Coyote Mountain

As we pulled onto the side road along Rockhouse Canyon Road, another car was parked with a solo hiker getting ready to make their ascent of Coyote Mountain. Unlike last weekend, when the winds were a bit too high for our comfort, today’s forecast looked pleasant, although just a touch on the warmer side. Susie, Alberto, and I gathered our gear and began hiking across the desert floor to the ridge that we would follow up to the summit. The other hiker had already left and appeared to be making good time.

Soon we found ourselves at the base of the steep ridge and started our ascent. I was hoping that I might find the folded rock again and see it in a better light. As luck would have it, we passed right by it. Score! 

Susie guided us up the ridge. The route is very well marked with cairns, and after a bit, the use trail began to reveal itself. While not really needed, as this is a standard ridgeline hike without any real obstacles, it is nice to walk on a more cleared route. 

Unfortunately, I am not as fit as Susie, so we took a short break to let me recover a bit. I then took over the pace-setting. We would take a few more quick breathers just before a steeper section along the ascent, We were still holding a solid pace. 

As we neared the final steep section, that earlier hiker was making his way back down. We chatted a bit before continuing on. Soon, we crested the summit, and the wooden pole that marks it stood before us. We took a nice break, snapping some photos, signing the register, and refueling. I found the two reference marks, as well as the benchmark itself. Since both Susie and I had early evening plans, we were mindful of the time and headed back down.

The descent went pretty quickly. I found a nice rhythm that did not bother my knees. When I did this hike back in 2019, I had some serious knee pain on the descent. This time, no real discomfort. Susie and Alberto would stop occasionally for a brief moment to regroup. One thing I have learned with my knees is to hike at the pace my body can handle. Once I would catch up with them, I usually kept right on going.

As we neared the base of the ridge, we almost headed down the wrong spur, but a quick check of our ascent track got us back on track. Off in the distance, we spotted a truck that had pulled up. We were curious who might be looking at starting this hike around noon. The temperatures were in the mid-70s and there is no shade on the entire hike. It turns out it was another hiker and his wife we knew, who had just started tackling some harder hikes across San Diego. We chatted some before parting ways. The stats for the hike were 5.2 miles in 4:29. Our time up to the summit was 2:15, and we spent about 20 minutes relaxing before heading down. The elevation gain was a mere 2,623 feet. 


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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