Cuyamaca Peak via Azalea Glen Loop

MODERATE 344 reviews

Cuyamaca Peak via Azalea Glen Loop is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Descanso, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,833 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

Lightly traveled and rugged ridgeback with splendid pine forest views to the west. This excursion to the top of the Cuyamaca Peek has many trails from which to choose. Ours trail begins on the south Azalea Glen Loop. This 1.5 mile ascent is one of the most beautiful dense forest hikes in the park. Take the Loop Trail to the Azalea Glen Road to the Azalea Fire Road finally meeting up with the Conejos Trail. The Conejos, a lightly hiked 2.5 mile trail, follows the ridgeback of the Cuyamaca it is a bit of smorgasbord. It begins by meandering around fallen oak trees then quickly morphs to a granite rock trail. Finally it becomes a wall trail hugging a steep drop! The views this hike affords are fantastic, both to the East Mountains and west low lying valleys. Finally, the trail merges with the paved fire road 0.5 from the top of Cuyamaca Peak. Be sure to bring some binoculars, on a clear day the views from the second highest peak in San Diego County are spectacular!

19 days ago

Loved it. Amazing scenery and views over many of the California mountain ranges. Steep towards the end but doable. Unfortunately no resting area at the peak (we had lunch sitting on the trail). Views just breathtaking !

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike and amazing views at the top. It was out first time hiking and we would definitely recommend stopping at the ranger station for a map. During the hike, once you get to the fire road, turn right. Then, the sign for Conejos trail is a bit hidden and will be on your left after 10 min or so. Bring plenty of water; 2 of us brought 80 ounces and it was just enough.

hiking
1 month ago

Perhaps my favorite hike in San Diego. Challenging, especially the steep grade of the service road, and great views from the summit. Grab a map from the ranger if you’re not very familiar with this area, I had a little trouble finding my way around the loop to the summit the first time I did this hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail, recommend following the guidance here up Azalea to the right then down the paved road on the way back (not fun for the feet though).

Note: the entrance to Conejos is very difficult to spot, the trail sign is hidden if you’re travelling from Azalea. Also, bring lots of water and sunscreen. Park patches, cool gifts, and wildlife display at Cuyamaca Rancho visitor’s center before you get to the campground- worth a stop Sat and Sun 1000 to 1600. Recommended soundtrack for the drive: Tin Hat Trio: The Rodeo Eroded.

hiking
4 months ago

Breath taking trail. The trail has a very sad slow rate of forest regeneration, which prompted a reforestation project to replant using donations. It breaks my heart when I saw such magnificent pines burnt to the core. Quick history: The fire took place in 2003, when a lost hunter lit a signal fire hoping to be found. That signal burned out of control and became the biggest wildfire in California's history, burning more than 300,000 acres, killed 15 people and burned 2400 homes.

4 months ago

Love it

4 months ago

Great trail I love it

4 months ago

Excellent trail, love the view

4 months ago

Great forest hike. Nice weather with a cool breeze! Park at the campground and pay the $10 parking fee. The azalea glen trail is south of the parking lot. Flat and gradual incline at the beginning. Steep as you reach the peak.

hiking
5 months ago

Love it!! Perfect for a birthday hike with friends!!

hiking
6 months ago

I was most surprised by a family that pushed a baby in. Baby stroller to the top of the this beautiful Peak. The 360 degree view was marred by mist or possibly smog to the west, so you couldn’t quite see the Pacific Ocean. Otherwise it was a sunny blue sky day with 15-20 mph winds. We met a couple dozen other hikers, including a group of Japanese teenagers coming up from the Paseo Pacheco Campground, where we parked for $10.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Conejos trail is definitely a challenge and it’s a good workout going up. The views are spectacular.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful views all around and the frosty weather at the top was like the cherry on top. Enjoyed the cold and the icy winds on an other wise warm day in San Diego. We hiked with our dog so we stuck to the paved road (~5.4 mile out and back). Would definitely come back here soon!

6 months ago

Fun trail. If you hike it counter-clockwise there is a stretch in the first half that is a fairly steep uphill climb. The views at the top are the reward and they are pretty magnificent of the valley below and Lake Cuyamaca. I’ll do this one again.

hiking
6 months ago

Amazing, the most beatiful

hiking
7 months ago

3/3/18 Great hike! I definitely wasn't prepared for the cold weather and all the snow up there but the hike itself through the woods and meadows was gorgeous. I plan on going back soon to get some better views and hopefully better weather, a lot of fog rolled in on my way up so I didn't get to see any of the scenery from the summit.

Pictures and snow slowed me down so I took a little under 4 hours to hike it. I took the Azalea Glen trail up to the Azalea springs road, then the cuyamaca peak fire road from there. Took conejos trail back down, which takes you back to azalea springs.

hiking
7 months ago

Did this trail right after a storm dumped around 6 inches of snow. There was snow all the way up and back, at least 12 inches deep in places. It felt like 10 miles with the snow, but the landscape was epic.

hiking
7 months ago

Male, 35 (and female companion, 29)
6', 240 lbs
Fitness level: average
Hiking experience: intermediate
Date of hike: 02/10/18
Pace: easy/moderate
Total time: A little under 3 hours (app clocked us at 2:35 movement time)
Weather temp: Didn't track, it was probably around 60-70

Definitely do this counterclockwise, starting from the Azalea Glen Road trail and make your way up to Conejos and then to the Fire Road (paved road).

Beautiful scenery, one of the very few hikes in San Diego where you can actually see trees and pines. Huge, beautiful pine trees!

The hike for the most part is easy until the climb at the end, it is quite demanding on your cardio, especially if you're not in optimal shape. But just take it easy and you'll be fine.

Highly recommend this hike, probably my favorite in SD.

8 months ago

Id give it a 3.5 star review only because we did an out & back up the paved fire road instead of the loop...super steep & hard on the lower body. Still doable, but so boring! Take the fire road on your way down the loop! Also, theres huge gaudy satellite antennas at the top with a barbed wire gated fence. Totally ruins the views at the peak trying to dodge cables in your photos. About halfway or so up (or down) the fire road theres a cute little lookout with a bench. The views are breathtaking! Youll want to take a minute to take it all in!

8 months ago

We took a different route to get to cuyamaca peek. We parked at Paso picacho campground and hiked up a maintenance/fire Road. This made it a pretty easy climb. It was Steep at the end, but no big deal because the road was so well-maintained. amazing views and pleasant hike. This was about a 6 mile out and back.

hiking
8 months ago

We did this loop counter clockwise, which allowed us to go down the very steep and boring paved fire road at the end. The steepest and rockiest part in this direction was after the spring.

hiking
8 months ago

Did this hike with my girlfriend on Saturday, 01/27/18. Not terribly difficult until the incline on the Lookout fire road just before the top. Took us 4h, 49m moving time. 9.2 miles, avg speed 1.9 mph, top speed 4.5 mph. Came up Azalea Glen Trail, Took Conejos Trail to the Fire Road up, and also on the way back (no interest in taking that paved fire road all the way down). Took Azalea Glen Road (dirt) from the Azalea Spring Jct down to the campground. Coming down was about 1.5 hours total with stops and picture taking. Most of the trails were great and a nice mix. Saw 2 deer a mile in and 6 at the campground at sundown, also Wild Turkeys on the side of Middle Peak. Views up top were amazing. Windy and cold, but there's a lumber bench set up behind the building, we ate lunch at. Good windbreaker from the Santa Ana winds..
(View recording for route taken)

hiking
8 months ago

Not sure why it says difficult, it definitely wasn’t hard. Very beautiful hike though! Took about 3 hours to complete. I went during the Santa Ana winds so it was suuuuuuper windy and cold at the top. Will definitely be back!

hiking
8 months ago

Love this hike! Definitely take the far right trail counter clockwise up the mountain. I think the hike is fairly moderate until you get to the last 1/2 mile or so on the fire road, then it's a pretty steep incline to the summit. This time around we saw some deer close to the campground entrance on the start of our hike and then a coyote in the distance about 1 mile in. Scenery is gorgeous and we lucked out with some frosted trees and snow toward the summit. Almost 8 miles roundtrip... took us a little over 4 hours to complete with some rest time in between.

9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

We did this hike on Saturday (1/13/18) and really enjoyed it.

Parking- you park in the area of a campground along CA-79 and it is the same lot used if you are doing the Stonewall Peak hike which starts on the other side of the highway; you must pay $10 and if you get there early like we did before a Park Ranger is on duty you must fill out an envelope and drop the $/envelope in a slot so make sure you have exact cash; no special Adventure Day Pass is needed

Trail/route- we did the loop starting w/Azalea Glen to the Azalea Springs Fire Road to Conejos Trail which at about 4.2 miles will take you to a paved fire road...make sure to turn right at this juncture and this will be the hardest steepest part of the hike for the final 1/2 mile to the top and you will have completed approx. 4.8 miles to get to the top; we took the paved fire road straight down to complete the loop and it will total about 7.5 miles when you get back to the parking lot and it takes around 4 hrs to complete starting at about 4,900 ft and reaching the top at nearly 6,500 ft

My thoughts: this is a beautiful area and the drive to the trailhead offers so much to see; it is not a crowded trail; there are great views of Cuayamaca Lake and the hills to the east and when you get to the top you are rewarded with a great view looking west to San Diego and the Pacific on a clear day; most of the hike is easy especially the first 2 miles of the loop if you go counter clockwise like we did and the only difficult part was the last 1/2 mile going up the steep fire road to the top

hiking
9 months ago

i love it, not too easy but great

9 months ago

Great area and very cool trail. Recommended.

hiking
9 months ago

My girlfriend and I did this "part" of this hike on New Year's Day. The weather was a little overcast and made for perfect hiking weather.

We added a couple extra miles to this hike. Instead of taking the main fire road, which is paved, we hiked up Azalea Glen Road to Azalea Spring Fire Road to the main Fire Road (paved) and finally extending the trail to Cuyamaca Peak. Hiked down Conejos Trail to Azalea Spring Fire Road to Azalea Glen Trail .

The view from Cuyamaca Peak was fantastic! We both decided to stay off the main fire road because it was paved and felt that the other dirt trails were better on our knees.

hiking
9 months ago

We love this hike! Done it multiple times now. Has enough challenge and beauty to really enjoy. When we go early, we are completely alone on the trail. Only draw back is the steep fire road down from the peak...rough on the knees!

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