Quarry Loop Trail (Mission Trails Regional Park)


The Quarry Loop in the southwest corner of Mission Trails Regional Park is a short but scenic trail with some surprisingly good views for such a short hike. From atop the ridge you can look west to the ocean and spot San Clemente and Catalina islands on the horizon, and to the southeast there are great views of the major Mission Trails peaks.

There are actually several interconnecting loops in this part of the park providing options for different routes. We basically just followed the signs that said “Quarry Loop Trail (1.3 Mile Loop)” and found the resulting trek to be quite enjoyable.

From our parking spot on Colina Dorada Drive, we squeezed past the metal gate and set off up the wide utility road, gravel crunching beneath our feet.

The road sloped gently uphill. Just past .1 mile we spotted a wooden kiosk on the left side of the trail. On the opposite side of the gravel road, the Quarry Loop trail branched off to the right.

We turned right and headed slightly downhill.

A short way down the path we came upon a “Y” junction. The left fork went uphill, while the right fork continued around the outside edge of the hillside. The left fork actually bisects a larger outer loop, one of the interconnecting trails mentioned earlier. We turned right, following the sign for “Quarry Loop South Trail”.

We made our way through the vibrant green brush. There were a few flowers starting to bloom, but mostly we had verdant green grass and brush surrounding us.

As the trail swung eastward, we had some views of a quarry operation to the south, clearing up any doubts we had about the source of the trail’s name.

Soon, the trail started to bend north and we found ourselves climbing the steep hillside.

Our effort was soon rewarded with some absolutely outstanding views of South Fortuna, Kwaay Paay, Pyles Peak, and Cowle’s Mountain.

Around .8 miles we came to a junction. The left fork was the other end of the bisecting trail leading back to the previous junction. We stayed right.

We paused periodically to enjoy the views, but there was still more climbing to do.

Finally, around 1.1 mile we reached the top of the hill and another junction. The right fork continued on to the Fortuna Saddle Trail near the Clairemont Mesa entrance, and you could take this fork for slightly a longer loop if you wanted to. But we chose the left fork to close our loop.

We had some more beautiful vistas as we made our way down a rocky slope.

At 1.3 miles we reached the Fortuna Saddle Trail again.

We turned left and followed the gravel road back to our starting point.


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Directions:
From I-15 take the Tierrasanta Blvd exit. Head east on Tierrasanta Blvd for approximately 2.9 miles (almost to the end of the road), then turn left onto Colina Dorada Dr. Follow Colina Dorada for approximately 1 mile to the trailhead at the intersection of Colina Dorada Drive and Calle De Vida. Park on the street. map

Total Distance: 1.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Total Ascent: 325 feet
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes allowed
Facilities: None
Fees/Permits: None

For more information, visit:
Mission Trails Regional Park
Trail Map
View route or download GPX from CalTopo

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