Viejas Mountain Trail

HARD 147 reviews
#11 of 119 trails in

Viejas Mountain Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Alpine, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is best used from February until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1473 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

hiking
15 days ago

Did this hike last minute by myself. Great hike! The directions on All Trails doesn’t tell you the exact address of the trailhead. Use Google Maps to get the exact address. Great mountain hike to train for bigger mountain hikes like Mt. Whitney and Mt. Elbert. Very scenic and never crowded which I loved! Be careful going down. A lot of loose rock. Loved seeing the American Flag at the top and sitting on the big rock on the summit admiring the view. Took me about 2.5 hours out and back. Highly recommend this hike!

2 months ago

Great workout, very steep with little flat areas. My favorite part was the lack of people, the various and thriving vegetation, the beautiful view, and little treasures left at the top.

The entrance is a little ways beyond the visitors sign, and it's a small opening in between a fence.

hiking
2 months ago

great hike! Viejas is one of my favorites and its only 30 mins from my house. first time taking this route. shorter than alternate. pretty rocky and narrow at times. began at 6 am and only ran in to 2 other people on their way down already. someone replaced the small American flag with a nice beautiful new one. the views are incredible at the top there's a rock wall and geo marker with vodkas on it. thank you to whoever did that! easy to follow trail up. its always pretty windy at top so if you're going early in the morning or later in the day layer up. on the way down the trail you'll come to a cleared area with rocks sometimes in different patterns, go right down that hill not straight. I did that then realized I was going the wrong way. oh and the coffee can needs a new notebook ill bring one next time in case someone doesn't.

hiking
2 months ago

This is the most physically demanding hike that I have ever done. Now, this means that a) I have not/do not hike all that much and b) I have R.A. & primary lymphedema in both legs so am already dealing w/ some physical things that most people are not. This also means that fully capable individuals have no room to complain here because if I did it, you can too! This hike goes straight up and is rocky and has no shade. However, after turning around and looking out toward the ocean for the first time about 30 minutes into the hike, I was sold. The views while going up as well as from the summit are stunning! Because the terrain did require a lot of attention, I really did not mind that there wasn’t all that much to look at while on the trail since it is pretty right much dirt, rocks, and low dry shrubs. Typical for this area though and did think how scary it would be if a fire came through this area since I felt like I truly wouldn’t be able to navigate out of there at any faster speed than my slow and steady march. Great feeling of accomplishment w/ this venture and literally took about five breaks going up but was fine w/ doing so because of the great vantage points-it’s pretty neat to look down at a plane flying below you! Definitely recommend shoes w/ a decent toe guard and rock plate; there are only about three stretches less than ten feet in length that are relatively rock free; this is far from a relaxing stroll for me at least and I would steer clear any day w/ a high UV Index or if it gets hotter than 75 degrees. In late November there was a nice breeze and the sun wasn’t as searing as other times of the year even though we have had no winter at all so far late 2017/early 2018. Hoping for a cool Spring so trying to squeeze as much inland hiking in while I still can!

2 months ago

Pretty exhausting climb. Climbs @ a rate of 1000 ft per mile, steep grade (a total of 1500 ft from trailhead to summit over 1.4 miles). Today, the views were hazy but on clear days you are rewarded with 360 deg views. Rocky outcrop, watch out for loose stones and your knees on the way down. Ideal time to start would be 7:00-7:30am.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice views and not overcrowded

hiking
3 months ago

Super accessible and, arguably, has one of the best views in the county. It will quickly become one of your favorite repeats.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome views throughout the hike! It is a very steep and rocky trail. It gave me a good workout. Look for the trail log in a rusted aluminum can once you are at the end of the trail!

hiking
3 months ago

Holy hell, this one was super steep! Probably more on the upper intermediate strenuous level. I mean, it was after Christmas Day feasting and the donut holes in the morning probably didn’t help either but my heart was racing! Extremely rocky so make sure you have hiking boots with good ankle support or bring the trekking poles! Lots of brush and shrubs that you’re guaranteed to brush by so wear some pants. No cover the entire way so a hat and sunscreen is best. Summit held spectacular views! Loved the flag on a pole held in place by some heavy rocks. It’s not very stable so don’t go grabbing it! NOT a good hike for kids; they’ll lack the coordination to maneuver through the rocks. Apparently adventure pass is needed when parking on the truck trail. I got away without one somehow. Don’t listen to all the hiking snobs. The rocky terrain is indication enough that you’re on a damn mountain. Short but a good one for getting the HR up. Ended up being 3 miles RT for me. Maybe lots of rocks and brush but look up and you’ll see a ton of mountains stretching for miles in the background. This ain’t the Sierras but still amazing regardless.

4 months ago

I have done what I have never done before, agreed to quick a hike. This trail is that boring. It is no fun at all, especially in hot conditions( 80+ in these parts) there is little or no variation in terrain and nothing to see but small brush. Absolutely no shade. If you like a desert challenge and and suffering to come with it, choose this trail or El Cajon. They do nothing for me.

5 months ago

Super rocky. Really difficult to get your footing. I took a tumble coming down. So it's slow going.
Amazing views at the top. Beautiful flora and fauna. Birds and even a baby rattler.

hiking
5 months ago

It was our first time hiking it. I think it is a great trail for getting a good workout. The elevation change had some factor on my time as I did feel that. It's quite rocky too, so not sure how it would be in the evening. I'm sure it would be a great view during sunset, because on a clear day, you can see all the way to the ocean. I think the rating should be easy to moderate.

hiking
5 months ago

Pretty good work out, amazing views of Conejos Valley.

hiking
5 months ago

Went up this one on a cool, cloudy day. Not as hard as some claim, though I could see this being quite strenuous on a hot day. Narrow, rocky trail. Kind of boring terrain to be honest, very brushy. It doesn't feel like hiking a mountain, it feels more like walking up a really big hill. 360 degree panoramic view at the top is pretty epic though, once you reach the manmade rock fort. Blissful solitude, not a soul out here on a weekday afternoon. If I did this one again, I'd probably try the harder southern approach from the trailhead near the casino.

hiking
9 months ago

A quick hike up a fairly well maintained rocky path. Nice views.

10 months ago

Straight up via switchbacks and pretty rocky trail, but very pretty views at top and it's a nice quick trail for a great workout! Park along road to left once you hit the area with space for cars and start trail at the spray painted rocks. There is a false summit so keep going until you find the rock formations and mountain peak markers.

10 months ago

The "parking lot" is a small pull off & the trail is across from that. Definitely recommend ankle support if you need it. I was glad to have my brace on. Peaceful hike, and we were the only ones there on a Sunday.

hiking
10 months ago

Not hard to find the trail; right across the road from the parking lot. I would recommend wearing good ankle support as the entire trail is loose rocks. Enough of an incline to get the blood moving, but not too steep most of the way. When you reach the top of the trail continue farther on the trail to the left which will go to the highest point where the flag and geomarker are located. Not a really long trail, but a good workout and great views in all directions.

hiking
11 months ago

Steady hike up to the peak with nice views. It's a little harder coming down so be sure to watch your step and take your time so you don't fall! There's a spot that seems like the peak, but the trail keeps going a little further and you can actually see it ends at a small rock fort-type area. We went during the middle of a weekday and no one else was there but the entrance isn't super obvious, you really have to look. All and all it was a nice hike!

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful views and never crowed but the trail is quite rocky. I would recommend trekking poles as the rocks are loose.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Good, steep hike. Lotsa loose rocks. Exposed, no shade, but great time of year to do - April. Hiking poles were nice for the trip down. Lotsa butterflies at the peak, not at the "false peak". We did come across a big, fat red diamondback rattlesnake about .25 from the trailhead as we finished. Big ol' sucker! Been looking at that mountain for years and finally climbed it. Yeehaw!

hiking
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Not a bad hike. Very rocky. Going back down was hard on the ankles. My dog sure did love it though!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Nice hike. It's steep and rocky but never gets to tough.

hiking
Monday, March 20, 2017

Hiked this on March 19. Got to the parking area at about 8:45am and the weather was very agreeable. The final drive up to the trail head is a bit bumpy but my Prius made it just fine. If you are worried or if rain made the road hazardous, you can park at the green tanks or the nearby neighborhood and walk to road to the trail head, would only add about 5-10 extra minutes.

The trail itself is rocky, can be loose, and fairly steep. I don't consider myself in the best shape, but I train for elevation gains and this was a nice steady climb. I never got too winded to stop, but definitely got a sweat. I made it to the stone wall in just under an hour. The last .25 miles to the top were a bit overgrown and prickly, got a few scratches, might want to wear long pants if you are worried about it.

Great views at the top, I sat on the geological marker and ate a snack.

The descent is a little tougher. It is pretty steep and loose. If you have hiking poles, I would recommend them. I have never used them but this one nudged me closer to consider it. It was just under an hour for my descent.

Overall, this a nice short out and back peak trail. Good for casual hiker and those looking for a leg/lung burner. I ran into two groups on my way up and 4 on my way down, not overly crowded but it does seem like a well used trail.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Great hike if you like hot, fast, and steep! I went on a Sunday around noon, there were only about 3 cars there and I only saw 4 groups of people (very low traffic in my opinion). The hike seems to follow a wash most of the way up; very few switchbacks and you are heading straight up. There is a false peak maybe around 1000' up, but keep going until you get to the rock wall, that is the true peak.

Park by graffiti rocks shortly after the road turns to dirt (don't worry if you have a small car, it's a quick drive on the bumpy road and I doubt you will have any issues). Head right up through the graffiti rocks and you are on your way. It took me about 2 hours (with a solid 30 minute break at the top). Bring water, you will need it. There was a fire here in 2003, which is not evident anymore but has removed any chance of shade so wear a hat and sunscreen.

The area is an Indian reservation and there used to be a stone arrow at the top, it used to point to a peak where the sun would rise during winter solstice (Dec 18-23). It is believed to have been a shrine in celebration or worship of the solstice. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the '70s by careless campers. I believe the rocks from the stone wall were the rocks from the arrow.

Dog friendly, a good little workout, great views, and minimal traffic. Not a bad Sunday spent in San Diego!

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Great trail close to home! Beautiful views at the top!

hiking
Thursday, March 09, 2017

i live next to viejas mtn. and have hiked it many times. the mountain offers a breathtaking view, but at the cost of a stark climb. the view i would argue makes it worth it

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

I'm really glad I hiked this trail. I don't hike as much as I used to, so it was a bit of a challenge. I started early to beat the heat, but it was still pretty warm. My feet and hips were aching by the time I got back to my Jeep. Probably time to invest in a new set of boots. :-)

hiking
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Great hike! Pretty steep, not too many switchbacks. Be aware of the false summit, I thought it was the top.

hiking
Monday, February 20, 2017

Great hike, never crowded. Good view of the valley

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