Friday, February 10, 2012

Undercover San Diego: McGinty Mountain

Finally another San Diego Adventure, it has been a while since I did some exploring ( I guess I have been brewing and drinking too much beer). Luckily for me, we are having an unusaully beautiful winter in San Diego. This means it is easier to convince my favorite hiking partner to get out on the trail.

This particular hiking partner (my wife) is pretty specific in the types of hikes she likes. Here are her criteria:

  • Must be a mountain - without an elevation change you are walking, not hiking - her words
  • Must be within a close drive - over 30 min. and she gets restless
  • Must be pretty - meaning trees and flowers, nice view
  • Rather it not crowded - she doesn't like people watching her sweat.

This really narrows down our hiking choices, but it is a fun challenge for me because hiking up mountains and living on the coast doesn't work very well. I looked in my trusty Afoot and Afield: San Diego County: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide . I searched for mountain hikes that were as close to Downtown San Diego as possible. And I was pleasantly surprised to find a decent length hike (~5 mi) within a 25 minute drive - McGinty Mountain. Next, I checked one of my new favorite hiking blogs (100 peaks - unfortunately the San Diego hikes will be discontinued since the author moved.) It looked great and he has gone through a lot of effort to detail the hike. He has a great trail map and even a video of McGinty Mtn. So for my post I will just add some commentary and extra pictures of the trail. Enjoy.

The trail-head is easy to find and it has a good sized parking lot. Looking at the map at the trailhead (above) shows that there are actually several ways to hike to the summit, but I recommend staying on the main trail detailed on the sign.
The hike really has a nice mix of terrain and a good flow to the exercise. You start at a low grade, then a few switch-backs to your first peak.

Then you get to rest a bit as you walk along the ridge to the next steep grade. This grade is pretty darn steep, but there are several places to stop and enjoy the view. And during the last push to the summit, I spotted a cave that I will need to come back to when I have a headlamp. And the summit is worth it, great 360 degree views of San Diego County and into Mexico.

 I would recommend this hike to anyone looking for a nice alternative to Cowles Mountain, which is far too crowded for me.


  1. I like that second pano shot. looks like your using photoshop to stitch them together? how did you get the metering to match on the second one all the way around the pic?

    Along with brewing, hiking/photography is one of my favorite hobbies, you should upload that pano to there are some awesome shots of the backcountry in glacier etc on there

    1. I actually use ArcSoft's Panorama Maker (pmk3), it is pretty old, but works well for me. I think photoshop is a bit over kill for stuff like this. As for the metering - I'm using a Digital SLR in manual mode so its not too difficult.

      Great site, I will upload some there.

  2. Thanks for the blog. I just might try this out over the weekend.

    1. It is a great alternative to the craziness of Cowles Mountain


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