Monserate Mountain is one of a number of beautiful Preserves managed by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. The trail takes a no-nonsense approach up the west side of the mountain through the typical mix of chaparral and coastal sage scrub, leading to panoramic vistas of Fallbrook’s avocado orchards, the Pacific Ocean, and surrounding mountains. Because the trail is steep and exposed, it is best enjoyed in the cooler temperatures of fall, winter, and spring.
We arrived mid-morning and found the parking area about 2/3 full. The trail was busy, but not overly crowded. It was clear this was a popular spot for a those seeking an enjoyable outdoor workout. Across the road from the parking area was a wide dirt path blocked by a chain – our trailhead. From the road, the rocky trail began to ascend almost immediately.
A bit beyond the 1 mile mark we found another wooden post marking a side trail named “Red Diamond.” There looked to be a reasonable sized network of trails in the area the might merit future exploration, however today we continued straight along the road to reach the summit.
Turning up this trail, we made one final steep ascent to the top where we found an elaborate pile of rocks marking the summit. There was also a metal box containing a peak register and assorted goodies.
As we stood, catching our breath and taking in the view, we saw a pair of turkey vultures glide in from the southeast and begin circling overhead. Sure, we were breathing a little hard, but I really didn’t think we were in bad enough shape for the carrion eaters to be interested.
After a rest, we headed back down the way we had come.
From I-15 north, take the CA-76 exit toward Pala/Oceanside/Bonsall. Turn left onto CA-76 west, and after approximately .4 mile turn right onto Old Highway 395. Follow Old 395 for 2.6 miles and turn right onto Stewart Canyon Drive. Pass under the freeway and turn right onto Pankey Road, where you will find a dirt parking area immediately on your right. The trailhead will be on the left (east) side of Pankey Road. map
|Total Distance:||3.2 miles|
|Total Ascent:||1150 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
For more information, visit:
Fallbrook Land Conservancy – Monserate Mountain Preserve