Simon County Preserve – Ramona Peak


Simon County Preserve is one of Ramona’s many excellent hiking destinations. The 650-acre preserve has a number of interconnecting trails to explore, wide open grasslands, and a few small creeks. It is also home to Ramona Peak – a relatively easy climb that still rewards you with some wonderful views.

The location of Simon County Preserve is a little odd in that it is not immediately adjacent to the road. There is also no formal staging area, so after following Google Maps to the address listed on the county’s web site (23500 Bassett Street), we found ourselves in the middle of a residential neigborhood. We parked along the street, then the roadfollowed a wide dirt path as it passed the dog park. A single golden retriever and his human were playing fetch.

We quickly came to the boundary of the Simon Open Space Preserve. Our destination – Ramona Peak – could be seen in the distance.

Once through the gate, we noted a single track heading off to the left and a slightly wider path heading to the right. It looked like the left fork made a pretty straight ascent up to the ridgeline in the west, while the right fork took less direct and better established approach. We decided to take the right fork since it looked a little easier.

We passed an informational kiosk, which was sadly devoid of any kind of a trail map, and then a shaded picnic table as the trail turned north.

Look east we had some lovely views of Mount Gower Cuyamaca Peak.

We continued on the main trail heading towards a row of power lines. At .55 miles we came to a “T” junction where the left fork headed up the steep hill. We turned here and began our ascent.

We made our way up the utility road, which alternated between steep and eroded, and flatter, easier stretches.

As we neared the top, the hillside was covered in verdant green grass, courtesy of the extremely wet winter.

Of course, as we climbed the views became more and more breathtaking.

Just shy of 1.25 miles we reached the top of the ridge and came upon a 4 way intersection. We headed right, aiming for Ramona Peak.

There several patches of bright flowers dotting the trailside.

We followed the trail along the ridgeline to approximately 1.75 miles, where we spotted a perfectly placed bench just off the trail. We had arrived at Ramona Peak.

The views were fantastic, and we had the peak entirely to ourselves. We sat for a good while on the bench enjoying a cooling breeze and listening to the birds, before finally retracing our route.


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Directions:
From Main St. in Ramona, take 10th Street to San Vicente Road. Follow San Vicente Road for approximately 5.2 miles then turn left onto Arena Drive. Turn left onto Spangler Peak Road, then right onto Bassett Way. The trailhead will be on your left, a few hundred feet up the road, right next to a small dog park. Park on the street. map

Total Distance: 3.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Total Ascent: 750 feet
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes allowed
Facilities: No restrooms; water fountain at dog park outside of preserve
Fees/Permits: None

For more information, visit:
View route or download GPX from CalTopo
County of San Diego Parks and Recreation – Simon County Preserve

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