The Laguna Mountain Recreation Area offers various trails from moderate to difficult. The most popular trail is the Pacific Crest Trail, officially designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT). The trail is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and its northern terminus on the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.

The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,653 mi (4,270 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Its midpoint is near Chester, California (near Mt. Lassen), where the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges meet.

It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, although it was not officially completed until 1993. The PCT was conceived by Clinton Churchill Clarke in 1932. It received official status under the National Trails System Act of 1968.

It is the westernmost and second longest component of the Triple Crown of Hiking and is part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop. A portion of the PCT trail runs through the Burnt Rancheria campground. You can glamp at our site in Burnt Rancheria and be minutes away from the PCT trail.

Penny Pines Trail is another very popular hike just off Sunrise highway. The views from this fairly moderate trail are stunning. Noble Canyon Trail is another popular hike and also offers some of the best mountain biking opportunities in the backcountry.

You can access the Laguna Meadow Trail from the Laguna / El Prado Campground. This is one of the most beautiful trails in the area and features a seasonal lake.

These are just a few of the hiking trails available in the Laguna Mountain Rec Area.


Big Laguna Trail

Distance: 11.4 miles
Difficulty: Hard

With exotic wildflowers, panoramic mountain views, and the blissful tranquility that only Mother Nature can provide, The Big Laguna Trail is a rare find in the greater San Diego area. Conveniently located 13 miles north of I-8 on Sunrise Highway, this 10-mile loop traverses oak and pine woodlands, vast meadows, and during certain seasons, a clear blue lake. 


Desert View Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
With connections to the PCT this easy trail is great for walking off lunch, or getting some great views McCain Valley, alpine forests, the Anza Borrego Desert, and on clear days, the Salton Sea. Connections to the PCT will add .85 miles, making a loop of about 2 miles. 

Cottonwood Creek Falls

Distance: 1.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Cottonwood Creek in the Laguna Mountains is home a small set of falls with a series of cascades and small pools. The hike to Cottonwood Creek Falls in Laguna is one of the easiest to a waterfall in the county.  


Foster Point

Distance: 8.4 miles
Difficulty: Hard

The Laguna Mountain Recreation Area offers various trails from moderate to difficult. 


Garnet Peak

Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy

This trail offers stunning viewpoints at 6000 elevation and an intense workout with a dramatic climbs at the peak. If starting at the Penny Pines Trailhead and hiking through the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) the Garnet Peak offers a 1.2 mile out-and-back uphill incline as a stand alone trail off of the PCT. If parking at the Garnet Peak trailhead, the 2.2 roundtrip trail still packs quite a punch with its aggressive incline, and the views are well worth the trip. It should be noted however, that this trail is extremely rocky, with loose gravel and potential hazards.


Indian Creek Trail

Distance: 8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

The trail traverses areas of Jeffrey Pine, Black Oak, Coast Live Oak and extensive stands of mixed chaparral. The trail connects to the Pine Mountain Trail and to the East Mesa Trail at the boundary of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Note: The Trail is not Passable to pack and saddle stock beyond the Pine Mountain Trail junction (until the East Mesa Trail is reached)


Kwaaymii Trail

Distance: 1 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Interpretive brochure is available at the visitor information center when it's open. The trail is a short scenic walk.


Lightening Ridge Trail 

Distance: 1.5 mile loop
Difficulty: Easy

Best time to visit is summer and winter. Semi-sparse brush, many side trails, Laguna Meadows, view of Storm Canyon and the desert.


Noble Canyon Trail

Distance: 10 miles
Difficulty: Hard

The Big Laguna Trail to Noble Canyon connection, is largely hailed as one of the best rides in Southern California. Those who have not experienced this unique single-track trail, with its challenging inclines and scenic vistas, are missing out on one of the premier recreational opportunities in the country. Popular with mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers alike, the skill level can vary from easy to difficult depending on the chosen connecting trail. On its own, Noble Canyon stands as one for the more ambitious rider or hiker, with nearly 10-miles (one way) of ledge hugging switchbacks, steep slopes, and jagged rocks, finishing the ride can occasionaly require some walking. For an easier route, users can begin at mile marker 19 and trek through Sunset Trail before hitting the fork to Big Laguna and eventually Noble Canyon.


Oasis Spring

Distance: 1.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Oasis Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 0.6 miles long and begins at 5,441 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 455 feet. The trail ends near the Oasis Spring. This trail connects with the PCT.


Wooded Hill Nature Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles loop
Difficulty: Easy

Pines and Oaks woodland. This is the highest wooded point on Laguna Mt. You can see views of San Diego, Point Loma, and the Channel Islands. Brochures are available on weekends at the Visitor Information Center on Laguna Mt. No equestrians permitted on the trail.



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