San Diego Trail Tramps

  5054' Oakzanita Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Oakzanita Peak

Date:  Sunday, March 22nd, 2015  Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Location: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, east of San Diego and north of Descanso

Directions and Times: From San Diego, head east about 37 miles on Interstate 8 out to the Descanso turnoff. Follow Highway 79 6.0 miles north from Interstate 8 at Descanso to reach a small parking area on the east side of the road. The trailhead is located at mile 3.1 according to the Highway 79 milemarkers. Google Maps directions to the parking area on Hwy 79 at 32°53'21.9"N by 116°34'33.5"W (From Hillcrest in San Diego, it's about 43 miles and a 45 minute drive. Our group will meet at the trailhead about 10:15 AM, after a caravan from a member's nearby Descanso ranch. We'll begin the hike at 10:30 AM.)

Background info.: The name "Oakzanita" was derived from the oaks and manzanita growths on the mountain slope. Oakzanita Peak is one of only a handful of named peaks in the Cuyamaca Mountains. The view from its rock summit is quite impressive on a clear day and well worth the hike...

Summit View of Cuyamaca Peak and Stonewall Peak to the north/northwest

Hike Description: 4.6 miles Roundtrip, out and back. Hiking time: 3 hrs., Elevation gain/loss: 1200', Difficulty: Moderate. Marked trails, obvious routes, easy terrain. From the trailhead, follow the Lower Descanso Creek Trail to the right (south). It quickly bends northeast, following oak-shaded Descanso Creek, and joins East Mesa Fire Road after .5 mile. Turn right and continue east up the fire road for .1 mile, then veer right on the Upper Descanso Creek Trail.

The next 1.1 miles is a constant and moderate uphill grade through chaparral. At the top of the grade in a saddle, is the Oazkzanita Trail. Head right (east) and climb a crooked .6 mile to the summit. There's a peak register at the top. Return the same way, or choose a longer, more gradual descent by following the Ozakzanita Trail all the way east to East Mesa Fire Road, and use it to reach Lower Descanso Creek Trail.

Misc. info: As in most all California state parks, no dogs are allowed on the trails.