Viejas Mountain

Well, the original plan for today was to drive out to Anza-Borrego and summit Indianhead. However, one of my hiking buddies had to back out and the weather was forecasting 20+ mile per hour winds with gusts up to 35 mph. Not exactly the best conditions to travel across a ridgeline to the summit. Ted and I still held out hope that the forecast might turn, so we kept to the original plan and would make a final decision in the morning.

Well, the forecast held, so we went for plan B, Viejas Mountain. This was one of the other remaining peaks I needed to do. It is a short but steep peak. It appeared we got a little bit of rain overnight—another present from the system. As we drove out to Alpine, it was evident that this was going to be a cloudy hike.

Bundling up against the cold and the wind, we set off in the dark up the rocky trail. It is only about 1.5 miles to the summit, but you do gain about 1,500 feet, so it will give you a workout.

Once we reached the ridge, the wind picked up and our pants were damp from the brush along the trail. The summit was about a quarter-mile to the north. Given the conditions, we knew that we were not going to be staying long.

The register was full, so I did not attempt to sign it. Poking around the wind shelters, I found a reference mark. Pulling up Peakbagger, it denoted one more reference mark and the benchmark itself. Using its map, I first found the other reference mark. Using the arrows on them, I focused on locating the benchmark. There, partially covered by the rocks that make up the wind shelter was the actual benchmark!

Both Ted and I were getting chilled, so we began our descent. We took our care as we made our way through the mist—no need to slip and turn an ankle. We soon found ourselves back at the car and changed into some dry clothes. Since we made great time up and back, we decided to go grab a hot breakfast in Alpine. That was peak #98 of my #100PeakChallenge!


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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