Raptor Ridge Trail

Not being a wine drinker, I never really had gone exploring Highland Valley Road. I would look out to the east as I crossed over Lake Hodges, and wonder what might be out there. Well, my hike up to Raptor Ridge was going to answer some of those questions. This hike is one of the five hikes that make up this year’s Coast to Crest Challenge.

Parking at the Old Coach Staging area, I headed north for about a quarter-mile before crossing Highland Valley Road. There I would follow the San Dieguito River on a nice wide trail.

Eventually, the trail would turn east. There is a nice stopping point before it begins its climb to the top of the hill. The trail will narrow into a single track as is works its way to the viewing spot. Here you are rewarded with a lovely view of the San Pasqual Valley. You can spy the San Diego Zoo Safari park to the northwest.

This was yet another gem along the entire trail. I will say there is not a lot of shade, so plan accordingly.


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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