Corte Madera Mountain Trail

HARD 33 reviews
#1 of 1 trails in

Corte Madera Mountain Trail is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Morena Village, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. 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 but must be kept on leash.

6.5 miles
1571 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips



wild flowers


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! We didn't encounter a single person on the trail although it was close to snowing/raining the whole time so that may have been why.

4 days ago

6 days ago

1 month ago

This was tougher than I originally anticipated. We went on a Monday around 9:00am, got to the top around 10:30 & stayed up there for probably an hour (decided to lay out on the rocks!) Made it back down by 12:45pm. Great views, And there was no one else out there! Which I think was the best part. Great trail, steep climbing at times. If you are not regularly active this may be very difficult.

1 month ago

The dirt road has been graded so no 4WD is needed.

3 months ago

A high clearance vehicle with 4 wheel drive recommended if you want to park at the trailhead. Nice trail with a great view!

4 months ago

Being my first time in the area, this hike blew me away. There were great views from start to finish, especially from the summit. Go on a clear day because the sunset is top notch. To put the icing on the cake, there are bolts on the face if you're into climbing.

6 months ago

I really enjoyed this hike. Options for different variations on the trail. I was up there back in September. The sky was so clear that day that I could see all the way to Point Loma from the top!! Incredible (:

7 months ago

7 months ago

Great views, particularly in the last segment. Some pretty serious uphill segments. Very much enjoyed the hike -- took longer than expected. 7.2 miles in about 4 hours.

7 months ago

Good hike with some cardio work out. Beautiful view well worth it.

10 months ago

10 months ago

Late post. Last month, June 18, 2016 I hiked Corte Madera Mountain Trail, San Diego's version of the infamous Yosemite Half-Dome. Racked up 7.53 RT miles on a warm dry day, the day before the border Tecate Fires. This was a cool hike, steep uphill hike all the way to the summit. I was pleased to see and sign the official peak log. After the 1st 1.5 miles on the trail, you come up to viewpoint and will be amazing at mountain. Good hike.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Sunday, May 01, 2016

beautiful views

Monday, March 28, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

This one surprised us... quite the butt kicker for a regular hiker like me. It was like a mini El Capitan Preserve trail, with about half the elevation gain (206 floors according to Fitbit... El Capitan had 430 floors) with ups and down starting halfway through. Some real facts about the trail:

Difficulty: moderately hard

Distance (out and back): 7.32 miles

Elevation gain: 1457 ft

Landscape: Varies. Begins as a forest, then becomes brush desert, then mountain high brush desert.

Traffic: None. We were the only ones on the trail today.

Scenery: Really Really good for San Diego county. At first it isn't so much, but once you reach the crossroads where the trails split, it's great all the way to the top.

Quaintness: Epic. Not a soul nor sound of human civilization... Aside from the occasional airplane flying overhead.... :/

Flora and Fauna: Great! Lots of lizards and birds, especially birds of prey.

Note: all cars can get to trail... Part is dirt road. Just go slow.

What you NEED to bring:
- trail runners or hiking boots/shoes
- Lots of water and some snacks
- PANTS. This trail is narrow surrounded by high brush most of the way, some poison oak in shady areas
- If going in spring or summer, BUG SPRAY!!! Bugs, bugs EVERYWHERE (on some parts of trail, especially the beginning.)

What you COULD bring:
- trekking poles for those who need knee support
- Binoculars... Seriously... This is a GREAT hike for birdwatching raptors. I really wish I had brought mine.
- light jacket to avoid brush.
- nice camera for landscapes and selfies :P

I liked this hike a lot, and consider it one of the better ones in San Diego. If it wasn't so out of the way I would come here often. I will recommend people with a good fitness level to check out this hike.

4 stars for a good moderately long hike with great scenery for the area and varied landscape!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Started from the OHV parking. Added an extra 2 miles. Really beautiful and challenging hike. Great views at the summit.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Saturday, January 02, 2016

Hit it at sunset. Made it to the top in an hour and a half. Then an hour to get back.