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

Simon's small but special

Hike through grasslands, chaparral, and riparian habitats with views

Grasslands cover much of the preserve.
Grasslands cover much of the preserve.
Bench on top of Ramona Peak

The Simon Open Space Preserve near Ramona is one of several San Diego County parks established in recent years to preserve land where native plants and animals can flourish and we can continue to enjoy them. Although small, this preserve provides over 6 miles of hiking trails through grasslands, chaparral, and riparian habitat with some outstanding views of the surrounding mountains. Many different routes are possible, as there is a web of looping trails covering the lower parts of the preserve, connecting to various suburban streets. However, the trail described here goes to the top of the ridge and to both Spangler and Ramona Peaks.

Looking back down the trail and beyond to Mt. Gower

From Vista Ramona, near Calle Andrea, a well-groomed trail leads west, with houses to the north, but passing through chaparral consisting of California sagebrush, laurel sumac, buckwheat, white sage, and a few black sage. It is slightly above but near an intermittent stream lined with Engelmann oaks, coast live oaks, and the occasional tall black willow. The trail forks in 0.3 of a mile. The branch going off to the right is the one to take up the ridge and to Spangler and Ramona peaks. However, consider going another 0.1 mile on the trail to the left, as it will go to a stream, which bubbles over polished granite slabs if it is flowing. After looking at the stream, return to the fork and start heading up the trail to the top of the ridge.

Looking east to Mt. Gower and Cuyamacas from Ramona Peak

The trail up to the ridge is roughly parallel to a power line that crosses the preserve. Several trails ascending from below intersect with this ridge access trail. Keep to the right in each case, unless the apparent trail goes to one of the power poles. Initially, the trail mainly passes through chaparral with sugar bush, wild cucumber, buckwheat, deer weed, white sage, and California sagebrush. You will hear, but may not see, the endangered California gnatcatcher flitting about in the sagebrush.

After hiking 1.3 miles and ascending about 500 feet, you will arrive at the ridge top in the middle of a grassy field. Large patches of grassland extend over much of the ridge and the land to the north. Here, wild oats and other nonnative grasses dominate, along with nonnative filaree, but it is not without interest. Meadowlarks can be seen or at least their melodious songs heard, while hawks soar above looking for an incautious field mouse. There are also some beautiful native herbaceous species, including violas, wild hyacinths and soap plants.

Simon Open Space Preserve

There is a three-way junction of trails at the top of the ridge. The trail straight ahead continues to follow the power line, while the trail on the left (west) goes to Spangler Peak. The trail to the right (east) goes to Ramona Peak. It is about 3.7 miles out and back to Spangler Peak while Ramona Peak is about 1.2 miles out and back from the trail junction.

The county recommends equestrians use the Mt. Gower OSP Staging Area as there is limited parking on Calle Andrea. The Rutherford trail leading west from the Mt. Gower Staging Area connects to the trail at the start of the Simon OSP near Calle Andrea. Although drinking water for humans and horses is available at the Mt. Gower Staging Area, as well as restroom facilities, this option adds about 4 miles to the hike. Once you have explored both peaks, return to your vehicle the way you came.


Distance from downtown San Diego: 42 miles. Allow 1 hour driving time. Take SR-67 to Ramona. SR-67 ends at the intersection with SR-78 in the middle of Ramona. Continue straight ahead on SR-78 through Ramona and turn right on Third St. Third St. soon becomes Old Julian Highway, which is followed for 2 miles to Vista Ramona Rd. Go right on Vista Ramona Rd. and drive 1.2 miles to the unmarked trailhead, just south of Calle Andrea, a short suburban street on the right. Park on Calle Andrea and walk back out to Vista Ramona Rd. and about 20 feet south to the trailhead.

Hiking length: 4.4 to 6.2 miles.

Difficulty: Moderate. Elevation gain/loss 1100 feet. The trails, though unsigned, are easily followed with no obstacles to overcome. Short stretches of the trail are steep. Open to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and leashed dogs. No facilities or water.

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

Previous article

Nathan Hubbard’s new normal

Jazz and hip-hop are two very distinct worlds
Next Article

Space Truckin’

Ace Frehley, Travis Barker, Tolan Shaw, Andy Robinson, Thousand Below
Grasslands cover much of the preserve.
Grasslands cover much of the preserve.
Bench on top of Ramona Peak

The Simon Open Space Preserve near Ramona is one of several San Diego County parks established in recent years to preserve land where native plants and animals can flourish and we can continue to enjoy them. Although small, this preserve provides over 6 miles of hiking trails through grasslands, chaparral, and riparian habitat with some outstanding views of the surrounding mountains. Many different routes are possible, as there is a web of looping trails covering the lower parts of the preserve, connecting to various suburban streets. However, the trail described here goes to the top of the ridge and to both Spangler and Ramona Peaks.

Looking back down the trail and beyond to Mt. Gower

From Vista Ramona, near Calle Andrea, a well-groomed trail leads west, with houses to the north, but passing through chaparral consisting of California sagebrush, laurel sumac, buckwheat, white sage, and a few black sage. It is slightly above but near an intermittent stream lined with Engelmann oaks, coast live oaks, and the occasional tall black willow. The trail forks in 0.3 of a mile. The branch going off to the right is the one to take up the ridge and to Spangler and Ramona peaks. However, consider going another 0.1 mile on the trail to the left, as it will go to a stream, which bubbles over polished granite slabs if it is flowing. After looking at the stream, return to the fork and start heading up the trail to the top of the ridge.

Looking east to Mt. Gower and Cuyamacas from Ramona Peak

The trail up to the ridge is roughly parallel to a power line that crosses the preserve. Several trails ascending from below intersect with this ridge access trail. Keep to the right in each case, unless the apparent trail goes to one of the power poles. Initially, the trail mainly passes through chaparral with sugar bush, wild cucumber, buckwheat, deer weed, white sage, and California sagebrush. You will hear, but may not see, the endangered California gnatcatcher flitting about in the sagebrush.

After hiking 1.3 miles and ascending about 500 feet, you will arrive at the ridge top in the middle of a grassy field. Large patches of grassland extend over much of the ridge and the land to the north. Here, wild oats and other nonnative grasses dominate, along with nonnative filaree, but it is not without interest. Meadowlarks can be seen or at least their melodious songs heard, while hawks soar above looking for an incautious field mouse. There are also some beautiful native herbaceous species, including violas, wild hyacinths and soap plants.

Simon Open Space Preserve

There is a three-way junction of trails at the top of the ridge. The trail straight ahead continues to follow the power line, while the trail on the left (west) goes to Spangler Peak. The trail to the right (east) goes to Ramona Peak. It is about 3.7 miles out and back to Spangler Peak while Ramona Peak is about 1.2 miles out and back from the trail junction.

The county recommends equestrians use the Mt. Gower OSP Staging Area as there is limited parking on Calle Andrea. The Rutherford trail leading west from the Mt. Gower Staging Area connects to the trail at the start of the Simon OSP near Calle Andrea. Although drinking water for humans and horses is available at the Mt. Gower Staging Area, as well as restroom facilities, this option adds about 4 miles to the hike. Once you have explored both peaks, return to your vehicle the way you came.


Distance from downtown San Diego: 42 miles. Allow 1 hour driving time. Take SR-67 to Ramona. SR-67 ends at the intersection with SR-78 in the middle of Ramona. Continue straight ahead on SR-78 through Ramona and turn right on Third St. Third St. soon becomes Old Julian Highway, which is followed for 2 miles to Vista Ramona Rd. Go right on Vista Ramona Rd. and drive 1.2 miles to the unmarked trailhead, just south of Calle Andrea, a short suburban street on the right. Park on Calle Andrea and walk back out to Vista Ramona Rd. and about 20 feet south to the trailhead.

Hiking length: 4.4 to 6.2 miles.

Difficulty: Moderate. Elevation gain/loss 1100 feet. The trails, though unsigned, are easily followed with no obstacles to overcome. Short stretches of the trail are steep. Open to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and leashed dogs. No facilities or water.

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

Make a wedding-and-wine statement from Nordstrom Rack and Schutz

Report from the land of brand whores
Next Article

Nathan Hubbard’s new normal

Jazz and hip-hop are two very distinct worlds
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