Tecate Peak Trail

Tecate, California

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Tecate Peak straddles the U.S./Mexico border, overlooking the twin towns of Tecate, California (a small settlement), and Tecate, Baja California (a city of more than 100,000 residents). Kumeyaay Indians called this peak “Kuchumaa” and believed that a holy power, for healing or harm, emanated from the mountain’s granitic boulders. According to oral historical accounts, shamans from tribes involved in disputes would meet at the summit for peace conferences. Archaeological evidence suggests that the mountain was also used for fertility ceremonies. Even today, descendants of the Kumeyaay, who have been granted vehicle access to the upper slopes of the mountain, make periodic journeys to its summit. Your hike up the mountain past the vehicle gate takes you through chamise-chaparral, spiced with yerba santa, and then, higher up, through low-growing carpets of a shrub called southern mountain misery. Mountain misery’s sticky, fernlike foliage exudes an aroma similar to witch hazel. Clusters of white flowers, resembling strawberry blossoms, appear on it during early spring.
Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)

Tecate Peak straddles the U.S./Mexico border, overlooking the twin towns of Tecate, California (a small settlement), and Tecate, Baja California (a city of more than 100,000 residents). Kumeyaay Indians called this peak “Kuchumaa” and believed that a holy power, for healing or harm, emanated from the mountain’s granitic boulders. According to oral historical accounts, shamans from tribes involved in disputes would meet at the summit for peace conferences. Archaeological evidence suggests that the mountain was also used for fertility ceremonies. Even today, descendants of the Kumeyaay, who have been granted vehicle access to the upper slopes of the mountain, make periodic journeys to its summit. Your hike up the mountain past the vehicle gate takes you through chamise-chaparral, spiced with yerba santa, and then, higher up, through low-growing carpets of a shrub called southern mountain misery. Mountain misery’s sticky, fernlike foliage exudes an aroma similar to witch hazel. Clusters of white flowers, resembling strawberry blossoms, appear on it during early spring.

©  Jerry Schad/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Tecate
Distance: 9.2
Elevation Gain: 1,900 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 5.5 hours
Season: November through May
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs South Field Office
Local Maps: USGS Tecate
Topo Map: Tecate Peak Trail Topographic Map
Guide Book: Afoot & Afield: San Diego County Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

11/29/2009

As of November 2009, a border patrol agent we ran into advised us that there had been much "activity" in the area recently. He went on to explain that the "activity" included two people attempting to cross the border who were shot by bandits attempting to rob them. He said it was fine to hike there, he just advised us to stay far away from any people we might see. The views are gorgeous, but it was a little difficult to relax while keeping an eye out for bandits that might try to rob and or shoot us. The turn off Highway 188 is a little hard to find. You want to turn right on the dirt road directly in front of the sign that says "International border 1500 feet", then take the first immediate right (if you go straight, the road quickly dead-ends). Stay on the main road until you get close to the peak, then find a place to pull off and hike the rest of the way up the road.

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