|| If hikers leave from the Hillcrest carpool about 9:15 am, they'll arrive at the Mt. Laguna Lodge/Grocery Store and next door Visitor's Center (about 10 miles uphill from Interstate 8 at Pine Valley) about 10:30-10:45. You will need a "National Forest Adventure Pass" ($5) to park along the side of the road near the trailhead. (They're sold at the Mt. Laguna Visitor's Center, Mt. Laguna Grocery Store & Lodge, , and most Big 5 Sporting Goods stores in San Diego itself.) Continue up the Sunrise Highway and we'll meet at the trailhead at mile 27.8 at 11:15 am, then start hiking. Be sure to park on the shoulder of the highway, and off the pavement. It's a 1.5 hr. roundtrip hike, plus a lunch break at the top of Garnet Peak. The hike is of moderate difficulty with a 500' elevation gain/loss. Dogs on leash are allowed. Be prepared for last minute weather changes and dress accordingly.
Garnet Peak's exposed position along the edge of the Lagunas' eastern escarpment makes it a good place to view both the pine-clad plateau to the west and the raw desert far below which stretches towards Arizona in the east. From the Sunrise Highway, take the signed Garnet Peak Trail 0.5 mile north through Jeffrey Pine forest to where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail. Continue north, in open chaparral, and through the burnout area from the 2002 Pines fire, on a rocky path that slants up along the shoulder of the peak. The summit is crowned by a jagged cluster of layered, tan rock, and the peak falls away abruptly, revealing the panorama of Storm Canyon and the desert below. Watch your step on the summit! It's one of the windiest places in the county!!
For more detailed info. on the area, refer to "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County" by J.Schad, 1998 Edition, Area M-8: Laguna Mountains, Trip 2, Garnet Peak, pp.195-196. Also, check out our Maps of the area for more details.