Viejas Mountain – Peak #13

The dawn sunshine on El Cajon Mountain from Viejas Mountain

The dawn sunshine on El Cajon Mountain from Viejas Mountain

Viejas Mountain
Elevation: 4,189′
Total Mileage: ~3.5
Trailhead Map (32.856701, -116.742214)

I got up before dawn to drive out to Alpine to get an early start. It was nice to actually start hiking up a trail with the temperature in the 80’s, as opposed to being in the 90’s. I got about .75 miles up the mountain when I turned around and was treated to a great view of El Cajon Mountain washed in golden light as the sun rose over the other side of Viejas Mountain.

As I hiked up the steep rocky trail. I began to see tracks in the dirt. I thought that it was a dog print, but I realized that it would have been a pretty big dog. After watching the tracks follow the trail for a mile or so, they disappeared. Either the dog’s owner turned around, or it was from a mountain lion. It just seemed too big for a dog.  [Now that I know my tracks better, it was definitely a mountain lion.- added July 2011]

Mountain Lion Track

Mountain Lion Track

As I followed the trail around the northern edge of the mountain, I was presented with a great view of the rolling San Diego backcountry all the way to Eagle Peak and Cuyamaca.

The San Diego Backcountry

The San Diego Backcountry

Once again, I was completely alone on the trail. I finally felt the rays of the sun on me as I scaled the ridge line. I began noticing some large spiders just off the trail. Once I got back home, I did some research and found out that it is called a Silver Garden Spider.

Silver Garden Spider

Silver Garden Spider

I followed the ridge and made the peak. I could see the Viejas Casino below me and the rock windbreak on the summit. There was an extraordinary amount of flies among the rocks. I searched around for a reason, but could not see anything. I saw several lizards scurrying among the rocks, taking advantage of the abundance of flies.

Lizard among the rocks

Lizard among the rocks

Rock pile on Viejas Mountain Summit

Rock pile on Viejas Mountain Summit

I descended back into the shade and had to take it easy on the way down. There were too many rocks on the very steep trail. I made my way back home in time for breakfast. The trail gains and loses about 1000′ per mile, which is pretty steep.

Viejas Mountain Trail Map

Viejas Mountain Trail Map (Click to Enlarge)

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  1. says

    I am thinking about doing this peak this weekend. Do you happen to have a track log for this trip?

    I see a faint trail from Boundary Truck Trail West; is that the trail you took? Trail stars about here… 32.85645, -116.74211

  2. says

    You are correct. That is the trailhead. I’ve added a trail map to the page. You basically find the trail on the east side of the dirt road across from a wide spot for parking and head on up. There is only one trail and it’s pretty hard to miss. It’s a relatively short but steep trail and the views are great.

    If you start early, most of the hike will be in the shade, as the sun rises on the other side of the ridge. Good luck!

  3. says

    Knocked this one out on Saturday. It sure kicked my butt though; maybe because of how steep it is. I was expecting a nice easy 1.75 mile hike to the top, not. Great views though.

    On my way down, I saw a rattle snake, enjoying the morning sun, right in the middle of the trail. Watch where you step!

    Thanks for inspiring me every weekend!


  4. says

    Glad you did it. Hopefully it wasn’t too hot for you. I had better start hiking more quickly, or you will catch up!

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