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Getting that El Cajon Cardio!

Peak Summited2020 El Cajon Mountain
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadEl Capitan Preserve
EncounteredFall foliage
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were not too bad
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

El Cajon Mountain is a notoriously solid workout of a hike (especially in the heat) and offers a little bit everything from steep inclines to rock scrambling. I arrived at the El Capitan Preserve trailhead by 7:30am (after a two and a half hour drive from LA). About a mile in, I began to notice how much descending I was doing (which is not usual for summiting a mountain). The El Capitan Trail acts as a natural roller coaster in terms of ascents and descents, which means that the trek back will be just as demanding as the journey there. By the time you reach the final saddle, you are likely feeling some sort of relief. After six strenuous miles, I had arrived at the summit. The views were spectacular, but the peak’s completely exposed surface and intensifying heat forced me back down quicker than I would’ve liked. Another taxing six miles later and I had reached the trailhead and parking lot. Overall, this very formidable hike should best be done during the winter. Rigorous activity aside, it is virtually impossible to get lost along this trail; it is incredibly well-marked.

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