Helix Flume Trail

MODERATE 70 reviews
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Helix Flume Trail is a 3.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lakeside, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.6 miles
1,292 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


horseback riding

mountain biking

trail running


no shade

historic site

9 days ago

hike this trail every year with my grandpa

over grown
24 days ago

Beautifully in bloom right now. So amazed by all the purple wild flowers. The trail is naturally a little overgrown from the rain but that’s also what brought out the flowers. Definitely wear long pants and socks.

28 days ago

Some beautiful wildflowers! Switchbacks pretty much the whole way!

29 days ago

Everything the last post said. Wildflowers and views were amazing. It was was like Oregon on a bad day—so green for our desert. I was going to state that it was well marked, but I disagree. There are several tangent trails, but just use the app. I wondered where the flume was and it was on an unmarked side trail off to the right.

29 days ago

Great moderate hike in springtime. We saw lots of different little flowers along the trail and enjoyed the views. A little overgrown in some places- glad I wore pants.

2 months ago

I really enjoyed this trail. Moderate climb, but enough to get a good sweat going, clearly defined trail with a lot of switchbacks, and beautiful scenery. Not a busy trail at all. We got a late start and started the trail around 9:30am and only saw 3 other hikers on our way back. We found some pretty decent sized paw prints and tons of scat towards the summit, so just be cautious. Gorgeous views, definitely recommend.

2 months ago

Absolutely stunning views on this hike. It is a little weird that it ends in a neighborhood at the top of Blossom Valley though. There are definitely some big mountain lions in the area. Spotted several prints on the train, so be aware of your surrounding. This hike is very quiet and not a lot of traffic. Trails are well defined, but a little washed out in areas due to the recent rains.

4 months ago

Absolutely loved this hike! Went on a Monday morning and didn’t see another soul. Just about an hour round trip with a mix of running and hiking. Totally agree with other reviews: stop at the bench, it gets less nature-y if you keep going and end up in the neighborhood.

5 months ago

Had trail all to myself! There's a slight steep climb from the get-go if you begin at the old water pump station off of El Monte Road. Great views!

5 months ago

Great workout, cool desert Mountain View’s with very little people around (saw no one on the hike but a handful of people at ground level). I agree with another review that the bench should be the ending, after that you end up amongst houses which is random.

9 months ago

I really enjoyed this hike mostly for all of its historical content. The flume is so cool! Trail is accurately labeled moderate and just enough challenge to keep me interested

Monday, April 09, 2018

Did this hike on a Saturday morning at sunrise, was the only person at El Monte County Park and the only person on the trail. Lovely hike with a lot of switchbacks, a ton of wildflowers, cool rocks, and great views of the valley. The bench with the Blossom Valley Summit plaque is a good place to end the hike and head back, if you continue along the all trails track it just takes you between a couple houses to the roadway to the south, the bench is a much nicer finishing point.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

This a an easy hike compared to Cowls mountain.
Very beautiful with lots of green grass, trees and rock formations.
Excellent views along the entire hike.
We went on a Monday afternoon. It was cloudy and cool and we only saw 3 other hikers in the 2 hours it took to complete the hike.
There are wildlife warning signs but we did not see any lions or snakes and we were scanning the hills constantly.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Not bad. Kinda lackluster ending in blossom valley feeling like a you're tresspassing in someone's backyard but overall I liked it. Very well marked and easy to access. Awesome view of the mountains. Went with my seven yr old and two dogs, no issues except for a tiny blister.

Monday, April 02, 2018

We didn’t have much time so we only made it from the park to the tunnel. Which was a great quick workout. You start climbing straight from the park in area 8. We only saw two other couples on the trail on Saturday. We will go back and climb both sides. If you aren’t in good uphill condition this may hurt a bit.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Very steep switchbacks. The history of the flume is very cool. The trail just sort of dumps you out into a new McMansion urban sprawl community so that's weird. But the views of El Cajon mountain on the way up are great.
I'd give this a 3.5 but apparently we don't get half stars. Very lightly trafficked so I bumped it up.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A lot of switchbacks up and down that give a solid workout.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Nice cool breeze coming out of the lower end of the Flume Tunnel which is a welcome treat going up, or down! Locate the tunnel between the two sets of switchbacks ~half way.

We saw many small lizards but no snakes; nonetheless, keep your wits as instructed by the signage.

The end of this trail is somewhat disappointing, but it does provide a view of the ocean over one of the houses.

Overall this is a great hike where you can see beautiful flora, and fauna, as well as a few historical structures while also working on cardio, and your leg muscles!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Snakes galore. Few mountain cats in the evening. Great views!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lots of switchback and interesting history. Watch out for snakes.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

This is a dangerous trail for mountain bikes. But great steep incline. The trail has a ton loose rocks and dirt. Should only be a hiking trail.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

parked cars at either end and hiked the trail going towards el Monte park. very nice trail pretty views of the valley.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Really enjoyed the sound of the horses neighing while going up and finding new treasures.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Used 2 cars with a buddy and started from the top so all downhill for us. hike it when it's cooler. More enjoyable. The flume has an interesting history. read about it.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

At El Monte Park there was no place to park until after 8 AM including beside the road as that was all posted as no parking. There is one parking lot across the road from the park which was free once the gate was opened. The trail was well maintained and was an actual foot trail; not an abandoned road called a trail. The beginning is a fairly steep grade that switchbacks. There is a historic marker at about 1 mile. A nice view of a tunnel used as part of the flume system there. I went up to the summit and continued until the trail ended at Creek Hills Rd. among new gigantic houses. An earlier start could be made from this point as there are no gates. I went back to the first historic marker and followed the trail westbound, where the flume actually ran. I saw two more historical markers then the trail is overgrown, but easy to find. I continued quite a ways then returned by the same route for a total distance of 9.5 miles. An interesting hike and the section following the route of the flume was mostly flat, easy walking. The trail to the summit has great views of the area. A very pleasant, peaceful area and the historical marker are interesting.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Fun little trail with an interesting history.
Convenient parking and notes on the history along the trail.
Rated "moderate" for the switchbacks at the beginning which get the heart rate going. After that it's pretty flat and narrow.
Very nice views and you can hook into the Lake Jennings loop at the top.
Wild flowers are everywhere right now!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

This is a great trail. We had little ones with us so we only did the first hill. The trail takes you up 1 hill, down that and then up a much bigger one. Next time we will leave the littles and complete the whole trail. Clearly marked, good path, and still a good challenge. Really nice wild flowers. Highly recommend this.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Went with a large group of people a few days after rain, so the park was very green! Clear, well-marked trail made it easy to navigate all the way to the road (Creek Hills Rd). Moderate hike with lots of smaller, less-traveled trails made it easy to explore the area. Some cool historical significance on this trail - the remnants of a flume (an aqueduct) are at the bottom of the valley, almost at the halfway point from the road. It was used to transport water to San Diego!

9 days ago

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