Otay Mountain Trail

Dulzura, California 91917

Otay Mountain Trail

Otay Mountain Trail Professional Review and Guide

"One of the most spectacular wildflower displays I have ever witnessed was found one April day as I hiked along the northeast flank of Otay Mountain. The road to the summit was lined with a changing palette of blooming plants: yellow and red monkeyflower, morning glory, yerba santa, chaparral pea, wild pea, clematis, nightshade, mountain misery, and wild hyacinth. On one slope recently swept by wildfire, there were tens of thousands of bush poppy plants, each bearing hundreds of big, delicate, four-petaled flowers—millions of flowers in all, swaying in the breeze. The chance of a recurrence of such a fire-following floral event is quite high, since wildfires tend to sweep across these slopes every few years. Absent any wildflower displays, the route is particularly enjoyable during wintertime clear-air episodes, when you can enjoy some of the most sweeping visual panoramas in all of Southern California."

More Otay Mountain Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Otay Mountain Truck Trail is a well-maintained road that winds over the ridge tops of the San Ysidro Mountains. The trail is well used by the U.S. Border Patrol, which takes advantage of its ridge top views and turnouts to maintain an active presence near the international border. Expect to see their distinctive white and green vehicles along this trail. Although camping is not prohibited, you can expect a very disturbed night if you camp here. The trail follows a narrow shelf road for almost its entire length. The surface of the road is very smooth, but there are frequent blind corners and limited passing places. Mirrors have been placed on many of these corners to assist drivers in avoiding unexpected encounters on these bends. Special Attractions: Easy scenic trail that can be traveled in most weather; Views over the international border, San Diego Bay, and the San Ysidro Mountains. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions."

Otay Mountain Trail Reviews

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3/24/2018
My first trail in Cali. Never been off the side of a mountain before! Great experience great time! It looked like there where more trails off the path. Will return to explore some more.
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8/18/2017
Great little trail, super easy and well-maintained. Midday on a weekday, all gates were open so we had no trouble exiting on the west side near the prison. Started on the eastern entrance after gun range, which I'd recommend (go down Marron Valley road). Climbing up from the east is all dirt and quite fun. Once you reach the doghouse junction the road is then graded/gravel. There are short trails everywhere that meander away from the the main one where you can crawl up to get some sweet views. I took my Tacoma but only needed the 4x4 and extra clearance for exploring off of the main trail. See you out there!
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5/10/2017
Great views, easy maintained trails. Warning though: The southern exit (by the prison) has a locked gate now. You must U-turn (per border patrol). I did manage to find an exit nearby, but was pulled over afterward and warned by BP that it was private property and the owners will sue for trespassing if discovered. Just make the U-turn at the end of the trail, or take the other branch of the trail at the T at the midpoint. Would definitely go again and take the other path.
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8/25/2016
Started on the east side of otay mountain, on Marron valley right turn, go for several miles until Gun Range, keep going down, and u will see the trail keeps going, then you will see on your right hand side a little xing with OTAY MOUNTAIN TRUCK TRAIL written on it. Cell phone signal is very bad in this area, i recommend a stand alone bluetooth gps unit if u want to log your trip. I was glad didnt bump with anyone, no border patrol nothing. The uphill road is pretty long, so be patient, it just keeps going up. The road is from man filled gravel, it can be slippery because its just gravel when dry. Best traction when wet. Once you get to the very west exit gate, its locked. You will see a fire road going to the right side, take it and there is a tricky exit, u better have 4wd for this exit, as its steep, short and off camber. I was lucky my avalanche is modified with long travel suspension, and 35 inch tires, otherwise i doubt a normal avalanche can get out through there, its an exit for jeeps really, short wheelbase and narrower. That was really the only hard part, getting out.
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6/27/2016
Had a blast! Mostly dirt trail and some minor pot holes. Take Marron Valley Rd right (West) and go through a rural housing area. It'll take you up to the split. Follow the sign up to Dog House Junction and you can go all the way to the top. Ran into a couple Border Patrol Agents but they were cool. Took a stock 4x4 4Runner up and was fine.
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1/29/2016
Otay Truck Trail is a Great Experience. Excellent views of the Otay Mountains. Can see Mexico as well as Point Loma. Looking forward to next run
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10/13/2015
Was there with few friends, we had a great time. You might bump into border control. The view is amazing. You need a camera for that.
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1/21/2013
IMPORTANT NOTE: According the the Customs and Border Patrol Officer I spoke with and by all indications, the West end of the trail as shown is blocked off due to the land owner who has installed gates. I was told that a Mr. de la Fuente is the land owner and is restricting access even to the CBP. For this reason, we had to go to Thousand Trails Campground by Otay Lakes and start from there which will take you up to Doghouse Junction and is still a good trip. The road is not technically difficult but is steep and narrow. We only passed one other vehicle on the narrow part, and two vehicles total. At one point we explored a side road to the South which offered a whole lot of additional terrain that we will explore on a future trip.
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2/1/2010
Start point is after the gun range! the trail is extremely easy and maintained by Border Patrol but theres tons of difficult trails off the main one. Great scenic views.
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1/1/2009
This is a dirt truck trail the whole way to the summit but the almost continually beautiful views make up for that. This is a great training hike.
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Otay Mountain Trail Photos

Trail Information

Dulzura
Nearby City
15
Distance
2,500 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Difficult
Skill Level
7 hours
Duration
October through May
Season
Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs South Field Office
Local Contacts
USGS Otay Mountain
Local Maps