West Side Trail

Pilcha (West Mesa) Cultural Preserve, California

Elevation Gain1,969ft
Trailhead Elevation5,102ft
Elevation Min/Max4077/5103ft
Elevation Start/End5102/5102ft

West Side Trail

West Side Trail is a hiking trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Pilcha (West Mesa) Cultural Preserve. It is 4.5 miles long and begins at 5,102 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,969 feet. The Cold Spring can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Japacha Fire Road and Azalea Glen Trail.

West Side Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"At least a dozen major Native American villages existed in the Cuyamaca Mountains prior to the mid-1800s. These were the mountain villages or summer camps of the Kumeyaay Indians, who divided their time between the mountains and the desert. Many of these sites, identified by the presence of bedrock morteros (grinding holes) are occupied by today’s park campgrounds and picnic areas. Other sites have remained more isolated, reachable only by trail. One such place, distinguished by a large cluster of morteros on a granite slab, lies a short distance from Paso Picacho Campground near the West Side Trail—the trail running parallel to and west of Highway 79."
Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
View more trails from this guide book
"Oak leaves fluttering in the sunlight, pine needles soughing in the breeze, gray squirrels scurrying, and pungent-sweet fragrances in the air. These dependable pre-fire experiences are now a work-in-progress. The rate and extent of post–Cedar Fire forest renewal will depend largely on the amount of future rainfall. Meanwhile, the springtime (especially April and May) wildflower bloom throughout the West Mesa area is likely to please your senses. The looping route, almost never steep, sticks to old fire roads traversing the southeast flank of Cuyamaca Peak. If snow happens to fall at low elevations (down to 3000 or 4000 feet)—an event most likely in January, the route can be ideal for early-morning cross-country skiing—for a day or so anyway."

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Trail Information

Pilcha (West Mesa) Cultural Preserve
Nearby City
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Cuyamaca Peak
Local Maps

Trail Log