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

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. By combining the Big Laguna Trail (BLT) with a four-mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as mapped here, you’ll complete a loop hike of ten miles with lots of varied scenery.

Mountain bikers can use the Big Laguna Trail portion of the route described here, but bikes are prohibited on all parts of the PCT (the PCT is reserved for hikers, horses, and dogs). On a bike, however, you could close and shorten the loop by riding on Sunrise Highway.

You can start at the Penny Pines parking area, mile 27.3 on Sunrise Highway, about four miles north of the village of Mount Laguna. Whether you park here or at any other spot along Sunrise Highway, you’ll need to post a National Forest Adventure Pass on your parked car. And don’t forget to take plenty of drinking water.

Start by heading west on the Noble Canyon Trail. After 0.1 mile, veer left on the BLT. After another 0.8 mile through open pine and oak woods, the BLT turns south to skirt the margin of Laguna Meadow. By 2.5 miles into the hike, you’ll be opposite Big Laguna Lake, which brims with water only during and for a few weeks after the rainy season of a typical year.

Next, the trail turns east toward an arm of Laguna Meadow that contains Little Laguna Lake (which is another ephemeral lake). When you reach a wire fence at 2.8 miles, don’t go through the gap in the fence. Instead, turn abruptly right and follow the fenceline over to the wooded area on the meadow’s east side. A spur trail branches left toward Laguna Campground, where water is available if you need it.

The main trail continues south along the meadow edge and then east to follow a shallow ravine. After a turn to the north and a short bit of steep climbing, you cross the graded Los Huecos Road (4.5 miles) and hook up with an old roadbed going east and later north. You ascend easily through chaparral highlighted by ceanothus, a.k.a. wild lilac.

When the old roadbed makes a hairpin turn to the right (at 5.0 miles), stay left on the footpath that continues through a gap in a wire fence. The path curls down through more pine and oak woods, crosses Sunrise Highway, and continues east, uphill, to join the PCT at 6.0 miles. Turn left there and return to your starting point by way of a rambling but scenic stretch of the PCT that follows the eastern escarpment of the Lagunas overlooking the Anza-Borrego desert.

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.

Big Laguna Trail
Hike through meadows and pine forests atop the mile-plus-high Laguna Mountain plateau.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 57 miles
Hiking length: 10 miles
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

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

Previous article

State density rules squeezing Del Mar into a corner

Watermark units on Jimmy Durante Rd. will include 10 'low affordable' ones
Next Article

U.S. Kids Chamber of Commerce gets mixed response in Encinitas

You pay to recycle and where does the money go?

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. By combining the Big Laguna Trail (BLT) with a four-mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as mapped here, you’ll complete a loop hike of ten miles with lots of varied scenery.

Mountain bikers can use the Big Laguna Trail portion of the route described here, but bikes are prohibited on all parts of the PCT (the PCT is reserved for hikers, horses, and dogs). On a bike, however, you could close and shorten the loop by riding on Sunrise Highway.

You can start at the Penny Pines parking area, mile 27.3 on Sunrise Highway, about four miles north of the village of Mount Laguna. Whether you park here or at any other spot along Sunrise Highway, you’ll need to post a National Forest Adventure Pass on your parked car. And don’t forget to take plenty of drinking water.

Start by heading west on the Noble Canyon Trail. After 0.1 mile, veer left on the BLT. After another 0.8 mile through open pine and oak woods, the BLT turns south to skirt the margin of Laguna Meadow. By 2.5 miles into the hike, you’ll be opposite Big Laguna Lake, which brims with water only during and for a few weeks after the rainy season of a typical year.

Next, the trail turns east toward an arm of Laguna Meadow that contains Little Laguna Lake (which is another ephemeral lake). When you reach a wire fence at 2.8 miles, don’t go through the gap in the fence. Instead, turn abruptly right and follow the fenceline over to the wooded area on the meadow’s east side. A spur trail branches left toward Laguna Campground, where water is available if you need it.

The main trail continues south along the meadow edge and then east to follow a shallow ravine. After a turn to the north and a short bit of steep climbing, you cross the graded Los Huecos Road (4.5 miles) and hook up with an old roadbed going east and later north. You ascend easily through chaparral highlighted by ceanothus, a.k.a. wild lilac.

When the old roadbed makes a hairpin turn to the right (at 5.0 miles), stay left on the footpath that continues through a gap in a wire fence. The path curls down through more pine and oak woods, crosses Sunrise Highway, and continues east, uphill, to join the PCT at 6.0 miles. Turn left there and return to your starting point by way of a rambling but scenic stretch of the PCT that follows the eastern escarpment of the Lagunas overlooking the Anza-Borrego desert.

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.

Big Laguna Trail
Hike through meadows and pine forests atop the mile-plus-high Laguna Mountain plateau.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 57 miles
Hiking length: 10 miles
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

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

Padres vs Il Padre

It’s hard to keep the faith when you’re losing your religion
Next Article

San Diego fishing life, dirty work, tools of the trade

The heady job of a waiter, nurses on the run, who brings you your candy
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 — 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