The Twin Peaks trailhead begins at Silverset Park, which is an ideal spot to park and head out onto the trail. For the adventurous souls who seek the summit, the trip is well worth the steep hike. Visitors are rewarded with a winding path through patches of beautiful reddish bark manzanita and, on a clear day, views of Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain; plus, at a distance, Mission Trails Regional Park.
The summit trail is located at the high point along the ridge, at approximately 900 ft. elevation, and clearly continues up toward the summit. Both the access road and the summit trail are riddled with areas of erosion. Caution is especially needed along the road to ensure that visitors stay injury-free, as it has sections that are steep with poor footing.
The trailhead is near the entrance to the park where you follow the dirt path up and then to the right for just over 200 feet, before taking the left fork. Continue up for 250 feet, then to the left before turning to the right after another 50 feet. There, multiple trails with the goal to follow an SDG&E access road for approximately 1100 feet, or just over 0.2 mile. Turn left; after about 600 feet, turn right onto a wide trail in a northeastly direction toward Del Poniente Road for approximately 2300 feet. Turn right and walk just over 600 feet to a wide clearing to the left for a view. Go south for about 900 feet to inspect a section of granodiorite boulders. Then turn east for another 150 feet to where the trail goes south between the two peaks. Another option is to continue east to the second peak, then retrace your steps to the southward trail between the two peaks until reaching the main access trail in about 1600 feet. Go west for about 2800 feet to return to Silverset Park. Note: Distances are approximate, signage is scarce, and the trails can be a challenge to follow. To get your bearings, it’s recommended that you align the trail map to a satellite image before hiking.
When hiking the access road or summit trail, visitors commonly encounter the California thrasher, warblers, hummingbirds, and a host of other critters. Many of these are on a miniature scale and can be hard to spot. However, with close observation, visitors who are patient and keep a watchful eye out will find painted-lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) zooming along the trail along with various bee species, while native ants and lizards can be found all throughout the thick shrubs and manzanita.
Keep on the watch for rattlesnakes, especially the red diamond (Crotalus ruber) that is common to the area during the warmer season. If encountered, just keep your distance and carefully walk by. Being mindful of the potential of snakes is important when hiking with any four-footed friends, as rattlesnake bites are costly to treat. The best precaution is to keep pets on a leash and on the trail for their own safety.
The trail up to the Twin Peaks summit takes visitors through coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats dominated by California sagebrush, laurel sumac, chamise, and buckwheat. Poking its flower stocks up over the canopy of shorter shrubs are large stands of chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei). Yucca was important to the Native Americans of the region as both a food source and a fiber source, used for making everything from sandals and fishing line to netting and bow strings. The seeds of this yucca are a favorite of ground squirrels. The seedpods from the yucca litter the ground, creating a delicious treat for mice and birds. When flowering, the bright white flowers attract the yucca moth (Tegeticula maculate), bats, and hummingbirds.
Twin Peaks Trail
Distance from downtown San Diego: approximately 30 miles (Poway). Allow 30 minutes driving time. Take I-15 north to Ted Williams Parkway. Exit and head east for approximately 2.5 miles, then turn southeast onto Twin Peaks Road. Take Twin Peaks Road to Silverset Street, turn left, and head north for approximately 0.2 mile to Silverset Park. Hours are sunrise to sunset.
Hiking length: 2.5 miles out and back from Silverset Park to the summit of Twin Peaks. Alternatively, a second trail approximately 3 miles out and back follows the SDG&E access road from Silverset Park east to Midland Road.
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous; the trail is steep with areas of erosion. Trekking poles are recommended. Mountain bikes, equestrians, and dogs on leashes no longer than six feet are allowed. No off-trail excursions are permitted. Facilities at Silverset Park.