El Cajon Mountain Summit Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California

Distance5.0mi
Elevation Gain4,318ft
Trailhead Elevation1,818ft
Top3,653ft
Elevation Min/Max1818/3653ft
Elevation Start/End1818/1818ft

El Cajon Mountain Summit Trail

El Cajon Mountain Summit Trail is a hiking trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 5.0 miles long and begins at 1,818 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,318 feet. The trail ends near El Cajon Mountain (elevation 3,648 feet).

El Cajon Mountain Summit Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"As you walk along the granite-ribbed ridgeline, down the middle of the El Capitan Open Space Preserve, a binational panorama of ocean, islands, and innumerable mountain peaks lies in view. The broad San Diego River valley below curves beneath the sheer south face of El Cajon Mountain—the landmark informally known as El Capitan."

"As you walk along the granite-ribbed ridgeline, down the middle of the El Capitan Open Space Preserve, a binational panorama of ocean, islands, and innumerable mountain peaks lies in view. The broad San Diego River valley below curves beneath the sheer south face of El Cajon Mountain—the landmark informally known as El Capitan. If you have the determination to tackle some really severe uphills and downhills and get the benefit of a serious cardiovascular workout, try following the main route into the preserve—an old, sometimes precariously steep road bulldozed by miners years ago. It twists and turns over a scrubby, boulder-punctuated landscape that in spring comes alive with annual wildflowers and fragrant new shrubs that are participating in Nature’s grand post–Cedar Fire-recovery scheme."

El Cajon Mountain Summit Trail Reviews

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4/17/2010
Definitely a good hike. Starts off with a nice switch back section for almost a mile and then seems to get mellow for a while. Some of the uphill sections are steep, straight and long. When you get towards the end there are three trails. Go to the left for the summit of El Cajon Mt. The trail is almost non-existent. Just follow the stacks of rocks and remember the general direction should be "up". Views are great and the hike out is nearly as difficult since this trail is continuously up and down. Drink plenty of water the day before and bring plenty with you (about 3 liters).
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8/2/2009
Despite the fire, this is still a great trail. I have been hiking Stonewall for over 30 years and while I miss the canopy and shade the trees used to provide, noticing the ecosystem recover from the fires is awe-inspiring. Took my 7 YO. Mid-morning hike, a touch on the warm side until we got high enough.
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4/1/2009
The trek up El Cajon mountain is steep and challenging, but the views from the top are well worth it. Bring hiking poles because loose gravel makes many of the steeper sections slippery. This trail is made more tricky by the fact that not all of the up is on the way in. It is about 3000' of elevation gain on the way to the peak and about 1500' on the way back, so save some energy for the journey home.
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9/14/2005
Still growing back after fire but anice hike! Views are worth the trip alone. I recommend for a nice day out.
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2/1/2002
I found it was snowing up in the Cuyamacas - jumped in the car with cameras and headed up. This is a great 4.5 miles round trip, switchbacks most of the way, and even better with a good few inches of snow and clear blue skies. The views of Lake Cuyamaca below, and then Anza-Borrego Desert and the Salton Sea way out to your east, are stupendous. If it is icy, mind the chipped out steps and guard-rail - gets a bit slippery.
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El Cajon Mountain Summit Trail Photos

Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Near Lakeside
Local Contacts
USGS 7.5-minute San Vicente Reservoir and El Cajon Mtn.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018