Cahuilla Mountain Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Anza, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Anza, CA: Follow Forest Road 6S22 to the Cahuilla Saddle, elevation 4,48O feet. The trail starts at the saddle.
We did this as a short backpacking trip with children in preparation for our summer hike in Yosemite. It is a relatively easy hike as a two day backpacking trip but the views are rewarding.
I would agree with the previous poster that the dirt road to the trailhead is difficult to drive on. We had a 4x4 and even then we worried that we would not make it through the ruts.
There are only a few established campsites and not that many options as the terrain is not very flat and the vegetation is very thick at the top. Having said that, we were the only people on the mountain and the view from our site, just past the peak were spectacular.
We filtered and boiled enough water for our meals from the spring (marked with an actual spring) but even after all this rain we had recently (April 2017) the runoff was not more than a trickle. I would advise to carry enough water for your needs and not to rely on this spring.
We saw a solitary doe on our approach to the summit and a couple of velvet ants. I understand these can produce very painful stings.
If you are into beautiful vistas and caches of notes at the summit of other people who have climbed than this is the hike for you. It was gorgeous when we went, and there were a lot of flowers in bloom. There was a lot of change of scenery and it was a great experience to hike from one side of a mountain to the other. A couple of notes:
- Bring more water than you think. It is sunny and dry.
- When you get to the other side of the mountain and think, "wait, why am I going downhill?," don't worry, you will go back up again in a just a bit. There will be two uphill pushes right before the summit.
- You will know the summit when you reach a pile of rocks and an army box full of notes.
- We did not have a high clearance vehicle so had to park at the start of the dirt road. PREPARE YOURSELF, this adds two miles on each way. So your hike will go from 6 miles to 10. You will add on a significant amount of elevation as well.
- If you do not have a truck/jeep/SUV, etc and think maybe I will try going up the road, DON'T. There are huge patches of sand, areas of road washed out so badly that there is barely room to drive, and dips that will take out the underbelly of your car. Maybe in the future this will be filled in, but it was bad at the time we went.
All and all a lovely hike though, and we felt rather accomplished after. If I had an SUV I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Very beautiful surroundings. I wish we followed the directions to the T as we walked most of the dirt road toward the trail head. The road was washed out so we decided to walk which cut our hike short of the trail. That said, it is a beautiful location.
Tip: The trailhead is up a dirtroad that is extremely bumpy. Definitely use an SUV or a truck if at all possible. at first the directions will seem to be taking you on a trail, but they are perfect. Follow them verbatim.
The hike was perfect for both my dog and I. It took us about 3 hours because I couldn't stop taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. There are countless incredible views since it starts at a high elevation and continues to go higher. For the many people who have never been around the Anza area, check it out! You will not be disappointed.
Started hiking this trail as a kid. First run in 18 years today. Still sad that it burnt down, but nice to see it recovering.
After a 2 mile climb up a dirt road (I reccomend an suv but 4wd isn't necessary) there is a spot to park and start on the trailhead. Despite being just miles from neighborhoods, it is silent here. Although steep, the hike up is enjoyable, with many great views. The trail leads through many different ecosystems. There are several great spots to set up camp at the top.