Bernardo Mountain

Standing over Lake Hodges is Bernardo Mountain. This became another of my new trails once I moved to Rancho Penasquitos. This is a great hike without the crowds that swarm to Iron Mountain or Mt. Woodson. Starting from the parking lot on West Bernardo Drive, you soon cross the beautiful bridge over the lake.

With any luck, there will be water at this end of the lake. Many years ago, I was kayaking on Mother’s Day (with the wife’s OK) and stopped under the I-15 to call my mother, just because.

The trail wraps around toward the west, crossing a small stream along the way.

On this portion of the trail, you will encounter mountain bikers and other folks using the trail. But once the trail to summit breaks off from the main path and turns north again and away from the lake, the number of folks you will encounter will drop off.

The trail begins its climb up the mountain from the northside. After a few steeper sections, you reach the summit.

As a bonus, this summit is one of the five portions of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy’s 2017 Coast to Crest Trail Challenge.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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