Wooded Hill – Laguna Mountains

Wooded Hill is one of the high points of the Laguna Mountain range at 6,233′. It is a short, easy 1.6 mile loop that allows the hiker to enjoy pine and oak forest, as well as a few good views to the south and west. Short and sweet, this interpretive hike is good for beginners as well as the more seasoned hiker who is looking for a good, shady stroll.


Distance: 1.6 Miles
Elevation Gained: 215′
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 45 minutes
Critters: None

Get here like this. 

Note: You will need a National Forest Adventure Pass to park here.

Pleasant. That word encapsulates this hike. It is relatively easy. The forest is charming. There are some good views. This is not a hike to drive 80 miles for, but it is certainly enjoyable enough tacked on to a camping trip or as part of a longer day.

After soaking in a brilliant sunrise at the Desert View Picnic Area, I drove over to Wooded Hill, which is a surprising high point at the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. I say it is surprising because nothing about this hike feels like a summit experience. There are no expansive views, save those toward Mexico, no craggy boulders to scramble over, and you barely have to work to get here. Yet, there you are at 6,233′ on one of the highest points in San Diego County.

The trail starts of Wooded Hill Road and completes a sort of figure-8 loop. There is a much easier .5 mile loop that just takes in a part of the forest, but at 1.6 miles, it’s not like the longer loop is much more challenging. The entire trail is interpreted, which means a guide corresponding to numbered locations will help show the way. This guide explains the fauna and the ecosystem a bit, and it’s a nice educational experience without being an essential part of the hike.

This would be an excellent fall hike given the prevalence of black oaks on this trail. Black oak leaves turn gold in the fall (and pink when first emerging). The splashes of bright gold all across the trails would make this a gorgeous little hike.

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