Scheduled Hikes for 2009

  Mount Laguna Campout and Hike
~ at Laguna (Meadows) Campground ~

October 17-18, 2009
Hike Group:  
San Diego Trail Tramps

Info. URLs: 
Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association (trails and camping info.)
Laguna Campground, Cleveland National Forest

The Laguna Mountains are located about 65 miles I-8 East of San Diego and up the Sunrise Highway.
Time to check out the autumn colors at Mt. Laguna. There are a dozen trails available in the area. (We'll be doing part of the Big Laguna Trail, combined with part of the Pacific Crest Trail, to create a 10 mile loop, with both panoramic desert and forest/meadow views.)

If hikers leave from the Hillcrest carpool area at 9:00 am on Sunday morning, 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 10:15-10:30 am. You will need a "National Forest Adventure Pass" ($6) to park along the side of the road OR in the day use areas of the local campgrounds. (They're sold at the Mt. Laguna Lodge, Visitor's Center, and most Big 5 Sporting Goods stores.)

After purchasing your "Adventure Pass", drive about 2.5 miles up the Sunrise Highway and turn left into the Laguna Campground, where we'll rendezvous at the south day use parking area, near the Ampitheater, by 11 am. (Some of us will be camping at one of the Loop campsites, if you'd like to stop by before the hike. Check the bulletin board for messages when you come into the campground to find out which site.) Click here for campground map.

The Hike:

Big Laguna Trail/ Pacific Crest Trail loop hike

Distance: 10 miles
Total elevation gain/loss: 900'/900'
Hiking time: 5.5 hrs.
Dogs on leash allowed
Trail bikes allowed, except on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) portion. They can use the Sunrise Highway instead, to complete the loop.

The cool, dry days of autumn are a perfect time to enjoy this loop hike. You'll walk under wind-battered, 200-year-old Jeffrey pines, and spreading black oaks whose golden yellow leaves shimmer in the breeze. Start out at the Laguna Meadows Campground Amphitheater parking lot and pick up the trail that begins along the N/NE border of the meadow area, heading east/northeast. It will eventually intersect with a group campsite for horseback riders. Pick up the campground's paved road that heads out of the area, east by northeast. It will eventually intersect with the Sunrise Highway.

Cross the highway and pick up the trail head that continues northeast, up the hill, and leads to Foster Point. Turn left on the PCT and follow a rambling, but scenic, 4-mile stretch of it. You'll pass several overlooks offering desert views, including Foster Point. Follow the PCT northwest to where it intersects with the Penny Pines parking area, at mile 27.3 on the Sunrise Highway.

Cross the highway and walk west on the Noble Canyon Trail. After 0.1 miles, there's a split: the signed Big Laguna Trail (BLT) goes left. Turn left there. After another 0.8 mile through open pine and oak woods, the BLT turns south to skirt the east margin of Laguna Meadow. By 2.5 miles along that trail, you'll be opposite Big Laguna Lake, which may or may not be filled with water, depending on the season. (Look for migrating ducks and geese there.)

Next, the trail turns east toward an arm of Laguna Meadow that contains Little Laguna Lake (usually a dry lake bed). When you reach a wire fence at 2.8 miles, don't go through the gap in the fence. Instead, turn abruptly right and follow the fenceline over to the wooded area on the meadow's east side. A spur trail branches left toward Laguna Campground. The main trail continues south along the meadow edge and then east to follow a shallow ravine. After a turn to the north and a short bit of steep climbing, you cross the road to the starting point.

Hike description from Jerry Schad's book, "Afoot and Afield In San Diego 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.

Also, be sure to check out our Maps of the area for more details and directions.

The Campout:

For those interested in coming up 1-2 days before the hike, overnite camping is available at the Laguna Campground. Please contact the Cyberhiker @ sbcglobal. net ASAP for campout details if interested in joining the campout. Space is limited to 8 people per site. Come join other rugged, good lookin, outdoor-lovin men under the stars, around a toasty, cracklin campfire! ;^)

Hopefully the skies should be clear and dark for star gazing. With any luck, amateur astronomers may show up with their big telescopes for a "Star Party" in the campground, to share deep space objects/views with us. We may even take the opportunity to visit the Mt. Laguna Observatory on Saturday night, compliments of SDSU. For details on that, inquire during the day at the Mt. Laguna Visitor's Center, next to the Mt. Laguna Lodge/Grocery Store. Limited, free tickets are required.

Also check out the Weather Report for the San Diego Mountains AND Hourly forcasts for Mt. Laguna.