El Capitan Open Space Preserve Trail

Lakeside, California

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2 Reviews
4 out of 5
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.
Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)

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.

©  Jerry Schad/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Lakeside
Distance: 11
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 6 hours
Season: November through April
Local Contacts: San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department
Local Maps: USGS San Vicente Reservoir, El Cajon Mtn.
Driving Directions: Directions to El Capitan Open Space Preserve Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

4/17/2010
0

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).


4/1/2009
1

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.



Trail Photos

Activity Feed

May 2018