Pamo Valley Trail

I decided to hike the Pamo Valley section of the Coast to Crest Trail which is just north of Ramona. I pulled into the empty Orosco Ridge Trailhead at about 7 am. It was brisk and the sun had not risen above the hills yet. I had seen this trail before, as it follows the road that is used to access Big Black Mountain. Slipping on a second layer, I headed north.

The well-marked trail works its way along the valley, occasionally crossing the road from time to time. Since this is an active cattle grazing area, sections are managed via gates. I would also cross a few bridges along the way.

Like all the hikes on the Coast to Crest Challenge, there is a designated selfie spot. For Pamo Valley it is near the end of the trail. It wasn’t until near this spot did I finally hear some cows mooing in the distance. 

I decided to keep going until I reached the Forest Road for Big Black Mountain before turning back. I thought about my dear friend Mark Kerbel as the miles ticked off, for today was his birthday. He would have enjoyed this one.

As I returned to the parking lot, a few more cars had arrived. I tossed my gear in and headed home. Just two more hikes and my third Coast to Crest Challenge will be complete.


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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