Love Valley

Love Valley sits in a tiny recess on the southern flank of Palomar Mountain. Less Palomar-ish and more like some of the broad valley/grasslands you would find at Santa Rosa or Daley Ranch, this tiny open space features three varieties of oak, views of Lake Henshaw, the Volcan Mountains, and Hot Springs Mountains. Oh, and …

Observatory Trail, Palomar Mountain

Distance: 4.5 Miles (There-and-Back)Elevation Gained: 750'Difficulty: ModerateCritters: A deer; a flock of quailDirections: Drive to this spotNote: You may need to pay a fee or have an adventure pass to hike here. Furthermore, this campground shuts down in the winter, so you may be forced to start the hike at the Observatory instead of the …

Volcan Mountain

Volcan Mountain Fire Road - Five Oaks TrailDistance: 5.2Elevation Gained: 1,200'Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous Time: 2:00Critters: None to speak of Volcan Mountainhttp://www.everytrail.com/swf/widget.swfEveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near San Diego, Californiahttp://www.everytrail.com/trip/widgetimpression?trip_id=1551716Pros:- Great views of Julian, the desert, and East County- Beautiful oak woodlandsCons:- Jerry Schad did me dirtyDetails:Volcan Mountain is the high point of the mountains …

Caliente Creek and the Agua Caliente Wilderness

Pacific Crest TrailDistance: 19 MilesElevation Gain: 2,100'Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 6:50Critters: Nothing in particularPros:- Beautiful riparian vegetation featuring cottonwoods, Coulter pines, live oaks, and willows- Large patches of carpet wildflowers and great wildflower blooms all around- Great views of the peninsular ranges (Palomar, Santa Anas, Volcans)- Remoteness and isolation give the place a very wild feelingCons:- Long …

Cheeseboro Canyon

Modelo Trail - Palo Comado Connector Trail - Shepherd's Flat Trail - Albertson Fire Road - Cheeseboro Canyon TrailDistance: 13.2 milesElevation Gain: 1200'Difficulty: Moderately StrenuousTime: 4:45Critters: A roadrunner, a crow that hovered over my shoulder, squirrels, rabbits,Pros:- Long stretches of oak woodland- A nice transition from rolling green hills and oak woodland to sun-drenched chaparral …

Point Mugu State Park, Pt. 2 – Old Boney Trail

Satwiwa Loop Trail - Danielson Fire Road - Old Boney Trail - Blue Canyon Trail - Sycamore Canyon Trail - Upper Sycamore Canyon TrailDistance: 11.7 MilesElevation gain: 2,000'Difficulty: Moderately StrenuousTime: 4 hours, 37 minutesCritters: an injured coyote, a healthy coyote, feral parrots, squirrels, rabbits, quailHow to Get There: Take 101 north (or south, depending on …