Arrowmaker Ridge

Update: Have been informed that this peak is now off-limits. It lies within the Pilcha (West Mesa) Cultural Preserve, and since there is no trail it should not be accessed. The replacement peak is now Paradise Mountain.

After completing my last hike for the 2018-2019 Coast to Crest Challenge earlier in the day, I decided to squeeze in summiting Arrowmaker Ridge. I had hoped to do it when I did my Cuyamaca loop, but time was running short and I had a 50th birthday to get to.

After refueling at Wynola Pizza, I drove down to the West Mesa trailhead and headed out. The trail initially follows the Japacha Fire Road and goes steady upward. At the intersection with the West Mesa Fire Loop Road, it was time to leave the trail and head cross country.

I had generated a route from Google Earth to guide me once I left the fire road. Rather than a direct approach to the summit, I crossed the meadow and then kept to the southeast side of the ridge which had far less vegetation according to the satellite imagery.

For the most part, this route worked great. The summit is anti-climatic, there is no register or Benchmark. But if you are working on this challenge, this summit is a perfect one to test out your cross-country navigation skills.

I found my way back down, and with a few false starts, I crossed back through the meadow. Unfortunately, my boots and socks were covered in cattails. I picked out the worst of them, but really wished I wore my gaiters.

I hustled my way back to the car, as I realized I forgot to hang up my Adventure Pass. Thankful, no nasty gram was on the windshield. I shed my boots and socks and drove home. This was peak #43!


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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