Inaja Trail

Julian, California

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The Inaja Picnic Area memorializes 11 firefighters who lost their lives in the San Diego River canyon while battling the 60,000-acre Inaja Fire in 1956. This was one of worst firefighting disasters in U.S. history. The Inaja Trail, one of four trails in San Diego County showcased as a “National Recreation Trail,” begins right on the edge of the picnic area. A trail leaflet, which may be available at the trailhead, gives information about the typical live oak-chaparral vegetation seen here and elsewhere in the upper foothills of San Diego County. An overlook at the midpoint in the trail gives a good view down the linear canyon of the San Diego River. Nearly everything you see in that direction was burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire, but the landscape is quickly recovering. At 3440 feet elevation, the overlook is often just above a temperature inversion that traps cooler, moist air below. On some mornings, you’ll find the canyon hidden by a cottony blanket of fog, while neighboring peaks and ridges stand like islands in clear air.

Inaja Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The Inaja Picnic Area memorializes 11 firefighters who lost their lives in the San Diego River canyon while battling the 60,000-acre Inaja Fire in 1956. This was one of worst firefighting disasters in U.S. history. The Inaja Trail, one of four trails in San Diego County showcased as a “National Recreation Trail,” begins right on the edge of the picnic area. A trail leaflet, which may be available at the trailhead, gives information about the typical live oak-chaparral vegetation seen here and elsewhere in the upper foothills of San Diego County. An overlook at the midpoint in the trail gives a good view down the linear canyon of the San Diego River. Nearly everything you see in that direction was burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire, but the landscape is quickly recovering. At 3440 feet elevation, the overlook is often just above a temperature inversion that traps cooler, moist air below. On some mornings, you’ll find the canyon hidden by a cottony blanket of fog, while neighboring peaks and ridges stand like islands in clear air."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Julian
Distance: 0.5
Elevation Gain: 100 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: .5 hour
Season: All year
Accessibility: Kid-friendly
Local Contacts: Palomar Ranger District
Local Maps: USGS Santa Ysabel
Driving Directions: Directions to Inaja Trail

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May 2018