Agua Tibia

Today’s summit was Agua Tibia, a 4,779-foot peak near the San Diego- Riverside county line. Our planned peak, Square Top, could not be attempted due to a music festival being held on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation.

The trail starts in the Dripping Springs campground and begins its climb upward. The weather was pleasant, and the smell of flowers filled the air. The trail weaved its way upward, at times switching back and forth to gain elevation. To our north, the snow-capped mountains framed our views.

About 4 miles in, Ted and I found a nice spot for a break. The route is not too hard, mostly just long…

On the way up we encountered two trail runners. One told us the Wild Horse trail had some downed trees. But we were not doing this peak as a loop. Soon we found ourselves about 8 miles in and looking for the use trail to the summit. This was the only portion that had some challenges, as we bushwhacked our way forward. The Palomar-Magee section used to require you to pass through hunched-over. Thankfully, this section has now been cleared.

We found the register, the primary benchmark, and one reference marker. I signed us in and took another break.

Then we put our packs back on and grabbed our poles and began heading back down the mountain. The miles passed quickly, and we spotted a snake basking in the sun. Since this little fella was just a garter snake, we stepped over it.

We found ourselves back at the same logs for another break. That is one thing that this trail lacks is spots for a break. About a half mile later, we found a family resting on the trail. They looked woefully under-prepared for the hike they are on. Thankfully, they did turn around. As we continued down, we encountered a few more hikers. I doubt they were planning to summit the peak.

Near the base of the trail, someone was doing some maintenance, and we thanked him for his efforts. Soon, we were passing the Agua Tibia Wilderness Sign and the end of our hike. We covered just over 16 miles, climbing over 3,400 feet of elevation to the summit at 4,762. This hike took just under 8 hours and was a great hike for my 95th peak on my 100 Peak 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, Central Coast, 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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