San Diego Trails: El Cajon Mountain

Crotalus viridis - Southern Pacific Rattlesnak...

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San Diego Trails: El Cajon Mountain

The El Cajon Mountain Trail is not for the faint hearted, or the unfit! It’s a pretty difficult hike so don’t even attempt it unless you’re up to the job. Having said that, the scenery (especially if you get to the top) is absolutely spectacular of the ocean and the Cuyamaca Mountains on a clear day. You shouldn’t bump into too many other hikers either so you really do get the feeling that you’re 100’s of miles from anywhere. Be prepared to scramble over some rocks and enormous boulders at around the 600 ft mark, then it starts to get really tricky . . .  

The El Cajon Mountain Trail is about 11.8 miles (mostly uphill, and it even feels like that when you’re coming back down). Allow a good 5 or 6 hours to complete the hike, including photo stops and a munch break (bear in mind that the parking lot closes at 5pm so set off nice and early).  The best time to hike the El Cajon Mountain Trail is either in the spring or the fall, it can get pretty hot during the summer time and in the winter . . . well, it’s tricky enough in the good weather!  Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, they live there.

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