McGinty Mountain

Located near Jamul, stands McGinty Mountain. Jerry Schad, the original author of Afoot and Afield in San Diego, wrote

While there is not as much foot traffic on this trail as nearby Mount Woodson, Iron Mountain, and Cowles Mountain, the views at the summit are equally as stunning and worth taking in.

A nice-sized dirt parking lot is available next to the trailhead. A kiosk provides some information about the trail and the area. I was joined by my friend Michael and his son Jacob.

The trail follows the side of the mountain, using a series of long switchbacks. You gain some elevation quickly, so make sure you stretch first. After a bit, the grade will lessen, keep an eye on your route as the area is riddled with side trails. Usually, the heavier trafficked path is the correct one.

About 2.2 miles in, the grade will increase again, but as a reward, you will see one of the old mines off in the distance. It is easy to miss but the picture below shows where to stop to see it.

Soon, you will reach the summit of McGinty Mountain after a little rock scrambling.

Once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with views of Mount Helix and Cowles Mountain to your west and San Miguel Mountain and Tecate Peak to the east.


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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