San Diego County 12/26/2020

Silver Strand State Beach High Point

It was just over 2 weeks since I came down with Covid-19, so I decided to just drive around the city and bag as many random peaks as I could. I was dealing with some shortness of breath, so I really wanted to limit my physical exertion. All of the peaks I visited today are either drive-ups or required just a few tenths of a mile of walking. First up was Silver Strand State Beach High Point. The Silver Strand is a narrow strip of land that connects Imperial Beach and Coronado Island (not really an island). I drove over the bridge to Coronado and then took Highway 75 south to the Silver Strand. I parked on Attu Avenue right off the highway near a 90 degree bend before it enters a neighborhood. There are a number of short trails in this area that are popular with runners, bikers, etc. The trails meander between the sand dunes and some sparse vegetation. I walked a few hundred feet over to the high point, just 17 feet above sea level. I was there at 9:34am.

There wasn’t a cairn or anything to mark the high point, so I just took a few pictures and moved on. I walked east over to the other side of the strand where it faces San Diego Bay.

It was a very clear day, so the views were amazing. To the north I could see the Coronado Bay Bridge with downtown San Diego in the background.

A little further south I could see all the way to Cuyamaca Peak.

Directly east across the bay I could see San Miguel Mountain (left) and Otay Mountain (right).

Gobblers Knob

This would be the best view I had all day, so I spent some time soaking it in. The next 5 peaks I visited were all just random hills in suburban neighborhoods. First up was a 468 foot peak called Gobblers Knob (not sure where the name comes from). Gobblers Knob is located at the end of a cul-de-sac on Corte Escena in Chula Vista. I walked around a bit, took a picture, and called it good.

Murray Hill

Next up was a 637 foot peak called Murray Hill. Murray Hill is located at the end of Orien Avenue in La Mesa. There is a very small park located at the top. I parked and climbed up a very small cliff where the high point is located. I had a decent view of the area including San Miguel Mountain to the south.

Mount Nebo

Next up was Mount Nebo, an 800 foot peak also in La Mesa. Mount Nebo is located at a cul-de-sac at the top of Summit Drive. Similar to Murray Hill, there were no views due to the houses.

Fletcher Hills High Point

Next up was Fletcher Hills High Point, an 820 foot peak in El Cajon. The high point is located on Sharon Way just off Fletcher Parkway. There is a very large tree at the high point.

I could see El Cajon Mountain not too far away.

Del Cerro Hill

Next up was Del Cerro Hill which is located on Pasatiempo Avenue within the San Diego city limits. At 829 feet, Del Cerro Hill would be the highest point of the day. There is a small open space park at the top, with a little trail among the shrubs. The high point is located on top of a few boulders.

The views were pretty good up here. Del Cerro Hill is located near the Mission Trails area, so I had a close up view of those peaks, including Pyles Peak (left) and Cowles Mountain (right, behind the tree). At 1594 feet, Cowles Mountain is the highest point within the San Diego city limits.

A bit further away I could see North and South Fortuna Peaks.

Looking the other way, I could see a plane approaching Lindbergh Field with the San Diego skyline in the background.

I could even make out the San Diego Chargers old stadium in Mission Valley. The stadium, now referred to as SDCCU Stadium, is currently in the process of being demolished.

Torrey Pines State Reserve High Point

I was getting a little bored of the suburban drive-up peaks, so I decided to head over to Torrey Pines and explore a bit over there. I realized how terrible of an idea this was as soon as I got there, as the line of cars to get in the main entrance was insanely long. There is an extension area of Torrey Pines State Reserve located just a few miles north, so I went there instead. The high point (407 feet) of the Reserve is located in this extension area, so I decided to bag that. There is a small trailhead located at the south end of Mira Montana Drive in Del Mar. There were a few cars parked there, but it wasn’t too busy even for a Saturday with beautiful weather. The high point is located along the Red Ridge Loop Trail, so I would have to do a short hike to get this one.

I walked a few tenths of a mile on the flat trail and soon reached the end of the loop. It was difficult to tell exactly where the high point was, but it seemed to be located just east of the eastern leg of the loop. Once I reached the spot, I took a short break and got a few pictures.

To the east I could see Mount Woodson (left) and Iron Mountain (right). Mount Woodson is well known in San Diego since the famous Potato Chip Rock is located near its summit.

I enjoyed the views for a bit and then returned to the car. This hike was a quick 0.81 mile, 36 feet elevation gain, and 24 minutes.

San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park High Point

The last peak of the day would be San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park High Point (663 feet). This tiny little state park is located in Escondido and commemorates a battle from the Mexican-American War. There is a small museum and one hiking trail. I would like to check out the museum some time, but unfortunately it was closed due to the pandemic. The main parking lot was also closed, but I was able to park in a sandy area just off Highway 78 a short distance west of the museum. There is a cool monument located at the start of the hiking trail.

There is also a plaque located close by.

The trail seemed like it hadn’t been maintained in years. Every inch of the hillside was covered in prickly pear, and the trail was barely wide enough to proceed without getting poked.

I made it to the top at 2:19pm after the short hike. There is a shade structure located at the top.

I sat down on the bench and rested for a little while. There were a number of small hills in the surrounding area but none that I recognized.

I made the short hike back to the car and then drove home.

It wasn’t my usual type of fun, but it was really nice to get out and about and explore. San Diego is a beautiful city and there are still so many places I haven’t been. I also thought about how cool of a hobby peakbagging is. No matter where you are there are always peaks to be climbed, plus it gave me something to do when I wasn’t feeling 100%.

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