Recently I’ve taken up a new recreational activity, hiking! San Diego is such a large county and is full of scenic trails that take you winding down paths, crossing streams, and lead you to breathtaking views. That was the case with my latest adventure to Laguna Mountain. This area of San Diego is a national park with spaces that accomodate both avid campers and tourists of all ages. It’s also perfect for going on a day trip, just make sure you purchase a parking permit for the day if you plan on driving up to any trails.
Tip: The Forest Service collects a recreation fee for parking in these areas. These permits are available at most sporting goods stores. We got ours from a local Sports Chalet for approximately $5. All you need to do is scratch off the specific date on the permit for it to be valid. To view Recreation Pass & Permit vendors, click here.
The road through the mountains was a bit curvy and drivers should be careful of icy roads when there is fresh snow. I suggest also bringing along some chains for your tires just in case. When we finally reached the lodging area, we stopped by the general store to pick up some refreshments and headed on our way to the trails. That day we decided to take the Pacific Crest Trail to Garnet Peak, which came highly recommended by reviewers on Yelp. There’s a clearing on the side of the road to accomodate about 5 or 6 cars at the beginning of the trail. Here’s a fun fact I discovered; the Pacific Crest Trail connects from Mexico all the way to Canada! Now that would be an epic hiking adventure! 😉
Tip: Some items to bring include: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, gloves, scarves, a thick jacket, chapstick, water, and a map.
The trail was fairly flat for about the first half, then it gradually began to steepen. Rocks of various sizes and colors were scattered about and we paid extra attention to them while navigating up the peak. (Tip: A lot of the rocks are loose and can easily trip any hiker.) Once at the top, the view was AMAZING! We could see the Anza Borrego Dessert and all of its peaks and valleys. Every now and then, strong gusts of wind would blow across Garnet Peak, and I had to sit down to prevent myself from falling over.
After hiking along the trail, we returned to the main road and continued our trip through the wooded area. Some visitors were sledding down the slopes while others spent some time building snowmen. I definitely recommend coming here after a snow day. Did I mention this was my first time actually seeing snow?! This trip was filled with lots of memories and I know I’ll be returning again in the near future. 🙂