If your looking for a lot of visual bang for your hiking buck, Stonewall Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is the ticket. This two-mile trail brings you to a stony outcrop that offers stunning 360-degree views of the expansive landscape.
Trail Type: Out-and-Back
Trail Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Trail Condition: Well Maintained
Dogs Allowed? No
Trail Activities: Hiking
The hike, which begins at a trailhead just across Route 78 from Paso Picacho Campground, winds through a series of long switchbacks to the 5,700-foot summit. Moving at a moderate pace, it will take you about an hour to get to the top.
The area was scorched by forest fires not that long ago, meaning most of the trees along the trail are dead and shade is scarce. Bring plenty of water, especially during the summer months, when it can get brutally hot with the sun beating down on you.
The view from the top takes in much of surrounding Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Cuyamaca Lake to the northwest and some of Anza Borrego Desert State Park to the northeast.
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Hike Duration: 2 hours
Forest Fire, Heat, Snakes, Rock Fall
Official Website: Visit Website
Take I-8 about 35 miles east of San Diego. Take exit 40 and take CA-79 north for miles, until you see the Paso Picacho Campground on the left. The trailhead is just across CA-79 from the campground.
Trailhead Coordinates: 32.959654,-116.579116
Elevation: 5,700 feet