The original plan was to meet up with someone I used to admin with on the San Diego Hiking Society Facebook group. I left that role a few months back and wanted to catch up with her. Unfortunately, work got in the way and she had to cancel. I had never done the West Side Road Trail and still wanted to cross it off my list. I drove out through Ramona and toward San Diego Estates. Mt. Gower loomed over me to my north as I made my way to the trailhead. I parked and grabbed my gear. The trail begins along a paved road next to a house. I crossed over the road-closed gate and continued making my way up the road. Some bits of graffiti lined the road. The paved road became dirt as it still climbed up. I was rewarded for this effort with some nice views of the mountains. I could see Cuyamaca, Middle Peak, Viejas, and Volcan with ease. With some care, I could spy Eagle Peak and Peak 1546.
The road eventually turned northward and I could see more of Gower off to my left. While I had passed another hiker just as I began, I encountered one more out enjoying the trail. We chatted for a bit. He moved down from Riverside and was getting to know the area. We said our goodbyes, as he still had a ways to go to return to his starting point.
Eventually, the road came to an end, and the trail turned into a single track before coming to a very clear No Trespassing sign. I snapped a few photos and retraced my route. Soon I found myself back on the pavement and nearing my car. I could see a couple of miles away from the trailhead to Cedar Creek falls. That is one hike I have never done. In part don’t want to deal with the crowds and when it is flowing it usually means it is desert hiking season. I logged this hike at 4.5 miles and I covered it in 1:39 (including the time spent chatting). There were almost 848 feet of gain, so I did get a nice workout from it.
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.