Stonewall Peak

Stonewall Peak hike

Distance: 4 miles | Hiking time: 2.5 hours | Difficulty: 5/10

Stonewall Peak sits just outside Paso Picacho Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The trail to the summit is a well maintained series of switchbacks that gradually ascends the western face of the mountain. This is a quick, relatively easy hike with outstanding views that stretch north as far as the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains.

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Cuyamaca Peak

Liebster Award Nomination

Distance: 6 miles | Hiking time: 3 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

Standing at 6512 feet, Cuyamaca Peak holds the top spot on the Sierra Club’s 100 Peaks of San Diego County list, and is officially the second highest point in the county. During the winter, Cuyamaca is one of the few places in San Diego that’s almost guaranteed to get snow. Aside from the views along the way, hiking the paved road to the summit isn’t that noteworthy. But if you don’t mind putting in the work to get there, the views from the summit are better than anywhere in the county.

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South Fortuna Peak

South Fortuna Peak hike

Distance: 4.5 miles | Hiking time: 3 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

South Fortuna Trail is best known for the wooden stairs that lead you up the final ascent to the summit, but there’s so much more to love about this trail. If you’re in search of a fun and diverse hike with an abundance of scenery and a few worthy challenges, then the hike to South Fortuna Peak will not disappoint. Oh, and did I mention that the views from the summit of South Fortuna Peak are spectacular?

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Viejas Mountain

Viejas Mountain Trail Hike

Distance: 3 miles | Hiking time: 2.5 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

The Viejas Mountain Trail hike takes you straight up the western face of the mountain to the summit. Viejas Mountain is a thigh busting, lung burning hike that’s the perfect length for a quick workout, and the rewards at the top are worth every ounce of energy it takes to get there.

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Bernardo Mountain

Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

Distance: 7.2 miles | Hiking time: 3.5 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

Overlooking Lake Hodges and located along the Coast to Crest Trail in San Dieguito River Park is Bernardo Mountain. The vast number of wandering trails that wind their way around the lake and over the surrounding hillsides make the park a popular destination for hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and birdwatchers. Bernardo Mountain is a fun, moderately challenging hike that is sure to please, regardless of your reason for going.

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Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain Peak Trailhead

Distance: 6.4 miles | Hiking time: 3.5 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

The “short trail” up Iron Mountain is a family friendly hike that will leave you invigorated and inspired. Get started early to beat the crowds, bring plenty of water, and you are certain to embark on a hike that you won’t soon forget.

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Mt. Woodson & Potato Chip Rock

Potato Chip Rock on Mt. Woodson Summit

Distance: 7.25 miles | Hiking time: 4.5 hours | Difficulty: 7/10

Potato Chip Rock, resting near the 2894 ft. summit of Mt. Woodson, attracts people from around the world. It has a celebrity-like status among visiting hikers due to the massive amount of attention it has received in social media over the last few years. Everyone wants a picture taken of them standing atop the iconic rock, and for good reason, they earned the right by simply getting there.

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Three Sisters Falls

Three Sisters Falls hike

Distance: 4.0 miles | Hiking time: 3 hours | Difficulty: 7/10

Three Sisters Falls is a popular hike buried deep within Cleveland National Forest, just southwest of Julian. The unmaintained trail is steep and rugged, and provides a variety of obstacles and technical challenges for the adventure seeking hiker who’s not afraid of bumps and scratches. When the water is flowing, the Three Sisters Falls are spectacular and offer a refreshing spot to cool off before setting out for the difficult hike back out of the valley.

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North Fortuna Peak

North Fortuna Peak hike

Distance: 6.5 miles | Hiking time: 4 hours | Difficulty: 7/10

North Fortuna Peak is the third highest peak in Mission Trails Regional Park, behind Pyles Peak and Cowles Mountain. This is a fun hike and an easy extension when hiking to South Fortuna Peak via the same route. There’s more than one way to reach the summit of North Fortuna Peak, but South Fortuna Trail is by far my favorite.

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McGinty Mountain

McGinty Mountain hike

Distance: 5.0 miles | Hiking time: 3 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

McGinty Mountain is part of San Diego’s 11,000+ acre National Wildlife Refuge and is home to some of the rarest plant species in the county. Despite having a relatively low peak elevation (2183 ft.) in comparison to some of its neighboring peaks, like Lawson and Gaskill Peaks, the panoramic views from McGinty Mountain’s summit are no less spectacular.

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