring Hedge clippers though and if you look it has amazing sites. You can even see the pacific half way through the loop.

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