Corte Madera Mountain Trail

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Cleveland National Forest

Corte Madera Mountain Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Campo, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,469 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

partially paved

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

scramble

no shade

The trail is great for hiking and normally takes a half day. Start off along an oak lined road and then take a left and head out through San Diego typical shrubbery. When you reach the main saddle you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view of Corte Madera Mountain, which some call San Diego's half dome. From there you'll head northwest along a dirt road and then branch off onto a single track trail. As you head up, you'll be rewarded with pine trees, granite boulders and wonderful views of the surrounding Cuyamaca and Laguna mountains. It can be cold in the winter, so make sure to layer. There is some shade on the trail so it might be good for hiking all year round. Take your time and enjoy the views!

hiking
bugs
over grown
6 days ago

I wish there was some way to convey the incredible swarm of flies that wouldn’t leave me alone. Big, slow and the biting kind. I smashed like 50 and didn’t notice a difference at all ever. So. Many. Flies. Flies. Flies. FLIES.

hiking
bugs
over grown
7 days ago

So, the overgrowth is tolerable if you have a long shirt and pants (I did) but the flies were... way too intense. I’d try it again in the fall, perhaps, but this time of year was like locust swarm level constant bombardment of biting flies at some point so intense I didn’t want to open my mouth for fear of swallowing several. I’d seen others say it was just the first ⅓rd of the trail, but others we’d seen all complained that it was even worse at the top. We turned around about 2/3rds in, which is a shame. It looks like a pretty beautiful spot, but the insects totally ruined an otherwise beautiful location tucked away.

I did this hike today. it was just a bit warm. There was a good Breeze occasionally so that helped. There were a lot of bugs and I read that people that have gone up there recently. I took bug spray and did not get stung once. I did eat 2 bugs though however yuck! Awesome Peak with spectacular and gorgeous views 360 I would do this hike again.

hiking
bugs
rocky
12 days ago

I didn’t love the first third of the trail. You have to look out for poison oak, and the flies are BAD. I wrote a haiku about them: Flies bite buzz bite buzz bite bite bite bite bite bite OUCH! Wear long sleeves and socks. The rest of the trail was picturesque, and the peak was breathtaking!

hiking
bugs
over grown
12 days ago

This is the third time I’ve done this hike. I recommend going later in the year. The flies were pretty bad this time. I haven’t experienced that on the other times I’ve been on here. Hike is more moderate than hard for someone who hikes often.

hiking
15 days ago

Great trail. Beautiful views. We only saw 3 other people while on the hike. Took just over 3 hours with kids. Unfortunately, there were a ton of flies. Also watch out for rattlesnakes - we saw 2.

hiking
over grown
17 days ago

Wonderful hike! Did not see one person the entire time! Started around 4:30 pm and made it down at sunset. The trail is narrow and lined with thick manzanita bushes in areas so wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. The peak is a perfect place to have a snack and observe other peaks and the ocean (if it is clear). Loved it!

hiking
bugs
17 days ago

GREAT HIKE WITH AWESOME VIEWS! Only saw 1 other hiker on the trail. As other have said the the flies are pretty gnarly get some good bug spray or bring a bug net. View and lunch from the peak of Corte Madera were worth the small unconvinces.

hiking
20 days ago

Cool trail with lots of trees and shade to start off, but way too many flies for it to be truly enjoyable

recorded Corte Madera Mountain Trail

hiking
bugs
21 days ago

Cool trail. Too many flies for a perfect score.

hiking
22 days ago

Loved this trail! Good workout without being too difficult, and awesome views. We didn’t see a single other person on our whole hike, and the views are constantly fantastic after the first mile or so. As a couple others have noted, most of the trail is fairly narrow, so you’ll get scraped on your legs and arms quite often, so you may want to dress accordingly. Trail is easy to follow throughout also.

hiking
over grown
scramble
22 days ago

My favorite hike in San Diego County. Stunning 360° views with no trace of humans. Starts in a shady forest, and ascends into the alpine.

hiking
muddy
over grown
washed out
2 months ago

Hiked March 27, 2020. 3 hours total. Gorgeous views, definitely 5 stars! It’s cold and windy at this altitude in late March… about 45-50 degrees midday. At least have a jacket if you plan to rest at the summit. I recommend waterproof hiking shoes this time of year… a lot of the trail was wet and muddy from melting snow. Pants are ideal for all the brush (unless it’s really hot, then just wear shorts). This is one of the most beautiful 3-4 hour challenging hikes you can do in the region.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail. Easy to follow. I agree with other reviews that it’s best to wear long pants and sleeves as the trail is narrow with dense brush in places. Generally the trail can be rated as easy but there are places that will be challenging to any below average hiker. I saw no one else the entire hike probably due to many trails and parks being closed as of today due to the coronavirus. The views on the way up and from the summit are spectacular. The dirt road access is easy for 2wd cars. The trailhead parking is limited but adequate. Signs of bobcats prints and scat but sadly no sightings. Pictures show beautiful manzanitas and a wild peony plant. Other nearby peaks to consider are Los Pinos, Gaskill, Lawson and Morena Butte.

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
private property
2 months ago

Cool trail. San Diego’s Half Dome? Easy, but beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail was easily marked. Wear long pants and sleeves as the trail is not wide in some parts and the bushes are tall. Beautiful hike with beautiful views. Not many people.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

I picked up an adventure pass at the shell off tavern in alpine. Beautiful day for a hike. Very serene trail and lots of birds chirping away. Only saw one other hiker.

hiking
over grown
rocky
3 months ago

Prior to parking, I spotted an adult bobcat crossing the road less than a mile from the trailhead. That was pretty cool! The first 3/4 of a mile is a mostly shaded mountain road. Then you'll come to a trash can with a sign indicating the direction for Corte Madera. You'll then hike a gradual incline for another 1/2 mile or so to a junction of mountain/fire roads. If you look straight ahead from the junction, you can see Corte Madera from this spot. Another sign ("CM") lets you know the direction for Corte Madera. You will ascend up the road for another 1/3 mile to another ("CM") sign. This is where the the hike becomes fun! You'll get a steady but not difficult ascent through boulder fields. You'll soon come to a manzanita forest and a couple of small saddle-type ups and downs portion. Eventually, you'll gradually ascend around the bend to the rocky summit. The views at the summit were magnifcent! My GPS watch and the AllTrails recording both indicated the hike to the summit was 3.6 miles. I returned the same way and spotted a very young juvenile bobcat (bobkitty) near the trailhead. This capped off an amazing day! As others have stated, wear pants and a long shirt due to the overgrowth throughout most of the trail. I only seen one couple on the trail and there were at least three people rock climbing near the summit. Total hiking distance ended up being 7.1 miles.

hiking
bugs
over grown
private property
3 months ago

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