North Fortuna via Rolling Hills

HARD 192 reviews

North Fortuna via Rolling Hills is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near San Diego, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.1 miles
1,141 feet

dogs on leash


mountain biking

trail running


2 months ago

We started at the Equestrian Circle and hit both South and North Fortuna, then came back along the perimeter trail next to the 52. That section was extremely steep and gravely. Least favorite part for sure. Hiking shoes are a must, and watch out for rattlesnakes. We saw one right in the middle of our path. Our whole route was about 8 miles round trip and took about 3 hours to complete.

3 months ago

My friend Megan lost her tan and black Kate Spade wristlet with her license in it. Please call her or mail it if you find it. Great hike! Bring lots of water.

4 months ago

Like others have mentioned, the trails here are not marked well at all. You hike on dirt and rocks, with no signage at times to help you navigate. Luckily, the AllTrails app really helps with that. I parked at the dam, took the Oak Canyon trail, followed that to the Fortuna Saddle trail (super steep and slippery towards the top), then hiked to the South Fortuna summit, came down and climbed the North Fortuna summit. Then I climbed back down via the perimeter trail, which is brutal. Extremely steep and slippery on the way down, even with hiking shoes. I ran out of water too (I had 2L with me). 7.8 miles total!

5 months ago

Great hike today in the mist and we saw half a dozen people in 2 hours, it was awesome. I would say a moderate hike with hiking boots. Please make sure you have hiking shoes and plenty of water. Park at the old mission dam and you can knock this out in 2 hours. Get a map or follow the signs so you don’t get lost. Best of luck!

7 months ago

Man this was a strenuous hike! I enjoyed it minus the 52 traffic noise. That was kind of a buzz kill. There are several different trails that branch out from the north perimeter trail. Overall fun hike, bring your poles and shoes with good traction!

7 months ago

Great hike! If you start by Saddle Trail be careful with the steep descent at perimeter trail; plan for good ankle hiking shoes. Canyon Oak trail is gorgeous!

7 months ago

Good workout.

8 months ago

Really good workout, worth doing once but don't expect anything more than decent views. I started at the dam and worked my way up I heard from some hikers I met that combining south and north fortuna is a great way to do it. The freeway next to the trail is distracting and the signs are really confusing - I had to keep my map on for a lot of the hike to stay on track. Bring water, it's not super shady. I did this for the peak challenge, probably wouldn't do it again though. There are way better hikes out there with views that are worth the work out. Cool bonus to this trail though is there are a bunch of journals in ammo cans by the peak elevation sign full of entries written by people who hiked the summit, some are pretty hilarious and some are inspiring so that was an added perk to a great workout.

9 months ago

Wow this was a good one! We used the all trails app or might have been lost though. So we followed the trial signs and were on a goose chaise until I finally just turned on the all trails app and followed the trail that way. Much easier!!! At one point there was three trails to take at the same time with no sign saying which one to go. There is a small sign that says trail and it’s the one in the middle. As you’re walking near the highway it is quiet and beautiful (yes noisy) and definitely the road less traveled. The hills are steep and will get your heart working! Our 8 year old who hikes frequently was with us. She did well and thought climbing up with her hands was cool since it got very slippery but it was fun. Now as we got to the end of the hills and closer to the highway there is a gate. It looks like the trail just ends. But keep going and off to the left there is a trail that is a little thinner but has steps and takes you up the back side of North Fortuna. If you follow the app it’s very easy and a great workout!! Bring good shoes!!!

10 months ago

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Maybe the most challenging hike in the park. Started at the East Fortuna Staging area where there's always plenty of parking but makes the hike a bit longer (6+ miles). Serious ascents/decents along the 52. A bulldozer and water tanker were "conditioning" the service road along the 52 today. It was probably for SDGE vehicles but it also made the road less slick for hikers.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pretty great hike, challenging at some points gets steep and loose gravel, not much shade so gets real hot! Good views though

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Great workout, but definitely pay attention. I went early so had to park at the visitor center and walk to the dam. You start at Oak Canyon which can be a confusing trail, but keep going and soon you'll see directions to North Fortuna. I took the perimeter trail which has some very steep hills, especially for someone 4'10". Had to take it slow as it's pretty slippery. Don't get discouraged as it looks like it leads to a dead end with a closed gate by the freeway but you're going on the right direction! Overall an enjoyable and challenging workout. I just wish it didn't follow the 52 as the freeway is pretty distracting. Finished my 5 peak challenge here.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

We were going to park near old dam but the gate wasn't open yet at 7am so we parked next to the camp ground then walked to old dam. It was a bit confusing but we had AllTrails map on so we were able to find paths. From old dam, we took oak canyon trail then north fortuna saddle trail. Those rolling hills were definitely a great cardio. I took my 6 years old son. I am not sure if I call this trail a "family friendly hike" but my son actually liked it he had so much fun. For a 6 years old, the trail is full of adventures and challenges. It was Sunday but we barely see any other hikers on rolling hills. We saw some rabbits, encountered swarm bee tho!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Im a beginner hiker so for me this was amazing, those 3 first hills give you an amazing cardio workout for sure!!! I was going to do both north and south hike but we was running out of water so we couldn't and we did the hike at 10 am so it was definitely HOT !!! Tho we survived lol but you do need a lot of water to hike that over all I loved that hike, the views, there was no lake when I went and we went to a section where there's a bunch of threes and catch some shade and makes for amazing pictures totally recommend it I am doing it again and hopefully I'll do the south one also for sure

Friday, June 23, 2017

Did this one today in blazing 89F degree heat. Saw very few people out there. Parked by the old dam, and headed up the Oak Canyon trail to the Fortuna Saddle trail, up to the North Fortuna peak, and then back down via the Perimeter trail. About 3 hours in total. First thing: grab a map from the box at the trailhead. This whole area gets a bit confusing, some orienteering is needed at times. Second, bring 2-3 liters of water if it's above 80 degrees, you'll thank yourself. Thirdly, don't let the mere 1,200 feet of elevation gain fool you. The higher summits of nearby Cowles and Woodson pack considerably more gain, but have a series of switchbacks that ease the pain. On this hike, most of your elevation gains occur in a straight line. The trek from Oak Canyon trail up to the saddle is a pretty savage uphill march. Fourth, be advised they shutter all the gates in and out of the parking lot at 7pm, so get an early start. Overall this hike provides a great bit of cardio, tons of gorgeous scenery as you pass through diverse habitats: waterfalls, rocky dry riverbed, grassland flats, wooded areas, and a boulder clad summit. Views abound in all directions from the peak: downtown and Point Loma to the south. The peaks of Black Mountain, Iron Mountain, Woodson, El Cajon Mountain to the north and east. Cuyamaca peak clearly visible as well. This is a gem of a hike, and so close to the city center. I recently did the South Fortuna loop from the Mission Gorge Road trailhead, and I'd say this route was way more enjoyable. I look forward to doing it again and highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Great views! Totally worth the hill!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Great hike, great views, super hard! The steep hill is no joke. We did the loop back and ended up taking a lot more uphills on the way back too (and steep downhills) so my legs were done after this but so worth it. Lots to see!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Great view at the top. Wearing shoes with good traction is recommended.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Awesome trail, very steep hill

trail running
Friday, March 17, 2017

It's a good run, but the signage is really bad. It's almost comical how bad the trail markers are, you'll start out on North Fortuna and hopefully not end up in the middle lane of the 52!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Bitch of a hike but the view can't be beat!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Difficult uphill but fun!

Monday, January 30, 2017

This gps location starts you at the oak canyon trailhead, which merges with the trail to north and south fortuna summits. The oak canyon trail bit is easy and gorgeous - it's mostly flat and follows a brook, with waterfalls along the way. The fortuna trail, on the other hand, is very steep and gravely. Shoes with good traction are a must. The north fortuna summit view is gorgeous.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Great views - looking for something more challenging though....

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fun hike with lots of views. lots of scenery to take in. Saddle trail or Rim trail to the summit will be a good work out.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ever so challenging and ever so worth it on the glutes. It looks like you come to the freeway gate, but have faith once you see that it's all moderate.... worth every drop of sweat!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Great hike!

mountain biking
Wednesday, September 07, 2016

I've hiked, ran and mountain biked this trail both ways and it offers a greater challenge than any of the trails in the Five Peak Challenge. It's great training that makes me stronger but the loose sections up and down on the perimeter trail require patience and technique. It's work.

Monday, September 05, 2016


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