Gaskill Peak via Lawson Peak Trail in Cleveland National Forest

Tucked away in the heart of San Diego, Cleveland National Forest presents a hidden gem to outdoors enthusiasts, Lawson Peak Trail leading to the majestic Gaskill Peak. Known for its challenging terrain and rewarding vistas, this trail is a must-visit for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

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Trailhead Information and Facilities

The Lawson Peak Trailhead is accessible from Lyons Valley Road in Alpine, CA. Parking in most parts of Cleveland National Forest requires an Adventure Pass, so be sure to pick yours up before you visit. There are no facilities available at the trailhead, emphasizing the rural and remote nature of this hike right from the get-go.

About Gaskill Peak and Lawson Peak Trail

Lawson Peak Trail is a difficult, out-and-back 7.1 mile hike that rewards your efforts with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet to the summit of Gaskill Peak. This adventure typically takes about 5 hours to reach the peak elevation of 3,836 feet and descend back to the trailhead. Given the trail’s rigorous nature, it’s more suitable for experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, but your leashed dogs are welcome!

Hiking Lawson Peak Trail to Gaskill Peak

Navigating the Lawson Peak Trail is straightforward but challenging. The hike begins on a smooth track but gradually gets steep and rugged as you ascend towards Wisecarver Road near Lawson Peak. There are no trail markers, so consider the intersections carefully. Follow Wisecarver Road north towards Lawson Peak until you locate a trail leading west toward the summit. The final push will require some bushwhacking and light rock scrambling before you reach the peak.

What to Expect When Hiking to GaskillPeak

As you hike the trail, you’ll be met with varying terrain – expect rocky paths, steep inclines, and patches of native vegetation. Don’t underestimate this hike; remember to carry plenty of water, wear sturdy footwear, and lather on the sunscreen.

The true reward lies at the summit where panoramic views of El Cajon Mountain, Mt. Woodson, Mt. Soledad, and the Los Pinos Mountains, among others, await. The trail’s unique position offers breathtaking perspectives that are best enjoyed during spring, fall, and winter.

When to Go

  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Winter

What to Bring & Wear

  • At least two liters of water
  • Adventure Pass is required in most areas around Cleveland National Forest
  • Gloves
  • Long pants