Hot Springs Mtn - San Diego County HP, CA • Hike
for free!
 This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Hot Springs Mtn - San Diego County HP, CA

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  5 of 5 
22 1 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,516 feet
Elevation Gain 2,015 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,451 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 22.46
 Interest Peak
 Backpack No
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22  2023-01-08 DixieFlyer
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 883
Photos 11,623
Trips 783 map ( 8,949 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Fountain Hills, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:43am - 5:17pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Too hot to handle
by DixieFlyer

 Likely In-Season!
Hot Springs Mountain (elevation of 6,533 feet and prominence of 2,613 feet) is the highpoint of San Diego County.

The hike is entirely on a forest road with very nice tread on it. You'll be hiking on compressed sand and dirt which is compacted enough not to be slippery but provides some cushioning. There is hardly a single rock on the roads. Once at the summit, there is a fun class 3 climb to get to the summit, which is atop a boulder about 20 feet high.

From the campground, begin the hike on Sukat Road at a "Trail Entrance" sign. You will start going uphill almost immediately. The first 2 miles are the toughest part of the hike, as you'll gain about 1,300 feet in that stretch. The tread is very nice which makes for some nice hiking. There is a lot of sun exposure in this section, which might make it uncomfortable on a hot summer day.

After about 2.5 miles you'll come to a junction with Hot Springs Mountain Road, which is the only junction on the hike. Take a right turn onto Hot Springs Mountain Road, at a sign that says "Lookout Tower". Continue on Hot Springs Mountain Road all the way to the summit area. The grade lessens quite a bit during this section, and you'll be hiking through a nice coniferous forest.

Once at the summit area, you'll see a couple of picnic tables and the remains of the Hot Springs Fire Lookout Tower to your left. The wooden tower was constructed in 1942 and once had a 14X14 cab on it. However, the roof has collapsed, the structure is dilapidated, and it is probably not too far away from falling completely.

From the fire lookout tower, head northeast to the highpoint, which is atop a large boulder. There is a metal ladder and some nylon webbing attached to some bolts on the boulder that some use to climb to the highpoint. However, this looked exposed and sketchy to the author of the guide, so he climbed up on the north side of the boulder via a minimally exposed class 3 climb. Those who have a fear of heights or who are uncomfortable with climbing should probably not try and get to the summit. Others will likely find the climb to be a lot of fun!

After enjoying the views at the highpoint, return to the trailhead the way that you ascended.

This was an enjoyable hike on some very nice tread. You will get a decent workout on the hike, along with a fun class 3 climb to get atop the summit boulder.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2023-01-12 DixieFlyer
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

     Permit $$
    Special Use

    Red Tape
    Hot Springs Mountain is on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, and a permit to hike to the summit. The cost of a permit is $10 per person and can be purchased at the Los Coyotes Ranger Station or prepaid online. Details are on the Los Coyotes Reservation website.

    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    The trailhead is at the Los Coyotes Reservation Campground.

    To get to the trailhead, you need to make your way to Highway 79, near Warner Springs, California. About 2 miles from Warner Springs, turn east on Camino San Ignacio. Travel for about 5 miles and you will come to a gate at the Los Coyotes Ranger Station. Pay your entry fee here. Continue for almost another 3 miles to the campground. Turn left at a sign that says "Trailhead Parking". Roads are paved except for the last 0.8 miles to the parking area, which is a well-graded dirt road that any vehicle can navigate.

    Google maps will get you there if you search for "Los Coyotes Reservation Campground".
    page created by DixieFlyer on Jan 12 2023 9:51 am

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