This is an out and back hike of 11+ miles with a nice side trip to the El Capitan cliff area if you've still haven't had enough (14 miles with the side trip). There are some nice views and some interesting points along the trail including an old mine shaft and what looks like either an old military or fire vehicle.
This is a big hike with a lot of ups and down including some steep sections. Take plenty of water as normally it is very arid and hot in this area.
TRAIL CLOSED MONTH OF AUGUST. There are yellow "closed" signs posted and lot is locked. Half of the gate was open, so we planned to street park and hike in. However, I found a Cal Fire inspector driving out and he said the rangers were clearing people out who hiked in. He said they close for August due to too many heat related injuries. Bummer for us as we really wanted the challenge. Next time! Visited on Aug 10, 2013
I've used Mt Woodson as my "training area" to get ready for other hikes like Half Dome, or San Jacinto, so much so that forget sometimes how challenging that hike can be for some people, This hike makes Mt Woodson look like a warm-up.
If you read a lot of the reviews of this hike and think that they are over exaggerated ...there not!
Make sure you bring lots of water, food, sunscreen, and a kickass attitude :)
The earlier you get started on this hike the better, the parking lot does not open up until 7am, but you can park on the road outside the parking lot. We arrived at 6am, and there where already 10-15 cars parked along the road.
Expect to really tax your legs, the uphill's are steep, parts of the trail are a little rugged, and once the sun comes up you’re going to sweat like a little pig :) But the views along the way are awesome.
This was my first hike in San Diego and it was defenitely a tough one. People are not exagerating. However I am not an advanced hiker, but in great shape I believe. It is nothing but ups and downs with steep inclines as you cross the moutains. The views are fantastic and it is well worth the trip. Just be ready to hike vertical and don't give up before the end. Just keep pushing and take a moment to pause and enjoy the level parts of the trail. Recommend this to anyone who wants a challenge. Visited on Mar 10, 2013