|Peak Summited||2020 Hot Springs Mountain|
|Type of Hike||Day hike|
|Trailhead||Los Coyotes Reservation Campground|
|Road Conditions||Road suitable for all vehicles|
|Bug Status||Bugs were an annoyance|
|Snow Conditions||Snow free|
|Trail Conditions||Trail in good condition|
Upon climbing down from Cuyamaca Peak (our first of two hikes that day), my friends and I hopped in the car and immediately took off for Hot Springs Mountain in Warner Springs. After about an hour’s drive to the Los Coyotes Reservation, we paid our $10 per person entrance fee and parked at the trailhead. The Hot Springs Mountain trail is very much a fire road, wide, gravelly and exposed until around the two-mile mark. This section is also much more strenuous when compared to the rest of the trail, needing to ascend near-1500 feet over those two miles. It is also where the surrounding environment (and terrain) begins to change. Tree shade becomes instantly abundant, gravel turns to dirt, and the trail sees a far more gradual incline. Making our way to Lookout Tower, we took our time exploring the nearby ruins before continuing to the summit. One final ascent later and we had reached an impressive rock formation that represents the true peak. Many a hiker has climbed said rocks, so not only are there ropes attached to the side of the formation, but there is also a step ladder around back for easier access. We all used the ladder and after a bit of bouldering, we had officially arrived at the true summit. We took our pictures, took in the views, and relaxed for a few minutes (as by this time, we had earned it). The all-encompassing, 360-degree views were magnificent. Fortunately, from this point forward it was (almost) all downhill, allowing us to truly appreciate the impending sunset.