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Guatay Mountain Trail

HARD 44 reviews
#41 of 152 trails in

Guatay Mountain Trail is a 5.3 mile out and back trail located near Guatay, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,564 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly







over grown



You will need an Adventure Pass. If you don't have one already, a nearby market called Perkins Market sells the pass for $5. Trailhead is a walk back up the road you came in on. Past the sign on the left about the Adventure Pass is a silver gate in the trees.

4 months ago

This is not a maintained trail. Parts of it appear to be an old firebreak. There are several stretches that are deeply eroded and require some careful footwork to avoid trenches several feet deep. Footing is sketchy, especially on the downhill segments, making it a two-trekking-pole adventure. This is an up and down hike with several knolls and ridges along the way to (and from) the summit ... in other words, the downhill also involves some climbing. The climbing isn't bad but the footing on the trail makes it quite unpleasant. The view from the summit is good ... most of the landmark peaks in the Cuyamaca and Laguna ranges are visible from the top. A good workout, but be careful. We had the entire mountain to ourselves the Saturday afternoon we hiked it, so assume you're all alone out there and don't take a bad fall requiring help.

5 months ago

Trail rated as Hard and IT IS ! After Trails turns abruptly left (pipe fence) and immediately goes uphill. This trail section is severely eroded into a 2 -3' rut. Definitely not recommended for horses, dogs & novice hikers. Strenuous, several hill climbs on rocky slippery terrain. But it's worth the view at the top.

washed out
8 months ago

8 months ago

A beautiful (and muddy) Sunday morning hike! I didn't see a single person out there. Trailhead: from the parking lot, walk back up the road you came in on. You'll come to the sign on your left saying you need a recreation pass. A bit past that in the trees to your left is a silver gate. That's the trailhead. Later on you'll come to a fork in the trail - head left past the rusty brown gate. The trail isn't too strenuous. There's a steep section near the end, but it's pretty short. After the recent rain the biggest issue was mud, but it was doable. Also, I didn't see any poison oak on the trail. Even with all the fog, I got glimpses of some great views at the top.

11 months ago

This was a better hike than I expected – as well as more difficult than I thought. It ended with some superb views at the summit of Guatay Mountain. I parked at the Pine Valley trailhead and found the trailhead for the start of this hike by following Ed Rubenstein’s guidance below. Fifty meters after you find the sign, look left and you’ll see the silver gate. Once you find the gate, you’re good to go. Follow the trail until you come to a junction of what seems to be a water run-off on the left. It’s marked by a thick brown metal fence. Take that left and start climbing in a southerly direction. As you get near the ridgeline, the trail will change direction and you’ll start hiking west. Just keep hiking in that direction and you’ll hit the summit – but you’ll hike some descents and some steep ascents. The view at the top is worth the effort.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ticks- ticks- ticks everywhere!! Overgrown- not much to see until you reach the summit and that’s all. A “been there, done that and never more” for me

Monday, February 19, 2018

Great trail but to echo their reviewers, not a beginners hill. We made it up and down along with a lunch stop near the top in just over 3 hours. Love the signing books up top, cool to see the log over many years. Just watch for the left turn with the brown metal post we missed it and had to double back.

Monday, February 05, 2018

This hike was quite easy to navigate and really beautiful views and landscape. There were some steep spots especially the last Half mile, which was really really steep. The hardest part really was coming back down because it was super slippery. I fell on my ass twice. We took our time on this part, but otherwise not the hike was pretty moderate. We hike a couple adventurous difficult to hard trails a month. My skill level would be classified as good, not great. Just for comparison

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I'll just say, read Ed Rubenstein's review (posted approx 11/2017) . It's pretty spot on.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Great hike with fabulous view. The only problem is finding the trailhead. The directions tell you to park in the parking lot and the trail head is 1/2 back, but that is not the case. Park in the lot and start walking back to where you see the sign on your left. Continue as the the road makes a right turn and just be for that look to your left carefully and you will see a silver gate. This is the trailhead. Continue on the trail until you come to a rusted railing on your left. Take this trail up. If you miss this turn off, you wind up at a silver fence in front of a road, turn back. The trail is not for beginners. This is definitely a hard hike and should only be attempted by those who are experienced hiker. There are 3 serious up and down mountain trails that you have to do before you get to the top, hiking poles are a must. However, it is worth every hard step of the way for the views. Coming back down is a bit tricky since the rocks and gravel slip and slid under your feet. Bring plenty of water especially if you are doing this in the summer heat. There is no shade once you get to the first peak. From there on out it’s blue sky and open views. Will definitely do this one again.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I parked at a pullout before the parking area requiring a pass to just hike. The trail was a nice variety of terrain and inclines with sections of loose rocks and the last section to the peak being very steep . A beautiful view in all directions at the peak and nice breeze to keep the flies away for a while. A very good workout and nice total distance of about 6 miles. Very enjoyable hike with great views all along the higher part of the trail.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The beginning of the trail runs parallel to Old Hwy 80 and is not very interesting. Where it starts to ascend there are a lot of rivets from water run-off. By that time I was almost over it but it starts getting good when you get to the ridge line because you get some impressive views of Pine Valley, Guatay, and the I-8 Pine Valley Creek Bridge. As others have noted the hills are steep and rocky in places. Also quite a few bugs (flies, wasps and gnats). I would bring bug spray next time. It was also very hot this June afternoon so I would go early in the morning in the summer.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

I would recommend trekking poles for this one. It's a bit steep at the end and slippery going down.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Great hike. I'll be back to do this one again. Beautiful scenery, challenging inclines. I brought my dogs and they loved it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Nice hike. Trail going up is rocky. Last portion up is STEEP!!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Not sure what the empty bullet case with string was blocking the trail. Nothing happen to me but be careful.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Late post. Last weekend, July 2, 2016 hiked Guatay Mountain Peak/Pine Valley Trail to the summit on a very warm day. Only saw a couple of hikers. This is a uphill, peak and valley hike all the way to the top. Approximately 0.50 mile before the summit is a very, very steep uphill, slippery rock trail and it was a doozy. I was pleased to see and sign the official peak log. Good hike with very little shade on the trail. Please to see an official peak log which always excited to sign! Registered 3.13 miles one-way to the summit and 4,863 ft. elevation!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Pretty good and very steep at the end. Decent views. In the bag.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Very nice 1/2 day hike. 5.8 miles round trip from the car and back. Did it in 2.5 hours hiking quickly. Only saw two other people, so it's a nice quiet hike... Beautiful views and even a geocache around as well.

Monday, February 29, 2016

This trail was no joke. Steep inclines and loose rocks... But the views made it worth it!

Friday, July 10, 2015

This was my first hike. This trail starts off quite steep with a lot of loose rocks. It was a great hike, we didn't quite make it all the way to the water. (If there was any) I would also like to add that the trail is not very overgrown and it is longer than 3 miles. also be aware of bees!

Monday, March 16, 2015

I just completed this hike with a friend on Saturday. We started at 6:45am and finished at 1:15pm. This hike was not that difficult, but was just VERY long. There was no particular section that was strenuous besides the length of it. I enjoyed it and would do it again. Make sure when you come to bring lots of water!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I will definitely be going back and doing this one again. Not far from my home. Easy to navigate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hiked this trail today. It was a bit rough in some places. There was water which I was surprised to see in this drought. The cattle are out there right now. Made it stink to high heaven and the dead cow in the creek didn't smell very pleasant either. Defiantly have to take your time with all the lose rocks. Watch out for downed trees too. Goes all the way to Lyons valley road if your so inclined. I did 5 miles out and then back. Rock walls are very interesting. Fun day over all. Good boots are a must and a full 3 liters of cold water. Wouldn't recommend it for horses. They do use that trail but it's dangerous on horseback.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hiked this as a kid, nice view and a good outing. Doesn't take too long to hike

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's just start by saying that this trail is for the adventurous. Its not too steep or scary; its just long and fairly uneventful, so you have to love being out in the open and exploring nature. We got to the trailhead at about 9:00AM, but still had to figure out the whole adventure pass situation, so we didn't get started until 9:30AM. (Perkins Market sells the pass for $5 - they're close, friendly, and have what you need!) We knew the hike would be a long one (alltrails says 13.8), so we basically just hiked until we knew wed run out of daylight. We got to Pine Valley Creek and turned around because we knew wed end up finishing in the dark, but didn't want to be too far out when the sun went down. There wasn't too much change in elevation; the hike mainly ran along the canyon, deep into the mountain rather than up any of the mountains. A little while after we started the hike, we noticed little blue ribbons (with stamps of Texas on them!) marking the trail. Though we followed the blue ribbons, were pretty sure they didn't follow the same trail as mapped on alltrails, so we might have ventured off of Secret Canyon Trail. Its still safe to say that we were on somewhat of a trail, in the canyon, and it must be fairly secret because it was not heavily traveled. Not sure who marked the trail, but its a good thing for these ribbons because some of the trail didn't look like a path at all. Its very overgrown and we ended up scrubbing through the bushes for a majority of the hike. My husband had jeans on, but my friend and I wore pants that left our shins exposed and they were completely scratched up (we earned those stripes!). We also brought our dog, a 30lbs schnauzer mix, who loved every second of the hike. It was a long one for him, but he didn't show it. My husband and I brought over 10 liters of water for the three of us (the schnauzer and his two humans), and my friend brought quite a bit of water for herself. We also packed a lunch and lots of snacks. I get very hungry on hikes. We finished at about 6:00PM, so we ended up hiking the last leg after sunset, but we did have flashlights so it wasn't too bad. After a long, full day of hiking (mostly squeezing through bushes), we were very glad to get back to the vehicle. Then we got burgers and shakes at Freds Old Fashioned Burgers in Alpine and limped home.

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