Black Mountain Trail

Ramona, California

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San Diego County’s “big” Black Mountain (not the smaller one looming above Rancho Penasquitos) rises gently to an elevation of 4051 feet outside Ramona. A fire lookout tower once stood on Black Mountain’s summit, taking full advantage of a panoramic—and certainly unique—vista furnished by the mountain’s strategic central location within the county. Hikers, bikers, runners, equestrians, and sometimes four-wheel drivers have public access to Black Mountain’s summit via a winding fire road up the southwest flank—though motorized vehicles never get closer than about 1 mile from the top.

Black Mountain Trail Professional Review and Guide

"San Diego County’s “big” Black Mountain (not the smaller one looming above Rancho Penasquitos) rises gently to an elevation of 4051 feet outside Ramona. A fire lookout tower once stood on Black Mountain’s summit, taking full advantage of a panoramic—and certainly unique—vista furnished by the mountain’s strategic central location within the county. Hikers, bikers, runners, equestrians, and sometimes four-wheel drivers have public access to Black Mountain’s summit via a winding fire road up the southwest flank—though motorized vehicles never get closer than about 1 mile from the top."

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Ramona
Distance: 14.2
Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 6.5 hours
Season: November through April
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Palomar Ranger District
Local Maps: USGS Mesa Grande
Driving Directions: Directions to Black Mountain Trail

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May 2018