El Cajon Mountain Trail: El Capitan Hike, San Diego

Nestled in the heart of San Diego, El Capitan County Preserve beckons hiking enthusiasts for the El Cajon Mountain Trail, also known as the El Capitan Hike San Diego. The El Cajon hike offers not only an adrenaline-filled adventure but also breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding mountains, making it a must-do for every outdoor enthusiast visiting San Diego.

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Trailhead Information and Facilities

The trailhead of the El Capitan Hike San Diego is conveniently located within the El Capitan County Preserve. There’s ample free parking, and for your convenience, restrooms are available near the trailhead. Leashed dogs are also welcome on the trail, making it perfect for an adventure with your furry friends.

About El Cajon Mountain Trail

This hike is not for the faint of heart. It’s an approximately 11-mile round-trip out-and-back trail that tests your endurance with a challenging 4,000 feet of elevation gain, reaching the peak elevation at 3,675 feet.

Hiking El Cajon Mountain Trail

Embarking on the El Cajon Mountain Hiking Trail journey requires readiness for a test of endurance. However, your efforts will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean and the majestic surrounding mountains. The best time to hike is during spring, fall, or winter to avoid the hot summer temperatures. Ensure to carry plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the journey.

What to Expect on Your El Cajon Mountain Hike

The trail features diverse and challenging terrain, with sharp inclines and rocky pathways. Essential gear for this hard-level hike includes appropriate footwear and sunscreen. As you traverse the trail, keep an eye out for local wildlife and plants unique to the region.  

When to Go

  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Winter

What to Bring & Wear

  • At least three liters of water
  • Hiking shoes or boots with plenty of traction
  • Sunscreen & hat