PCT: Campo to Lake Morena

HARD 9 reviews
#68 of 121 trails in

PCT: Campo to Lake Morena is a 18.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Rancho Del Campo, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
18.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,801 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

backpacking
1 month ago

This is a tough section of trail. After the first mile or two, the next eight to nine miles are mostly an uphill slog. Be careful with your water rationing. I did not find a campsite until mile 11.2 on the AllTrails gps app. Keep your eye out for a small clearing on your left through some bushes. It’s mostly flat scree, but toward the rear, in front of some bushes on the other side, there’s some dirt where I was able to stake out a couple of guy lines. My Tarptent Rainbow is free standing using trekking poles, so I only had to stake out two guy lines, one for the vestibule and one for added room at the rear of the tent. I only had about a liter and a half of water, out of 6 liters, left the next day to make it to Lake Morena. It wasn’t enough. Again, ration your water. Still learning the AllTrails app, and accidentally deleted the remaining recording from the campsite to Lake Morena. There was another campsite I saw further up the trail, but it wasn’t until about between miles 13 and 15, I believe. Hindsight being 20/20, I’d say the best options are to either plan to camp at about 11.2 miles or just go to Lake Morena in one day (about 20 miles even though the map says 18.7).

For the ladies, the site I found is behind some brush. You’re fairly shielded. The campsite opportunity at between miles 13 and 15 would allow you to camp much further off the trail and possibly be unseen from the trail. A note to everyone: PACE yourselves at the beginning of this hike. The uphill walk is deceptive in that it is gradual, but can be brutal if you attack it aggressively as I did. I’m aware of what a previous reviewer wrote. I disagree. I’m not trolling, however, my experience was that it was not mostly flat. Also, it does get easier after the first 10 miles, but there are two rather long and steep uphill portions towards the end. However, nothing like Mt. Baldy or Mt. Whitney. Enjoy!

2 months ago

The best trail I've ever been on in my life! I was physically drained by the time I got to the Lake but the entire experience was amazing! It's well worth camping at the lake when you get there!

10 months ago

thru hiked the PCT in 2016 doing it again in 2018

hiking
11 months ago

We did this trail to accompany our friend on the first day of her journey on the PCT. It was a great day hike that got pretty challenging at the end. There was little shade and no water, so be prepared for that. And lots of rattlesnakes.

hiking
Friday, May 12, 2017

We did this hike last Saturday 5/6/17 and were extremely fortunate with the overcast weather…perfect for hiking. Our biggest concern was the logistics of getting to the trailhead and where to leave our vehicles. We came from North County San Diego and didn’t want to drive all that way in 2 vehicles…. Initially we thought we would leave 1 car at Lake Morena then drive down to the trailhead and park the 2nd car there, the plan was to hike back to Lake Morena get the vehicle then drive back to Campo to pick up the other car. Well all the reviews online advised against leaving your car in Campo so we just took one car and winged it.
We drove straight to Lake Morena ($5 parking for the day) and asked some friendly campers standing outside of their RV if we could pay them to drop off us at the Southern Terminus…easy peasy! I’m British and it helped that the first guy we asked was a fellow brit so he was happy to help!
Driving to the Southern Terminus it was really foggy so we drove against the border wall, missed the trail head and wasted a good 30mins of our friendly helper’s time…on the way back we noticed the American flag in the distance and the trailhead is near that… there are numbers spray painted on the sketchy border wall and we remembered from looking at the reviews online that it was near number 40 something.
The hikes first 10 miles were quite flat, the scenery was very cool although half way into it we were walking in fog so we probably missed out on some epic views.
We saw quite a lot of through hikers that were just starting out so were totally jealous that they were getting to complete the whole thing, people from Germany, Switzerland and a few hikers from the East Coast.
We were racing through until we reached Hauser Canyon which was really daunting looking up at that beast… as we started to ascend it started raining which at first was awesome but half way up the wind really picked then we were freezing!! Still was glad to be doing it in that weather as opposed to in the blaring heat.
The hike in total took us around 10 hours including breaks. Was sad when it finished but was chuffed to have been on the PCT. We are training for Whitney so this was a good long distance hike but not much elevation gain until the end. Next on the list ….Mount Baldy … : )

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago