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San Diego Area Overnight Recommendations
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Brendan Yeager
(byeager) - M

Locale: New England
San Diego Area Overnight Recommendations on 08/01/2013 19:54:30 MDT Print View

I will be in the San Diego area for business at the end of September and am looking to do a quick solo overnight. I am considering either:

Long Canyon on the PCT -
Noble Canyon/Pine Mountain -

I was also considering Anza Borrego State Park - but I am a bit concerned about the combination of a lack of well-defined trails, my inexperience in desert/canyon environments and my tight schedule.

I will be going mid-week so I am not too concerned about crowds. Any recommendations, alternative suggestions and/or advice for the trip would be much appreciated.

I am also a hanger and am not sure how easy it will be to set up a hammock in any of those locales (photos online show a lot of scrub).


Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: San Diego Area Overnight Recommendations on 08/01/2013 21:11:52 MDT Print View

I've done a lot of car-camping and hiking in both areas. Anza Borego can get quite disorienting, like most deserts. It's beautiful, but for such a large area it's best to go with a guide who can show you the highlights. My vote is for Noble Canyon/Pine Mountain. Actually, anything on Mt. Laguna will be enjoyable. If you do the trail described in the link, don't skip Garnet peak. Excellent views of the desert below. One shorter alternative that's still pretty fun is Cuyamaca peak. This review is pretty accurate:

Please take lots of pictures to share; I miss SoCal mountains!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: San Diego Area Overnight Recommendations on 08/01/2013 21:15:07 MDT Print View

+1 on Garnet Peak. Cuyamaca I thought was closed due to a rabies outbreak with the squirrels there. Might want to check on that.

Brendan Yeager
(byeager) - M

Locale: New England
Thanks! on 08/03/2013 13:22:28 MDT Print View

Thanks for the recommendations. Garnett peak is in! I will have a whole day of hiking and, having lightened my load since joining BPL, I could handle some extra miles. I checked the Cuyamaca Park and Cleveland National Forest websites and didn't see any restrictions other than campfires (I'll bring a stove). I will call the ranger station as it gets closer for a conditions update.

Any idea if I will be able to find reliable water along the route?

Chad Eagle

Locale: SoCal
Water on 08/03/2013 13:56:16 MDT Print View

What exactly is your route? Water in that area is not abundent. The Chariot Fire pretty much scorched the whole area around the peak. The PCT from Storm Canyon to Pioneer Mail is black and barren now. Are you going from Laguna to Cuyamaca? You will also cross into Anza Borrego if that is your route.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: San Diego Area Overnight Recommendations on 08/03/2013 17:13:09 MDT Print View

I run on the PCT thru Long Canyon.
I also run Noble Canyon and Pine Mt area.
I really enjoy running in these places, but I never considered them destination camping spots, although people do camp there sometimes. I suppose it depends what you are used to.
September in the San Diego mountains is generally dry and this year is dryer than normal. You should plan on packing all your water.

Someone mentioned Garnet Peak. a nice 2 hour visit with great views but not really a camping spot either.
Garnet Peak is pretty close to the recent Chariot fire burn area. probably within a couple miles, not sure exactly.

Long Canyon has some trees but if you hike north 2-3 miles out of Long into the Laguna Recreation area there are more trees. but it is less remote.

Noble Canyon is a popular mt biking trail but in mid week it won't be crowded. the upper part of Noble has trees.

Garnet Peak has no trees anywhere for miles, very open and rocky.

most of San Diego backcountry is Not hammock country.

What kind of mileage would you like to get in ?
2 days ?
knowing this would help us help you.

Edited by asandh on 08/04/2013 08:25:30 MDT.

Brendan Yeager
(byeager) - M

Locale: New England
Schedule / Mileage on 08/04/2013 10:07:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the advice - much appreciated and keep it coming!

I will be starting late Tuesday - racing against the setting sun to set up camp - and will probably not get more than a mile or two.

I have all day Wednesday to hike. Judging by the topo below there isn't too much elevation change along this route so I should be able to cover 12 - 15 miles with an early start. On a more aggressive elevation profile I would probably want to keep the mileage under 10.

I will be camping Wednesday night but need to be near the trailhead to catch an early flight out of San Diego (I already feel bad for the poor bastard sitting next to my smelly ass for the long flight back to Boston). One nice thing about this route is that the Garnett peak side trail being towards the end of the hike, gives me a nice option to extend the trip depending on how I've fared up to that point.

I kind of figured I'd be carrying all my water, but was trying to be optimistic. At least my short day one will let me pack in a lot of extra water for the first night without having to carry it too far.

I am still very open to alternatives. Anything between Laguna Niguel and San Diego.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Schedule / Mileage on 08/04/2013 10:34:22 MDT Print View

is the map link the loop you plan to hike ?
its about a 20 mile loop.
the entire loop is part of the San Diego 100 course which I've done a few times, so I train on these trails, can give you some input.

the entire loop is just north of the recent Chariot fire burn area.

would you go clock wise or counter clockwise ?

if you are short for time, and new to the west, it is a decent enough loop, fun to run anyways.
3-4 miles in the Pine Mt area may be a dirt road but the rest is nice single track.

also there are numerous side trails that may confuse your progress, mostly in the Pine Mt area, so you will want a good map.