Distance:2.4 miles | Hiking time:1.5 hours | Difficulty: 5/10
Garnet Peak is located just off the Pacific Coast Trail on the northeastern edge of the Laguna Mountains. At 5900’ in elevation, it sits at number seven on the Sierra Club’s list of the 100 highest peaks in San Diego County.
Pine Mountain Loop is a fun, scenic hike that uses a series of connecting trails and fire roads to circle around, and eventually past the summit of Pine Mountain. The route is frequented by hikers and mountain bikers and offers views of Cuyamaca Peak, Middle Peak, Stonewall Peak and more. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a short hike off trail to the summit for a secluded picnic in a pine tree forest.
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.
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.
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.
The hike along the fire road leading to Lawson Peak is really just the price of admission. The real adventure begins when you reach the base of the peak and begin your scramble for the summit. If it’s a challenge you’re looking for, it’s a challenge you’ll find at Lawson Peak
With a peak elevation of 3836 feet, Gaskill Peak stands nearly 200 feet taller than its little sister 1.5 miles to the south, Lawson Peak. Gaskill Peak can be hiked by itself or included as an add-on adventure when hiking to Lawson Peak.