Mother Miguel Mountain is a modest prominatory in the shadow of the much more impressive San Miguel Mountain (aka Mt Miguel). Since San Miguel Mountain is sadly not open to the public, Mother Miguel is one of the few easily accessible hikes with notable elevation gain in Chula Vista. This distinction, along with the photogenic Rock House (a large man made pile of rocks complete with flagpole) at the summit, make Mother Miguel Mountain a highly popular trail. Don’t expect to find solitude on this hike, but you will be rewarded with a great workout and fantastic views of the South Bay.
Currently, there are several different visible routes leading up the mountain, including a heavily eroded path that goes straight up the mountainside. This type of trail is prone to environmental damage and significant erosion. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (in conjunction with several local groups) has been slowly working to establish a more sustainable formal trail which incorporates switchbacks that cause less damage to the mountain’s fragile habitat. Hopefully we can look forward to some clear trail markers in the future, as currently its a little difficult to tell what the “correct” route is. We did our best to follow the course mapped out in CalTopo which appears to be at least close to what the final trail alignment will likely be. Just be aware that the sanctioned route may change in the future – please follow any trail signs which may appear in the future and don’t shortcut the switchbacks!
There was a large, obvious trail leading straight ahead from the metal gate. This was one possible route, however from looking at the CalTopo map, it appears as though the preferred route is a narrower, single track just to the left of the gate.
The heavily eroded path continued straight up the mountainside, and many other hikers seemed to be taking that route. But there were also a series of switchbacks that crisscrossed the straight path. Besides being considerably gentler on the calves, the switchbacks form a much more sustainable route, so that’s the route we took.
We made our way along the shoulder of the mountain and finally caught a glimpse of an American flag in the distance marking the summit. We also had a few moments of entertainment as the wind whipped up a little dirt devil on the trail ahead of us.
View the full photo gallery
(Note: You can take the toll section of highway 125 for a more direct route, the directions below avoid the toll road).
Take 125 south to the Paradise Valley Road exit. Turn right onto Elkelton Place, then right onto Paradise Valley Road. After approximately .5 mile, turn left onto S Worthington Street. Continue as S Worthington Street turns into Sweetwater Road. Turn left onto Bonita Road, then take the next left onto San Miguel Road. Follow San Miguel Road for approximately .9 miles, then turn right onto Proctor Valley Road. Follow Proctor Valley Road for approximately .5 miles then turn left onto San Miguel Ranch Road. Continue as San Miguel Ranch Road turns into Mt Miguel Road, then turn left onto Paseo Veracruz. Follow Paseo Veracruz for approximately .2 mile and find the trailhead at the end of the street. Park along the street or at the nearby Mt San Miguel Park. map
|Total Distance:||4.1 miles|
|Total Ascent:||1030 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
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View route or download GPX from CalTopo