Viejas Mountain Trail - South Approach

HARD 51 reviews
#46 of 149 trails in

Viejas Mountain Trail - South Approach is a 4.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Alpine, California that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,030 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

views

over grown

rocky

no shade

historic site

The fist first 3/4 of a mile is very steep and rocky and a real leg burner. Then it sort of eases up a bit but is still almost all uphill. At 3/4 of a mile up, there's a nice mesa to give you a bit of a break for about 1/4 of a mile, then it's back up you go but the uphill grade is pretty steady from there. When you get to mile 1.95 it's the last steep part for .05 of a mile to the false summit plateau. Then it's .3 of a mile to the true peak of Viejas Mountain where the Benchmark and rock structure is. Max slope grade is 47° and average slope grade is 17°. In some of the steeper sections it's good to have trekking poles to steady yourself on the way down. On this trail you will notice that the mountain is playing tricks with you as it splits and disappears occasionally, but you just stop and look and you will see the trail again, a couple feet to the side. On the way back down you will see the trail in places you missed and if you record tracks you will see the paths differentiate. This is NOT a hike to do when hot as it is complete exposed with no shade.

hiking
over grown
1 month ago

Trails pretty cool and challenging. The important thing is it starts near the end of the dead end right under the 1000$ littering fine. It’s not obvious and we started at wrong spot and had to bushwhack up the first part of “trail” until we found it. On the way back we lost it so keep your eyes open at the beginning. After the first grade it becomes much easier to follow. The payoff towards the end is worth it. Make sure you add to the fort! ;-)

hiking
no shade
over grown
2 months ago

Zero signage anywhere on this trail...including the trailhead or summit. It was very overgrown in many parts, so using the trekking poles meant pushing them forward through brush. As the description states, trail is hard to find in places, but a few steps to either side will show where it continues. Super great workout! Took us 4 hours total, but a lot of that was stopping to find the trail.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Recently rained, very muddy and steep at the bottom. Trail became easier to follow higher up. Dog loved it!

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

wasn't too bad, the view was beautiful. I'm going back for more.

hiking
no shade
rocky
5 months ago

Awesome hike, I wouldn’t consider it difficult but finding your way may be slightly challenging. Overall beautiful, fun hike!

hiking
no shade
rocky
6 months ago

I would recommend this trail for anyone looking for a fairly challenging climb up to the peak. The trail offers very little shade, which wasn’t a problem for my hike with a cloudy sky. I felt the ascend was much more difficult then the descend, but both were very doable for a fairly experienced hiker. The view from the peak is breathtaking and there is a container with handwritten notes from others who have made the climb, it’s very cool and I would definitely recommend!

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Really really enjoyed this trail. Very rocky terrain and a great workout! With all the rain in the last week, a good chunk of it had water running down the trail. Water resistant boots were helpful. Just be careful; I slipped on a rock and had a semi-bad fall. Trailhead not marked. 360 views up top are worth it. Dog friendliness: My pup loved this! Lot of mud out there today, which he LOVED. The trail is narrow with bushes all along it, so a bit of maneuvering needed for passing with a dog (but doable). One downside was I ran into 3 dogs off-leash when it is a leash only trail (at least according to AllTrails). Visibility is sort of limited on this trail, so you don't see others coming up until you're too close (1 sprinted right up to my dog and another popped it's head out of the bushes right next to me). I really do get wanting to have your dog off-leash, but please be mindful!

hiking
7 months ago

simply amazing. rewarding and difficult.

10 months ago

Short but a great workout, the 360 view was so worth it.

hiking
Monday, June 25, 2018

This hike absolutely kicked my butt and I loved it! That first .75 miles or so is pretty steep with minimal switchbacks. Parking - we confirmed with a forest ranger (who happened to be just finishing up the hike!) that it is Ok to park at the dead-end at Willows Road. A previous reviewer suggested this might be a private road, but the forest ranger confirmed it's fine. Trail head - not marked, but starts just behind the "$1000 fine for littering" sign. Look out for the pink & blue trail markers! Very helpful. I agree with another reviewer who recommended just looking up the hillside if you loose sight of them. The way down was almost more challenging then the way up due to the loose rocks and steep grade of the hillside. Walking sticks would have been a welcomed addition. We started early and got out before the heat hit. There is no shade along the way, so be prepared with water and sun screen! Really did enjoy the challenge of this hike! Looking forward to going back.

hiking
Saturday, May 19, 2018

No walk in the park with this hike. I could compare it with El Cajon minus the length. This is a butt kicker and you won’t get many flat areas in this hike. It was foggy and cool which it made it comfortable hiking. Can’t imagine doing this hike in hot weather. Hot shot firefighters train here. RESPECT!!!! Great view from top. I bet it would have been better in clear day but nonetheless, epic.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Laguna Hotshots fire crew use this hike for Physical Training. It definitely gets the job done :)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Easy parking off i8. Arrived 930am on a Sunday. I was the only one there . Great incline for leg pump to start for about 25 minutes. Flattens off after for a bit. Trail is reddish clay and rocks. Easy trail to follow. Hike lasted 2.5 hours with a 10min break. Only car there when I left

hiking
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nice variation on this summit if you want to get away from the people and do a cross country route. Steep sections and wash outs galore. Have fun. Better views from the ridgeline as well.

hiking
Monday, January 08, 2018

Great climb right at the start of the hike.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Awesome views on top, some portion of the trails are steep with very loose gravel, a trekking pole is a plus, specially on the way down.

hiking
Sunday, November 19, 2017

My dog and I enjoyed it, although it definitely was difficult. And especially at the beginning it was difficult to keep on the trail at times. Pretty overgrown in areas. I suggest long pants! And lots of water, full sun the whole way. Good views at the top!

Monday, November 13, 2017

My dog wanted to turn around so I️ didn’t make it to work b very tip, however beautiful scenery and sounds once you cannot hear the 8.

hiking
Monday, June 12, 2017

This trail is DIFFICULT/Strenuous! First 3/4 of a mile is very steep and rocky and a real leg burner. Then it sort of eases up a bit but is still almost all uphill. At 3/4 of a mile up, there's a nice mesa to give you a bit of a break for about 1/4 of a mile, then it's back up you go but the uphill grade is pretty steady from there. When you get to mile 1.95 it's the last steep part for .05 of a mile to the false summit plateau. Then it's .3 of a mile to the true peak of Viejas Mountain where the Benchmark and rock structure is. Max slope grade is 47° and avg slope grade is 17°. Downhill is also one heck of a workout(maybe more than up) as you are holding yourself UP while stepping downward not to mention you just had the uphill workout as well. In some of the steeper sections it's good to have trekking poles to steady yourself on the way down. On this trail you will notice that the mountain is playing tricks with you as it splits and disappears occasionally, but you just stop and look and you will see the trail again, a couple feet to the side. On the way back down you will see the trail in places you missed and if you record tracks you will see the paths differentiate. Had nice cloud cover today and it actually got a little chilly at times so I had to keep moving. This is NOT a hike to do when hot as it is complete exposed with NO shade at all. The mountain is also said to be haunted.

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