The rugged, triangular peak of Viejas Mountain rises just north of Interstate 8 in Alpine. The trail up the western flank of the mountain is a steep and no-nonsense affair through thick chaparral brush with zero shade. This is not a hike for hot summer days, but makes for a fantastic early morning workout or winter excursion. The climb is steep, but the unobstructed views along the trail and 360 degree vantage from the summit makes the effort more than worthwhile.
The grade was fairly steep, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves pausing to catch our breath and take in our surroundings. The views had been great from the parking area, and they only improved with every step up the mountain.
The trail was rocky but the dirt was relatively hard-packed, so we didn’t have too much trouble with our footing while going uphill. With the steep grade however, I anticipated that the downhill trek might be a little more challenging.
We were surround by a thick carpet of chaparral. While the trail was well worn and easy to follow, it was pretty much impossible to make out except right in front of you. Looking up the mountainside, it was completely obscured by the thick brush.
We climbed steadily up until right around the 1 mile mark. Here, the trail leveled out briefly. Once again, we paused for a brief rest and to admire the views. We had the trail to ourselves at this point, and once we stopped moving, we were surrounded by complete and total silence, interrupted only by the occasional buzzing of insects.
We found 2 survey benchmarks – one just inside the rock shelter’s entrance, and one just outside the southern tip of the shelter. We were pretty sure there should be a third somewhere, but couldn’t locate it.
One of the closest peaks was El Cajon Mountain to the west.
After enjoying the views, we headed back the way we had come.
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From I-8, take the Tavern Road exit and head north on Tavern Road. Stay right to turn onto Victoria Park Terrace. Follow Victoria Park Terrace for approximately .9 miles, then turn left onto W Victoria Drive. Continue for 1.4 miles, then turn left onto Anderson Road. Follow Anderson Road as it transitions to a dirt road and becomes the Boundary Truck Trail (note: the road’s a little bumpy but fine for low clearance cars). Approximately .8 miles after turning onto Anderson, you will find a small turn out on the left where you can park. The trail head is on the opposite side of the road. map
|Total Distance:||3 miles|
|Total Ascent:||1474 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed but not recommended|
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