Old Survey Road 97

Just around the corner from the Ramona Grasslands, is the Old Survey Road. Old Survey Road 97 was once the main thoroughfare connecting Ramona and Escondido. This trail is only opened for about 3 months out of the year by the county. You need a free permit to do this hike and only 50 hikers per day are allowed on the trail. I convinced a couple of other friends to join me on this adventure.

The trail is not too challenging, although it has some elevation gain toward the turn-around point. Unlike the last time I did this hike, we had a nice cloud cover to keep us nice and cool. We got to the trailhead just before 8 am. Once the ranger was set up, we checked in and set off down the trail. 

At the trail’s end, some grabbed a snack before making the climb back up. Partway up, I stopped to see how they were fairing and spotted a nice rainbow to the west. One of the primary features of this hike is passing the nesting area for a pair of Golden Eagles. Unfortunately, their nests are a fair distance away. Some folks had come to this spot with some seriously long lenses to try to capture them. One photographer shared one photo he grabbed earlier in the day. Once back at the car, we headed off to have some lunch at Mi Ranchito. 


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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