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Corte Madera Mountain Trail [CLOSED] 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.

Length 6.7 mi Elevation gain 1,469 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Hiking Partially paved Views Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Over grown Rocky Scramble Closed No shade
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Getting There

As of September 2020, trails in this area are closed due to wildfire. See park page for more information. 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!

No facilities available at the trail head. Park along Corral Canyon Road. Because the road is so narrow, it is best to park in the turn outs beside the road. Note: a National Forest Service Adventure or America the Beautiful pass is required to park along this road.

National Forest Service (Descanso Ranger District).

You'll need an adventure pass to park at trail head. You can purchase one in Alpine at the two convenience stores.

Take Interstate 8 east to Buckman Springs Exit. Turn right and go to stop sign. At stop sign, go straight (south) on Buckman Springs Road for approx. 2.7 Miles to a right (west) turn on Corral Canyon Road. Look for the OHV recreation area sign. Continue on Corral Canyon Road (aka Morena Stokes Rd.) 4.7 miles to a hairpin turn to the left. As you approach this turn you will see a locked gate (Kernan Rd). Continue through the turn to a parking area on the left. Return to Kernan Road behind the locked gate to start your hike.

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Reviews (356)
Photos (607)
Recordings (327)
Completed (585)
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Emily Kluzak
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 28, 2020
HikingBugs

Late review - but hiked this end of May/early June and it was gorgeous and the weather was perfect. The trail was slightly overgrown and the flies were awful, but the view was worth it. Wear long sleeves and long pants for bugs and brush.

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Kimberly Cardenas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2020
Hiking
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Ben Stout
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Love this trail, probably my favorite around SD. Can get pretty crowded on the weekends.

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Dalisay Quitilen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Good trail. Some shade but mostly exposed. Not sure I wouldn’t consider this ‘hard’ but more of a ‘moderate’ trail. Beautiful views on a clear day.

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Noel Kennebeck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 25, 2020
HikingNo shade

We got to the trailhead around 7:15 and were done at 11:15, so it took us almost exactly 4 hours with a nice break at the top. If we had started any later it would have been too hot and exposed - as it was the way down was pretty scorching (probably around 90), and we each ended up drinking around 3 liters of water. Great views at the top and we didn’t have any bugs!

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Richard Hepper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2020
HikingOver grownRockyScramble
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Suzanne Roth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

One of the best hikes in San Diego County. Start early- we started 0620. Bouldered up to what looked like the highest point with spectacular views, although peak not obvious. Couldn’t find coffee can with register. We actually didn’t notice the rock cairns on way up but from the ‘peak’ we saw rock cairns below on other side of the boulder conglomerate, so scrambled down and followed them to what we thought was another viewpoint. It turned out it was our path down. LOL. There were several groups of rock climbers. Their cars were parked at the T-junction. I suppose they had driven up Espinoza Trail and then the fire road. On return, the gnat flies were horrible last mile.

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Vernon Gerzen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2020
HikingBugsOver grown

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.

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Christopher Jewett
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2020
HikingBugsOver grown

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.

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Kurt Kirschenman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 26, 2020

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.

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Jenna Hayes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 25, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

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!

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Scott Calderwood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2020
HikingBugsOver grown

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.

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Greg Burnett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 22, 2020
Hiking

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.

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Carrie Carambas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 20, 2020
HikingOver grown

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!

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Chris Berry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 20, 2020
HikingBugs

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.

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Megan McMahon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 17, 2020
Hiking

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

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Chris Canning
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 15, 2020
Hiking

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.

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Chris Mizerak
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 15, 2020
HikingOver grownScramble

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.

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Bill Dixon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 25, 2020
Hiking

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.

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Joshua Thorpe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 23, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyOver grownPrivate property

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

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