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 about 2 more miles, and we'll meet at the trailhead at mile 25.2 at 11:00 am where there is a large parking area on the east side of Sunrise Hwy. (Be sure to park on the shoulder of the highway, and off the pavement.) A trail from the parking area says, "Big Laguna Trail to PCT .5 miles." It's a 1.5 to 2 hr. roundtrip hike, plus a lunch break at the top of Monument Peak. The 2.6 mile roundtrip hike is of moderate difficulty with a 550' elevation gain/loss. Dogs on leash are allowed. Be prepared for last minute weather changes and dress accordingly.
* From the parking area (5760'), follow the Big Laguna Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
* Turn left on the PCT and follow it to a point out of the trees where the radio installations on Monument Peak can be seen. The PCT will shortly make a sharp left turn with another fork going straight ahead.
* Go straight ahead and follow this fork as it swings right and comes to a fenced enclosure with some trailers inside. (This is a NASA laser installation.)
* Turn left and follow the fence around the left side of the installation until you come to a paved road.
* Turn left on this road and follow it up to the summit.
The summit (6271') offers a fine view of the Laguna Mountains and the surrounding area. Point Loma and the Coronado Islands can be seen on a clear day.
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 11, p.205, and maps on pp. 192-193.
Below are several shots taken on our hike to Monument Peak in April, 1999: