2021 Hot Springs Mountain

Peak Summited2021 Hot Springs Mountain
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadLos Coyotes Campground
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnowfields to cross - could be difficult
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Informationhttps://www.instagram.com/coachdalehill/

I'd originally planned to hike Hot Springs Mountain on Thursday this past week simply to avoid the crowds, but domestic chores won out over hiking 🤣 So Saturday morning I putzed around getting things together and I finally hit the TH around 10 am, the Guard at the entry point warned me that it was a busy day and that I might have problems finding a parking place, but the campground area near the trailhead can really accommodate a lot of vehicles. As I was gearing up I visited with another Challenger who pulled in right behind me. Even though the lower trail sections were clear and dry, I put my microspikes on at the truck as I knew I'd run into snow along the way.

The trip up Sukat Road was pretty clear, it was a cool morning but the sun was out and the activity of working up that steeper section kept me warm without needing a jacket. Once I hit the turn onto Hot Springs Mountain Road the snow on the trail became heavier, I was happy to have my spikes on and thought about the people that I would undoubtedly pass who were not prepared for the conditions. I had tossed my snowshoes in the truck on the outside chance that the snow at higher elevations was deep, but I went with the microspikes instead. As I worked my way up however I could see that someone ahead of me was using their snowshoes (and I could tell they were getting tired the further they went based on the drag marks in the snow and dirt) When I reached the Lookout Tower, I found the gal with the snowshoes and we chatted briefly. I have yet to use mine, so I was curious as to what she thought about them, her comment that stuck with me was that they were heavy and tiring (hence the drag marks I noticed)

As I headed across the open space to the summit trail, I could hear lots of voices coming my way, I stepped off the trail in a few places to let folks pass by, very likely more Challengers 😉when I reached the Summit Boulders I was the only one there! YAY! Someone had moved the ladder from the back of the boulders over to where the straps are anchored on the boulder that holds the station disc and RM 2 so I walked around to the back and free climbed up the boulder with RM 1, hopped across to the main boulder, scrambled up, took some pictures then descended down the straps and ladder.

I met another hiker on my way back past the Lookout Tower and we chatted for a while about various hikes. Since I usually hike solo, I do like running into other hikers and having the chance to visit and share experiences 😊All-in-all another great day on the trails and hike #5 of the ‘San Diego Six' done. If everything goes as planned I ought to wrap up Palomar Mountain High Point early this coming week!


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  1. Excellent trip report, Dale! Congrats on #5. It’s really neat to see Hot Springs Mountain with some snow.