5 AM, as soon as I woke up from my alarm, I got ready to hike up Hot Springs Mountain.
For today’s mountain hike, I had to drive for an hour and a half. Even after driving the long distance, because of the anticipation, I was able to get to Coyote Campground without getting tired. This was due to both the scent of my freshly brewed coffee and the scenic view of the beautiful sunrise unfolding before me. As I reached my destination, many of the other hikers had already arrived and were preparing for the day’s trek.
Hot Springs Mountain is the highest mountain in San Diego and it lives up to its reputation. It is a majestic place with a well maintained hiking trail and the panoramic view from the mountain top incomparable. The area was highly elevated and I could feel the windchill on my wrist. A pleasant surprise was it seemed like there weren’t a lot of annoying bugs. I did not even notice any.
The first two miles of the trek is a very steep slope. I thought I had already been trained by all the slopes I previously hiked on the other San Diego mountains. But I was wrong. This section was very tiring. However, because of the beautiful bucolic scenery, we were able to catch our breath. We then arrived in a wooded area populated by beautiful scenery and arrived in a wooded area with majestic trees, both stunningly diverse and numerous.
These wooden areas were like dense mountainous areas in northern California, which is not usually seen in San Diego. The sound of leaves fluttering in the wind piercing through the silence, served as a stress reliever to the hiking team members, melting away a week long’s accumulation of tension. That experience offers a well deserved relief to the hikers. This section intermittently changes between uphill and downhill slopes, giving little opportunity for the hiker to get bored. Hot Springs is another hidden gem of San Diego.
Our Group, after hiking the three-and-a-half-hour trek, conquered the summit. There we had a short rock climb before we encountered a very old observation tower that marked the tallest point in San Diego. Thinking that the place where I am standing is the highest point in San Diego that a human can go up with just bare feet, deeply touched me spiritually.
The group then began the downhill trip with smiling faces upon seeing the majestic vistas that abounded. While I was descending, I was thinking that we should come here again when it snows during the winter. With the snow and colder weather, what a different experience that would make. I highly recommend that if you want to experience hiking that challenges you physically, mentally and spiritually, you chose Hot Springs.
Trailhead: 1500 Camino San Ignacio Rd Warner Springs, CA 92086
Length/Est/ Difficulty: 9.8 mi (5 h +/-) / 2,417 ft / hard
Hot Springs Mountain Trail | AllTrails
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