McGinty Mountain Trail

MODERATE 296 reviews

McGinty Mountain Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jamul, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,384 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

From northern or western San Diego, take the 54 East and merge onto the 94 East. The 94 eventually turns back into the 54, or, Jamacha Blvd. Pass the shopping centers and make your first right on Willow Glen Drive. Make your first right onto Steele Cyn Rd. where you will see signs for the Cottonwood Golf Course. Make your first left onto Jamul Drive. Drive carefully up the canyon for a couple miles and turn left into the dirt lot where the trailhead is located. From southern San Diego, or Campo area, drive up the 94 until you see Lyons Valley Rd. Turn right onto Lyons Valley, and left onto Jamul Drive. Right after you pass the Jamul Community Church, the trailhead parking lot will be on your right.

hiking
27 days ago

Was able to hike this in 3 hours including lots of rest breaks. I am not an experienced hiker and very sensitive to the heat. Really good challenge and cool to see the caves. Lots of dog and coyote scat on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Good trail and easy to follow. Bring plenty of water and use sunscreen during the summer. Had my 4 kids with me (10 and under) and they were able to get to the top. It was definitely hot with minimal coverage, I’d like to do it again once it’s cooled down a bit. The views were worth the climb. The distance is a little off, it says it is 4.6 miles but we went 5.41 miles total.

hiking
2 months ago

Typical SoCal hike. Good workout and accurate distance. There are a few nice lookout points but for the most part it is an uncovered grind to the peak. We went in the early afternoon on a sunny day in June and it was HOT. No tree coverage but based on other reviews did not expect any. A solid hike and close to San Diego which is a plus.

hiking
2 months ago

What can I say, this is a fun hike! The caves are so cool to see and u don't even think about the difficulty of the trail because of all there is to see! Beautiful views from the peak as well!

2 months ago

Fun but harder hike, took kids and dogs and they were good!

hiking
3 months ago

it's quite the lower body burn for the first mile or so and then again, intermittently on the path. there are a few splits in the road that are not marked but you can figure it out relatively easily as the alternate "paths" don't really lead anywhere. you pass some huge homes, compounds really, so you don't really feel like it's a hike until you are near the top and the homes are in the distance. not as "scenic" as I'd hoped from prior reviews but after doing Corte Madeira in Cleveland National Forrest, there's not much that I would be wowed by. there are a lot of loose rocks so stick to the surfaces that look most traveled as they are the most secure. took us 2 hours because the first 20-30 minutes is super challenging. use this as a workout and you will love it. using it as a scenic experience, not really. we saw a total of 5 people so it's perfect for going at whatever pace you want.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views along with my pup and I getting quite a workout with the steep hills. Parking was good and there was barely anyone there. With that being said, we encountered a rattlesnake towards the end of our hike (we’re fine!) just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings!

4 months ago

Very steep in parts and lots of loose rocks and gravel underfoot so be careful. Views from the top are fabulous

hiking
5 months ago

Enjoyable views with a good workout on the way up.

hiking
5 months ago

The views were beautiful, and I went mid week when there wasn't anyone else on the trail. It was however very hot, and there is no shade along the trail. Be ready to be climbing a lot, and not feeling like there's much play-off. It was fine for the experience, but I wouldn't go again.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike, did the round trip in about 1hr 45min. Definitely bring some water with you, it was heating up at about 11am when I was on my way back and I was glad I was able to drink some water while I was at the top. Amazing views from the top, even saw a Coast Guard helicopter flying around below me.

Keep your eyes on the trail, I was distracted by the view and came within a couple feet of a rattlesnake crossing the path, I just backed away slowly and gave him the right of way.

5 months ago

Excellent, challenging with a good, somewhat flat break and wonderful views from the top

5 months ago

Fun hike.

hiking
6 months ago

This was my first time doing this trail and It wasn’t that bad. It took me about 2 hours to do it.. The views were amazing!! I saw the sunset on my way down and couldn’t stop taking pictures. I highly recommend this trail.

6 months ago

Had a fun hike with the family and dog. Amazing views to the ocean

6 months ago

It's a tough climb but worth it

hiking
7 months ago

This was a great hike. There is a lot of dog / coyote poop on the trail so watch out. The beggining is overgrown. Make sure to do this hike in cool weather as there is not much shade. The inclines towards the end get pretty steep and are very rewarding at the end. Some amazing views from the top. It is kind of a bummer though that there is no sign when you get to the top! While it was very enjoyable I am not sure that I will be back anytime soon.

hiking
7 months ago

This was an awesome hike. Very little people are on this trail, and it feels like an adventure not seeing the peak right away.

There's a false peek which consist of steep switchbacks. From there, you'll cross over some saddles before getting to the bottom of the final ascent. The view was incredible, and I even found a rock that was shaped like a chair making it perfect for snack time while overlooking San Diego

7 months ago

Ok I’m a pretty good hiker I’d say. This was more difficult then I thought. It is noted to be moderate but I believe it to be more difficult than moderate. The trail wasn’t occupied at all during our hike. This was on a Sunday morning starting at 6:30 AM. It ended 2 1/2 hours later. Beautiful views. The caves are cool . I’d tell you we’re to find them but that’s the adventure. Goonies “never say die” . Ha I was bummed there was no markers or signs but hey it was a fun hike and the caves are super cool.

hiking
7 months ago

Had never heard of this trail but was pleasantly surprised by the great views. Best to go early morning as you lose shade after 10am. Not too crowded yet not too far away the city.

hiking
7 months ago

Do NOT leave items visible in your car - my friend left her backpack in the backseat of my car, and someone performed a quick smash-and-grab. I came back to a broken window and her bag stolen. I talked to a local, who said it unfortunately happens often at the trailhead.

Hike itself is alright. There's no airflow in the beginning, so it feels pretty hot. I would not recommend this hike for a warm day.

hiking
7 months ago

It was an ok hike. Great views. would be great as a training hike. just enough steep parts to keep it challenging.

8 months ago

Cool hike up. Wish there were ways to get into the mines. Great views on top

hiking
8 months ago

Very fun hike. Highly recommend going early

8 months ago

I’d label this trail more difficult than moderate. The majority is a straight uphill hike that zig-zags up the mountain. Most views are clear sights of East County hills and secluded homes along the mountain. The paths are narrow and steep which can be tricky for passing other hikers. The top of the summit is nothing special, but overall a fun hike. Good distance and elevation- would recommend to anyone

hiking
9 months ago

Not sure if it was because of the heat or the climb but I found this hike to be pretty difficult! There is a short flat section as you hike along the ridge line but the rest of the 2.4 miles to the summit is a fairly steep climb. There is only one or two shade spots so be safe, wear a hat, take it slow in heat, and bring lots of water.

hiking
10 months ago

Great views from the top perch including Palomar to the north, Cuyamaca to the east, and Otay to the south. Nice cooling breeze after moderate climbing. Easy to lose the main trail but also easy to find it again. Trail surface kind of hard for the most part. Lighly travelled, even on a Saturday.

11 months ago

Moderate hike, more than half the hike is usually exposed to the sun so go early. Good views from the top. Moderate traffic as well.

hiking
11 months ago

Nice views!

hiking
11 months ago

Trail is very confusing as there lots of switchbacks. There were trail signs in the beginning but then disappear in the middle where it got confusing. Lots of forks and the map seems outdated.

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