Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Hike 7 miles through the Cuyamaca Mountains, and visit Japacha Creek, Airplane Monument, and Arroyo Seco camp.

Late-summer hiking in East County's Cuyamaca Mountains is rewarding, as long as you avoid the heat of midday and early afternoon. Lately, intense afternoon thunderstorms have dropped considerable moisture here as well as farther east, but these are likely to diminish as we move into September. The following seven-mile hike, which stays between 4000 feet and 5000 feet of elevation in the Cuyamacas, is perfect for the last three or four hours of the day, when afternoon shadows lengthen and deer and coyotes make their appearance in the grassy meadows and amid the oaks and pines.

To reach the starting point, drive 4.8 miles north on Highway 79 from its intersection with Olde Highway 80 near Descanso. At this point (about 1/2 mile beyond Green Valley Campground), drive into the large turnout on the right, next to a bridge over the Sweetwater River.

On foot, walk north over the highway bridge and immediately turn left to reach the West Side Trail. Go north about 0.4 mile, paralleling the highway, then bear left on Japacha Fire Road. You now wind uphill, following Japacha Creek, and after about 0.8 mile cross the creek. Bracken fern, sword fern, thimbleberry, and wild strawberry thrive in the shade of oaks and sycamores along the creek bottom.

When you reach the West Mesa Trail, turn left and climb southwest through a magnificent conifer and oak forest. Cross Japacha Creek once again. To your right, 0.2 mile past the creek crossing, watch for the small footpath leading to Airplane Monument. There lies the weathered block of a 12-cylinder engine and plaque reading "In Memory of Col. F.C. Marshall and 1st Lt. C.L. Webber who fell at this spot Dec. 7, 1922."

Returning to the West Mesa Trail, you continue around a hairpin turn and start to follow a ridgeline. (The Monument Trail branches south from the hairpin turn, providing a shortcut to Green Valley Campground if you want to bail out of this trip early.) Continue for 1 mile on the top of the ridge, staying left at the next junction. Just afterward turn left on a narrow and quickly descending path, the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Turn left off of that trail when you reach Arroyo Seco Road, and continue downhill into the Arroyo Seco trail camp.

The camp lies at the south end of a wide meadow frequented by mule deer and other wildlife. To loop back to your starting point, continue downhill on Arroyo Seco Road toward Green Valley Campground, 1.5 miles away. Before you reach the campground take the cutoff trail on the left that slants over to West Side Trail. Then follow West Side Trail over to the Sweetwater bridge.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Brackett and Wilder go to Hollywood

The pair collaborated on 14 pictures together
Next Article

Streaming with the Electric Waste Band

Winstons adapts to COVID-19 safety concerns
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Late-summer hiking in East County's Cuyamaca Mountains is rewarding, as long as you avoid the heat of midday and early afternoon. Lately, intense afternoon thunderstorms have dropped considerable moisture here as well as farther east, but these are likely to diminish as we move into September. The following seven-mile hike, which stays between 4000 feet and 5000 feet of elevation in the Cuyamacas, is perfect for the last three or four hours of the day, when afternoon shadows lengthen and deer and coyotes make their appearance in the grassy meadows and amid the oaks and pines.

To reach the starting point, drive 4.8 miles north on Highway 79 from its intersection with Olde Highway 80 near Descanso. At this point (about 1/2 mile beyond Green Valley Campground), drive into the large turnout on the right, next to a bridge over the Sweetwater River.

On foot, walk north over the highway bridge and immediately turn left to reach the West Side Trail. Go north about 0.4 mile, paralleling the highway, then bear left on Japacha Fire Road. You now wind uphill, following Japacha Creek, and after about 0.8 mile cross the creek. Bracken fern, sword fern, thimbleberry, and wild strawberry thrive in the shade of oaks and sycamores along the creek bottom.

When you reach the West Mesa Trail, turn left and climb southwest through a magnificent conifer and oak forest. Cross Japacha Creek once again. To your right, 0.2 mile past the creek crossing, watch for the small footpath leading to Airplane Monument. There lies the weathered block of a 12-cylinder engine and plaque reading "In Memory of Col. F.C. Marshall and 1st Lt. C.L. Webber who fell at this spot Dec. 7, 1922."

Returning to the West Mesa Trail, you continue around a hairpin turn and start to follow a ridgeline. (The Monument Trail branches south from the hairpin turn, providing a shortcut to Green Valley Campground if you want to bail out of this trip early.) Continue for 1 mile on the top of the ridge, staying left at the next junction. Just afterward turn left on a narrow and quickly descending path, the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Turn left off of that trail when you reach Arroyo Seco Road, and continue downhill into the Arroyo Seco trail camp.

The camp lies at the south end of a wide meadow frequented by mule deer and other wildlife. To loop back to your starting point, continue downhill on Arroyo Seco Road toward Green Valley Campground, 1.5 miles away. Before you reach the campground take the cutoff trail on the left that slants over to West Side Trail. Then follow West Side Trail over to the Sweetwater bridge.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Larry Johnson: poet and author of Veins and Alloy

A past contributor to the San Diego Reader
Next Article

Online shopping trials from Old Navy to Nordstrom

“Free shipping has been the case for most stores. And a good majority of them have free returns.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close