Kwaay Paay Peak Hike from the Old Dam Trailhead

Kwaay Paay Peak Hike is a challenging hike with a quick ascent that takes you through a forest of manzanita trees, making it an enjoyable experience. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and be ready for a workout that will challenge your legs and lungs as you ascend to the summit. Keep in mind that it’s a relatively short hike, so you should have enough energy to appreciate the view from the summit.

RELATED: Kwaay Paay Peak Trail in San Diego’s Mission Trails Regional Park

The Old Dam trailhead for Kwaay Paay Peak is wide open and provides an unobstructed view of the summit. It soon transforms into a rugged path surrounded by Southern California chaparral and manzanita forests. Gradually the trail becomes more challenging, with loose rocks, ruts, and boulders. But don’t worry, there are several stairs placed along the trail to help you navigate the steep ascent.

Kwaay Paay Peak trailhead trail signs

Before you know it, you’ve reached the summit of Kwaay Paay Peak. Sit down for a snack or to catch your breath while you enjoy the view from the top.

My Experience Hiking Kwaay Paay Peak Trail

Kwaay Paay Peak trail offered a fun and challenging hike, but it was a bit short for my liking.

I particularly enjoyed the hike through the manzanita forest and the dense scrub that surrounded the trail. The stairs were a nice touch and I was thankful to have them as the steep grade makes navigating the loose rocks and gravel a bit difficult in places.

Kwaay Paay Peak trailhead trail signs

The summit experience was a little disappointing, however. While I appreciate the park’s efforts to protect the environment, the view from the summit was partially obstructed by a bright orange construction fence.

I believe the fence is in place to discourage adventurous hikers from venturing down the southwest face of the mountain. And the absence of a connecting trail was also a drawback of this hike for me. Connecting the trail to the Climber’s Loop Trail would be a nice addition and make the hike more enjoyable.

2 thoughts on “Kwaay Paay Peak Hike from the Old Dam Trailhead

  • I hiked this trail back in January. It was the last peak of the three I hiked that day; South and North Fortuna were first. By the time I got to Kwaay Paay,I was very tired and did not enjoyed the scenery, I just wanted to finish so I can go home and rest. However, I remember it was a beautiful trail and decided that I would like to go back.
    I hiked the trail again this morning and this time I really enjoyed it. It was short but challenging. I loved the aboundance of wild flowers and the presence of so many birds; especially humming birds which are my favorite! Yes it’s short but, if you do not have a lot of time and just want a quick workout, this trail is perfect for that. By the way, I love your blog and your trail reports! Thank you for sharing all this info with us, I’m really learning a lot here.

    • Wow… three peaks in a day is no small feat! I’m glad you were able to revisit Kwaay Paay. It really is a beautiful hike and well worth the time and effort. Thanks for reading, Prieta. I really appreciate the feedback, and always love to hear when someone finds the information useful!


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