Come to Foster Point not only for a great view, but also for an opportunity to identify many of Southern California’s highest mountains. A direction finder, installed by the Sierra Club, shows 17 peaks, including the Southland’s highest, San Gorgonio Mountain.
To get there from San Diego, drive east on Interstate 8 and exit at Sunrise Highway, just east of Pine Valley. Drive north, uphill, on Sunrise Highway, observing the mile markers, which increase from approximately mile 13.5 at the I-8/Sunrise Highway interchange. Drive all the way to the entrance to Horse Heaven Group Camp at mile 25.7 and park off the pavement on either side of the road, taking care not to block any gates. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking on Mount Laguna lands.
From the east side of the highway, opposite the entrance to Horse Heaven Group Camp, walk up the sometimes-hard-to-identify remnants of an old service road going east into a gently sloping tree-dotted area known as Flathead Flats. After about 0.2 mile, curve left (north) and you’ll soon come upon the narrow but well-defined tread of the Pacific Crest Trail (remember this spot — you’ll be returning the same way). Continue north on the PCT through oaks and pines another 0.2 mile. At that point the forest cover ends and dense chaparral begins. Walk past the last of the scattered trees and you’ll find a little trail to the right, marked by a “Foster Point” sign. It goes about 100 yards through waist-high shrubs to a metal direction-finder on top of a rounded knob.
Monument Peak and its supporting ridgeline blocks out the distant view to the east and the south, but the panorama from north to northeast is excellent. The most distant and highest peak in view, San Gorgonio Mountain (11,500 feet elevation) in the San Bernardino Mountains, lies 85 miles north. If you know the way to Foster Point well, try coming up here on a moonlit night, when the desert below glows ghostly gray. The weekend of August 21–22, which features a nearly full moon riding high in the evening sky, is perfect for this.
This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.
Foster Point overlook in the Laguna Mountains perches high above the Anza-Borrego Desert.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 55 miles
Hiking length: 1.4 miles round trip • Difficulty: Easy