Join the Challenge!
Now in our 6th year, the SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge helps you flex your adventure muscles. Choose any six of 18 peaks, including six in San Diego. You'll be building memories and helping support Big City Mountaineers as they bring life-transforming wilderness experiences to under-resourced youth.
OVERVIEW MAP OF THE SOCAL SIX-PACK OF PEAKS
You can hike the peaks from a number of challenging routes. You can hike them as day hikes or as part of an overnight backpacking trip.
The 2020 challenge has an expanded list of 18 peaks, including six in San Diego County. This overview page gives you links to detailed trail guides for each. The 2020 challenge begins on January 1, 2020.
THE ORIGINAL SIX PEAKS
MOUNT WILSON - Elevation 5,713' (1,741 m)
Mount Wilson can be hiked or backpacked year-round, and rarely gets dusted with snowfall. The summit is home to a cluster of telescopes that are still in use today, including the 100-year old, 100-inch Hooker telescope where Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe extended well beyond the Milky Way, and was in fact expanding.
Original Six-Pack route: Chantry Flats up Sturtevant Trail, down Winter Creek
CUCAMONGA PEAK - Elevation 8,859' (2,701m)
Cucamonga Peak towers above the Inland Empire, with epic views and an Instagram-friendly rock outcrop. It may or not get it's name from a Shoshonee Chief who sent his wayward daughter to live on the summit.
Original Six-Pack route: Icehouse Canyon to Cucamonga Peak
MOUNT SAN ANTONIO (MT BALDY) - Elevation 10,064' (3,068m)
Better known as Mount Baldy thanks to it's tree-less, often snow-capped crown, this peak is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains and the highest point in Los Angeles County.
Original Six-Pack route: Manker Flats ► Devil's Backbone ► Ski Hut Loop
MOUNT SAN JACINTO - Elevation 10,834' (3,302m)
John Muir described Mount San Jacinto like this, "The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!" Who are we to argue? San J towers above Palm Springs and provides an alpine environment right in SoCal.
Original Six-Pack route: Marion Mountain Trail to San Jacinto
THE ALTERNATE SIX PEAKS
ONTARIO PEAK - Elevation 8,696' (2,651m)
Just north of Cucamonga Peak, this 8,696' summit is reached via popular Icehouse Canyon near Baldy Village. With a little extra effort, you can also bag nearby Bighorn Peak, too!
- Hiking Bighorn and Ontario Peaks - SoCalHiker
MOUNT BADEN-POWELL - Elevation 9,406' (2,867m)
One of the highest peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains, Mount Baden-Powell climbs nearly 3,000 feet to commanding 360-degree views and a trip on the Pacific Crest Trail.
- Hiking Mount Baden-Powell - SoCalHiker
SITTON PEAK - Elevation 3,273' (998m)
At an elevation of 3,273 feet is the lowest peak of the dozen, but conveniently close for Orange, Riverside and San Diego County residents. It's roughly 10 miles with over 2,100 feet of vertical gain to the summit.
- Hiking Sitton Peak - SoCalHiker
SAWMILL MOUNTAIN - Elevation 8,819' (2688m)
The highest point in Kern County at 8,819 feet, Sawmill Mountain is also part of the 3-2-1 Challenge (since you're there).
- Mount Pinos and Sawmill Mountain - Modern Hiker
STRAWBERRY PEAK - Elevation 6,164' (1,879m)
The highest peak in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains, and includes a steep ridgeline scramble to the summit. The 6,164′ summit rewards your scrambling skills with some sweet summit views.
- Hiking to Strawberry Peak - SoCalHiker
SANTIAGO PEAK - Elevation 5,689' (1,734m)
Hiking "Saddleback" from either the Maple Springs or Cadillac trailheads (both open) take you to the highest point in Orange County.
THE SAN DIEGO SIX-PACK OF PEAKS
VOLCAN MOUNTAIN - Elevation 5,353' (1632 m)
This 5,353' peak has views of a transitioning landscape, with views that extend to the Pacific Ocean and even Catalina Island on a clear day, and to Anza-Borrego and the Salton Sea to the east. It was considered as a potential site for the observatory that was eventually built on Mount Palomar, and you can still see the remains of the outpost built during the siting study. It's also home to a USPS Air Mail signal tower that dates back to the 1920's when such towers guided pilots across the country at night.
CUYAMACA PEAK - Elevation 6,512' (1,985m)
San Diego's second highest peak, with views that on a clear day can stretch from Mexico to the Coronado Islands.
Note that the Cuyamaca Fire Road to the summit is currently closed until later this year. Scott Turner has a couple of alternate routes that remain open and get you close to the summit (link below). If you hike one of the open routes to the point where it meets the closure area, that will count as a summit. If you really want to get to the summit, obey all closures and wait until the summit has reopened.
- Cuyamaca Highlands - Scott Turner Hikes
- Hiking Cuyamaca Peak - Modern Hiker
- Cuyamaca Peak +3 - A Traverse and a Loop through Western Cuyamaca - 100peaks.com
HOT SPRINGS MOUNTAIN - Elevation 6,535' (1992m)
At 6,535' Hot Springs Mountain is the tallest in San Diego County, making it a must-hike peak for high-pointers. It's located on the Los Coyotes Reservation, which requires a $10 entrance fee.
- Hiking Hot Springs Mountain - Modern Hiker
- Hot Springs Mountain - The Last Adventurer
- Hot Springs Mountain - San Diego's Highest Peak - 100peaks.com
EL CAJON MOUNTAIN - Elevation 3,648' (1112m)
At 3,648' El Cajon Mountain is not the tallest by far, but this 11 mile trek climbs 4,000 vertical feet, making it one of the toughest in San Diego.