Mount Laguna Stories

For more on Mount Laguna, including photos, blog entries, and event listings, visit the Mount Laguna neighborhood page

Shriners as burn victims

Group files lawsuit for damages to 25-acre camp destroyed in 2013

Members of the Al Bahr Mount Laguna Shrine Camp are asking the federal government to take responsibility for the loss of their 90-year-old lodge and 116 cabins destroyed in the Chariot Fire in 2013. Shriners ...

Stalled thunderstorms over Mt. Laguna

Emergency Alert System provides flash-flood warning

On July 22, the National Weather Serve activated San Diego County’s Emergency Alert System. Monsoonal moisture was causing large thunderstorms, running from Barstow south into Baja. The storm in San Diego was going to be ...

Indian Creek Trail Loop

Indian Creek Trail does not give up surprises easily. Hike this trail for woodlands, streams, and panoramic views in the Laguna Mountains.

Big Laguna-Gatos Spur

Aromas of butterscotch and grape soda in Cleveland National Forest

Pines, oaks, and incense cedar on this six-mile loop of the Gatos Big Laguna Trail Spur.

Sunset trail

Big Sky Country in San Diego County

Montana is not the only state that can boast being “Big Sky Country.” We have the same bragging rights in our own backyard: the Laguna Mountains (locals call it “the Lagunas”). Tucked in the Cleveland ...

New suit filed challenging forest fees

A group of hikers has filed a new suit challenging the legality of the U.S. Forest Service’s practice of requiring “Adventure Pass” fees to access what the bureau deems “high impact recreation areas” in four ...

Desert View Trail: An Autumn Ramble on the Edge of Mount Laguna

The Desert View Trail in the Laguna Mountains delivers exactly what its name says, but there’s more to see than just the distant desert. From the nearly 6000-foot heights of the trail, you can enjoy ...

Foster Point

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 ...

Indian Creek Loop

Spring is finally arriving in upper-elevation San Diego County. At mile-high elevations you can find lingering bursts of wildflower color amid the somber pines and bright-green black oaks. For a wide-ranging introduction to this mountain ...

Front Line in Mt. Laguna?

Recently, while doing stream surveys in the East County, we came upon a roadblock set up on Sunrise Highway, near Mt. Laguna. Homeland Security (Border Patrol) agents scrutinized all vehicles coming through. We were stopped ...

Big Laguna Trail

The six-mile-long Big Laguna Trail, high in the Laguna Mountains, wends its scenic way over gently rolling hills and grassy dales, never dipping below 5400 feet of elevation nor rising to more than 5900 feet. ...

Kwaaymii Trail

The Laguna Mountain range, just east (and squarely in the “rain shadow”) of the nearby Cuyamaca Mountains, snags just enough moisture from passing Pacific storms to support a forest of scattered live oaks, black oaks, ...

San Diego's Urban Explorers

DOWN IN THE DRAINS: It’s on the first sunny day after a string of rainstorms when Robert R. slides his blue SUV to the side of the road somewhere in UTC. In the passenger seat ...

Cycle up the back route into the Laguna Mountains, and descend via Sunrise Highway.

The "back way" up Mount Laguna via the obscure Kitchen Creek Road offers bicyclists a challenge to their strength and endurance, and little chance of serious interference by passing automobiles. The gravity-assisted return, down along ...

Hike Wooded Hill in the Laguna Mountains for a look at late-blooming wildflowers

From a clearing just below the summit of Wooded Hill (the highest wooded promontory in the Laguna Mountains), a spacious panorama of two nations unfolds. The blue, south horizon lies somewhere in Mexico, and your ...

Hike from the Laguna Mountain crest to Cuyamaca's Sweetwater River, and learn how the local mountains are recovering from the Cedar Fire.

The 12-mile, one-way hiking traverse from the Laguna Mountains to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park isn't what it used to be, on account of the October 2003 Cedar Fire. Still, it's nice to see the recovery ...

Check out a comprehensive mountain and desert view from the 6000+ foot summit of Monument Peak in the Laguna Mountains.

San Diego County is riddled with edges or "ecotones" -- boundaries between different geographic regions or ecological habitats. Ecotones harbor great biological diversity and often feature spectacular scenery, especially when the transition from one type ...

Hike the Lightning Ridge Trail for a great view of Laguna Meadow and the pine-clad Laguna Mountains.

We're a month past the vernal equinox now. Vernal refers to the spring season, but it literally means "green." That color is likely to prevail over all others among the mile-high ridges and meadows of ...

On foot or on cross-country skies, follow the Agua Dulce loop route through the Laguna Mountains.

Crouching in the rain shadow of the slightly higher Cuyamaca range, the Laguna Mountains still manage to collect a respectable share of precipitation. Some 30 inches of rain (and melted snow) might arrive here over ...

Best of 2003: Best Cross-Country Skiing

Laguna Meadow off Sunrise Highway Cleveland National Forest www.r5.fs.fed.us/cleveland/ 619-445-8341 Rise before dawn on the day after a major storm from the northwest has swept over San Diego County and moved eastward, December through February. ...

Take a leisurely bike ride through the pine forests of Mount Laguna.

September temperatures remain warm on Mount Laguna, and both of the large national-forest campgrounds -- Laguna and Burnt Rancheria -- atop the 6000-foot mountain are winding down their busy summer season. During much of the ...

Hike to the summit of Garnet Peak for a comprehensive view of the Laguna Mountains and the Anza-Borrego Desert.

Although Garnet Peak isn't the highest peaklet along the steep eastern escarpment of the Laguna Mountains, its exposed position makes it a fine place to view both the pine-clad high country and the raw desert ...

Easy-to-reach Cottonwood Creek Falls channels snowmelt and runoff descending from the Laguna Mountains.

Hidden in the apex of a valley just below Sunrise Highway, near the town of Pine Valley, a small stream has worn its way down to the metamorphic bedrock that underlies much of the Laguna ...

Visit Oasis Spring in the Laguna Mountains, where a sparkling rivulet makes a headlong plunge toward the desert floor.

A more restful place could scarcely be imagined. A warm breeze from the desert below wafts up the shady canyon, bringing with it the scent of sage and bay laurel. A lone bigleaf maple tree ...

Hike the gently rising Pine Mountain Trail in the Laguna Mountains.

The Pine Mountain Trail, the newest designated trail in the Laguna Mountains, invites your attention this verdant and merry month of May. Spring rainfall in our local mountains, abnormally extending to as recently as last ...

See Kitchen Creek Falls in the Laguna Mountains at its seasonal best.

What San Diego's backyard mountain ranges lack in terms of scale and grandeur is outweighed by the sublime and circumspect beauty to be found in some of its remote canyons. A case in point is ...

Follow the meandering Sunset Trail along the forested west rim of the Laguna Mountains.

Big Sycamore and Serrano Canyons in Point Mugu State Park are a study in contrasts. As its name suggests, shallow and wide Big Sycamore Canyon harbors stately California sycamores, set at spacious intervals. Serrano Canyon ...

Spy distant mountains and look down on the desert floor from Foster Point in the Laguna Mountains.

Hike out to Foster Point in the Laguna Mountains for a great view of the desert floor from a mile-high elevation, and also for a chance to enjoy peace and solitude. Until fairly recently (due ...

Ramble 8 miles along the Indian Creek and Pacific Crest trails in the Laguna Mountains

Summer is finally arriving in upper-elevation San Diego County. At mile-high elevations you can still find lingering bursts of wildflower color amid the somber pines and bright-green black oaks. For a wide-ranging introduction to the ...

Get springtime vistas of mountain green and desert brown on Mount Laguna's Desert View Trail.

It's barely a month after more than a foot of late-season snow fell on the 6000-foot-high Laguna Mountains. The forest atop these rarefied heights is responding in a sluggish way to the melted snow and ...

Mount Laguna's Kwaaymii Interpretive Trail visits Native American pre-history

"Elevation 6000 feet," says the roadside sign posted on Sunrise Highway in the community of Mount Laguna, but a close inspection of a topographic map of the area reveals the road's true height of just ...

Follow the Big Laguna and Pacific Crest trails on a loop through the Laguna Mountains.

The six-mile-long Big Laguna Trail, high in the Laguna Mountains, wends its scenic way over gently rolling hills and grassy dales, never dipping below 5400 feet of elevation nor rising to more than 5900 feet. ...

Garnet Peak

Although Garnet Peak isn’t the highest peaklet along the eastern escarpment of the Laguna Mountains, its exposed position makes it a fine place to view both the pine-clad high country and the raw desert below. ...

Red Sky

In the fall of 1970, California caught fire. Between September 25 and October 3 that year, the U. S. Forest Service recorded 16 fires that consumed over 528,000 acres statewide. From Humboldt County in the ...

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