Margarita Peak

Once back at the car, I headed off for the second summit, Margarita Peak. Just past the gate stood two crosses off to the side of the trail. Unlike the groomed road to the other peak, this hike was going to be more ‘natural’.

Initially, I trekked along an old firebreak until I came to a sign denoting the Margarita Peak Preserve. Now, the trail turned to a single track use trail and began its steep climb. The sun was warming up the day, and I was sweating as I pushed through the overgrowth.

Finally, the trail reached the ridgeline and the grade eased. A lone oak tree stood atop a false summit. I took a moment to catch my breath and cool off. Once I was ready, I set off for the final push. A cairn and ribbon helped guide me through the manzanita to the summit. 

The summit has an odd metal pole and two interesting metal squares. I didn’t find a register, even though it is listed on the lower peaks committee list. The views were even better of Pendleton than from Margarita Lookout.

As expected, the descent was tricky but I kept my footing. Once back at the car, I enjoyed some cool water and a dry shirt. Just then a quad-runner came screaming by. The passenger was helmetless. I could only shake my head and hope they didn’t crash. A couple more riders passed by, properly geared and riding at a reasonable speed. I knew I would need to keep my eyes open on the drive down in case I encountered any riders. These were two fun little adventures in a part of San Diego county I have never explored. Personally, I think one of these should have been the replacement for Rock Mountain instead on the 100 Peak Challenge list.


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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