El Cajon Mt. the hotter “El Cap” of San Diego County

Peak Summited2021 El Cajon Mountain
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadEl Cajon Mountain Trail
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were not too bad
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsMinor obstacles posing few problems

After having already done Hot Springs Mountain, Mt. Volcan, Cuyamaca Peak, and Mt. Woodson, I thought I was ready for “El Capitan”. Though I finished in good time (started at 7:40 and was back at the car by 12:15) it was still the hardest of all these other hikes. The undulating up and down plus the longer than average 11.3 mile distance, coupled with the lack of cover from the sun, work to drain you both mentally and physically. Similar to comments from other hikers, the keys to success are: be prepared for uphill both ways, start as early as you can to avoid the sun, and bring all the water you can carry. (5 liters min.). Great hike though. Hiking alone I was thankful for the couple in front of me that was keeping a challenging pace, and for the partial cloud cover that made the hike more manageable. As you approach the last push up to the summit be careful to not lose your way. They have some green markers closely spaced but if you miss the first one to your left you might be bushwhacking until you find an alternate trail (see pic below). It seems to happen with frequency evidenced by the aforementioned “alternative trails”. Otherwise, I'd also recommend a sun hat and sunscreen. The pic with the wooden summit sign looks out onto Cuyamaca Peak in the distance.


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