5.5 miles, 2139’ elevation, 1580’ elevation gain, 2.5 hour duration, rated Hard
Rising out of a rural community you can’t really get away from the sprawl of man. So being a nature lover of wilderness it isn’t my favorite type of hike. That being said the trail is rugged dirt and rock, steep in places, and covered in chaparral. The area is beautiful it’s just that everyone else thought so too and moved here.
Little scramble at the top over some boulders to the summit provides great views of San Diego all the way to Mexico, Mount Laguna, Cuyamaca Peak, Palomar Mt and the Pacific Ocean.
This hike isn’t as popular as some of the other San Diego Peaks so you should be able to find parking in the small lot, but beware there are some reports of break ins and I am always wary of that after my rig has been broken into before.
Thanks for joining me peak bagging Mt McGinty, one of the San Diego 100 Peaks List, as I found myself “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”. We all need Balance in our busy world of appointments and deadlines, squeezing time in for this and squeezing time in for that. Balance can be discovered during adventurous outings in Nature even on a rather urbanish hike. It’s still worthy effort to the top, a good trail, and great views- even it the view is urban sprawl, it’s all good. If you happen upon the menu at the top you might checkout hikes that are a little more wild, if that is what you are looking for, as you seek that all important Balance. I invite you to stay informed on all things PBTA by doing these easy things: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu is categorized by location or activity, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my hat then why not purchase one at SHOP APPAREL, where you will find my line of Adventure Wear with the PBTA Logo and Mantra.
We took our 4 Runner TRD Pro to the mud caves. You might make it in a regular car, but then again you could bottom out on a rock, or get stuck in the soft sand.
We checked out the first couple things that we saw, which were not the main event. They were interesting but… We hiked up the hill a bit in a couple places. There were drop offs into a large vertical hole that we could not see a bottom from where we were.
When my son Alec and I got to the actual cave it was a little disguised as it is not a large opening. Once we ducked inside it opened up and I was left with one word, “whoa…” I have to say although they were fascinating and very cool that this was the sketchiest cave, cavern, or mine I have ever been in as the whole place was made of what seemed to be the consistency of a dirt clod.
It was crazy. This cave of dried mud made twists and turns back and forth. Some times there were places that the light shined in, but mostly you were in pitch darkness. Alec and I were well armed with a flashlight and a powerful head lamp so we had adequate illumination. It was pretty spooky with cracks in the dirt walls, as well as places where chunks had crumbled off. While we were deep inside this mud hill a helicopter flew over and we could hear it pretty well which was freaky me out making me realize this was a big hollow hill of dirt without a lot of density. There were spots that we would come out into the light and then back into this cavern of dirt. The passageway was quite long, and then we emerged snaking our way through a slot canyon of this dried mud, which also was very cool. At the end of this arid mud maze we climbed up on top and enjoyed a great view of the badlands and distant mountains.
We did not do the second mud cave which had a large opening. We thought we had done one, it was great fun, we loved it, but this one must be similar. I decided that we had pushed our luck enough as it was. My son and I were the only ones out there and the State Park Rangers warned us how unsafe this place was and that it was cordoned off. Unsafe I would agree, but it was not blocked off. Probably just that it was not recommended is more like it. The Ranger, that we spoke to at the Visitor’s Center at Borrego Palms, continued trying to dissuade us by mentioning that if we got stuck that Triple A doesn’t come to Anza Borrego.
Thanks for joining Alec and I as we were discovering new places to be ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Being in a cavern of dried mud is certainly a different place, yet we found it exciting and fascinating, a spot that you don’t know what is around the next bend. Wondrous experiences in nature can certainly recharge one’s batteries and can make getting back to the world of school, and the pressures of making the grade more balanced which is so important. This was a special time together that Alec and I spent Off-Roading, hiking and adventuring. Wonderful Father and Son trek. To aid you in finding your own Wondrous Experience in Nature please say tuned by this manner: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Go to the menu above and you will see that PBTA travels extensively throughout the West on Adventure. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. SHOP APPAREL can fulfill your Adventure Wear needs with my line adorned with the ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ logo and mantra.
Cuyamaca Peak is one of the “Six Pack of Peaks” coveted by Peak Baggers for being the second highest peak in San Diego County. The views from the top stretch from Mexico to the Coronado Islands, San Jacinto, to Granite Mountain in Anza Borrego, and it really is quite spectacular.
The State Park Charges $10 for day use, and there is a campground there if you are so inclined. This hike is a loop and I recommend doing it counter clockwise. If I had more time I might have done the hike as an out and back utilizing the Azalea Glen Trail portion in both directions. The second portion of this hike is down a paved fire road and that certainly is not my favorite, but you can cruise down it relatively quickly.
The hike starts out rather flat and gentle weaving through a wooded area with a variety of trees such as oak, alder and pine. Even though this area is recovering from one of the worst wildfires, a large portion of the trail is shielded from that view as the brush is built up along the trail. The hike becomes steeper adding some switch backs and you will experience some rocky areas so sturdy hike boots are a plus. You will be dumped out on a dirt fire road for a small section before taking the Conejos Trail all the way toward the summit where the final section is on the paved fire road called Lookout Road. On top you will have astounding views all around.
This state park had a series of incidents in the 80’s and 90’s regarding mountain lion attacks one which was fatal. Encounters with cougars are very rare. If you have a backpack on, leave it on to protect your back and neck as much as possible. If you should run across one of these animals make yourself big, wave your arms, throw rocks and sticks, yell at it, and do not crouch down. How do you pick up a rock? Well, that is a good question. We have all seen that one viral video where the mountain lion followed the guy for like a mile, and every time he bent over to pick up a rock it charged all fangs and claws, but when he finally did get a rock and flung it at the large cat it took off in a flash. The good news is those attacks were a long time ago and nothing like that has happened in over 25 years.
As I mentioned I took the paved route down on the Lookout Fire Road as shown on the map. It was late in the day so I just cruised down the road. Not the natural feeling that I felt on the way up, but it was quicker.
Thanks for coming along on this trek up Cuyamaca Peak. People have been ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in this area for 7000 years. To ensure that you remain on this journey to self fulfillment please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you peruse the menu above you will find that PBTA ventures to many fine locales throughout the West, so you should be able to uncover plenty of inspiration there. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you need Adventure Wear, such as that pictured, you can find top quality gear with the Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Logo and Mantra at SHOP APPAREL.
5 miles, 550 elevation gain, 3 hour duration, rated Moderate
Date: May 6, 2021
This hike descends into a canyon rather steeply and there are loose rocks, so watch your footing. When you’re on top there are houses and power lines, all the things you are trying to get a break from. Once you drop down into the canyon you gain much more of that natural ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ feel that you’re looking for with oaks, hills, streams and a quaint waterfall that’s so scenic that it it appears it could be the model for an A List Celebrities’ backyard. It has several drops to it, but it is not very tall. What Penasquitos Creek Falls lacks in stature it makes up for in South West ambiance.
San Diego’s Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve boasts varied habitats chaparral, marsh, grassland, and woodland.
While I was making my way along the trail, I caught a glimpse of a dark figure stretching it’s neck and eyeing me. It stayed as still as a grave not moving a muscle. I snapped a pic of what I thought was a coyote while others are saying a dog. But to me the ears and the sharp snout and the slightness of it’s frame and shoulders. I thought it was a coyote. Also it was on it’s own and quite skittish. If I stayed still it would have continued be motionless, but when I took that first step In that direction it vanished like a ghost not down the trail, rather into the underbrush and without the slightest sound. Like many SoCal trails there was plenty of scat to indicate a healthy and thriving coyote community, so I still say coyote.
Thanks for joining me on this fun hike into Penasquitos Canyon Preserve where the sound of rushing water tumbling over rock just sort of puts everything back together and really puts one at ease. For more mending experiences in nature stay with me by doing a couple of very simple things: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu above shows many wonderful spots throughout the West that PBTA chases that equilibrium that we all need. The escape we desire from the mundane and the monotonous, as well as the Helter Skelter of modern life. Each location is a separate Website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Click this link: SHOP APPAREL for top adventure gear from PBTA. Each piece carries the logo and mantra.
The mostly single track trail is well marked along scenic rolling hills of rock and chaparral. Much of the journey is along a rocky path, sturdy shoes are suggested. The trek to Iron Mountain sets out flat, then begins the incline. Heading up to the summit hikers must tackle quite a few switch backs.
This is one of the more popular hikes in the area and one of the tallest peaks in Poway. The day I was there we were experiencing the Spring time phenomenon known as “May Gray”, (marine layer that usually burns off later in the day), which gave Iron Mountain a moody vibe, unfortunately this also blocked the view at the summit. The Boy Scouts had an excellent viewing scope at the top to point out what we would have seen.
I met a couple, the woman was wearing a Forest Ranger shirt. It turns out she recently lost her brother who was a Forest Ranger. She was wearing his shirt on hikes as a tribute of his life, which I thought was very touching.
Iron Mountain is certainly a fun and enjoyable hike. Even though the sights were not what they could have been the May Gray kept it from being too hot and the surrounding terrain was still wonderful.
I hope that you enjoyed the jaunt to Poway’s Iron Mountain while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. I love the rocky chaparral covered hillsides. In order to love more adventures in nature with the goal of balancing out a busy work a day life please: FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE. To enjoy other spots in the West that are filled with natural beauty go to the menu above, each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. You will need adventure wear and I literally have you covered at SHOP APPAREL.
Trestles is the famed surf spot that the Beach Boy’s sang about in ‘Surfin’ USA’. Trestles is named after the railroad trestle over a portion of the Trestles Wetland. Trestles consists of three distinct areas each with a little different wave: Uppers, Middles, and Lowers. Trestles is the site of the World Surf League Finals in Sept of 2021.
Trestles Beach is located at the Northern Tip of San Onofre State Beach in North San Diego County. The access is through San Clemente which is the boundary between the OC and San Diego County.
Park on Cristiantios Road not to far from where it crosses the 5 San Diego Freeway, close to Carl’s Jr. There is a dirt path trailhead that heads through a brushy area under the freeway and under the train trestle and then on to the beach. It is about a 15 minute walk.
It’s a cool beach in that it has a natural feel as you come up over a little sand dune area to it. Also because there is not parking lining the beach, such as Huntington Beach-Surf City USA or some of the popular San Diego Beaches. Trestles is like a step back in time as you head down that dirt path to the beach. The Trestles Wetland Nature Preserve gives Trestles some of that natural scenery as it basically is untouched.
The beach itself is broad with a few too cool for school surf cabanas. Since it is a haul to get yourself down to the water, along the sandy path, up and down the beach, to the favored surf spot, with your wet suit and your board you’ll notice that most of the surfers have e-bikes with fat tires and a mount for their board.
My son Alec and I checked out the break, the surfers, and walked along the sandy stretch of golden sand as far north as we could go before we ran out of beach with the tide reaching the rocks. We followed a couple of surfers tip toeing along the railroad ties for a portion and then back on the beach heading south towards the now decommissioned San Onofree Nuclear Power Plant.
On our return we rejoined the Trestles Wetland Nature Preserve Loop, which took us up a bluff through a brushy area. I have to say that the nature preserve isn’t really something that you would come to see, at least I wouldn’t. It is a just a thicket that is completely natural and looks like you would have to have a machete to penetrate. I have heard that it is a bird watchers spot. Once you make it up on the bluff the path joins a roadway that is used by runners, walkers, and bikers and continues towards San Onofre State Park. We followed it North back to the dirt path we had come in on.
“Dude, there’s like some gnarly waves out there to day, ya’ know. It’s like a totally awesome lineup with killer overhead barrel rolling in. Picture this- down the face, bottom turn, off the lip, the tube cover up! Dude!!! You are so happen’n!” – Roger Jenkins
Thanks for joining son Alec and I for a day at the beach. I love the beach so much, and it is so fun to checkout the stupendous beaches California has to offer. Stay with us for more hikes, and beach adventures by doing these very simple things: FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE. If you go up to the menu you will discover the many places that ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ romps. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. I am sure that will give you ideas about leaving the couch and your computer behind, setting out on your own adventure in nature, and in doing so release some of the stress and toxins brought on by a hectic world. Adventure such as this is the first step in seeking a more harmonious balance. If you need a hat to keep the bright California sun out of your eyes or from burning your nose go to SHOP APPAREL. The cool PBTA logo adventure wear even has some shirts with UPF 50+ Protection!