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.
West Side Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"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."
--Jerry Schad, Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press).
"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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