While in San Diego, California, we took advantage of the 70 degree February weather, and hiked over the North and South Fortuna Mountains. The Mission Trails Regional Park was an easy 20 minute drive from our hotel in the Gaslamp District. The rocky terrain and plethora of wildflowers made it difficult to believe that we were within the city limits!
Mission Trails Park has more than 7,000 acres of land and 60 miles of trails, making it the 5th largest urban park in the United States. On some sections of the trail loop, we could hear traffic on the bordering highway. For, the most part, the hike was quiet and peaceful.
There is curb side parking on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, so we chose an empty spot, and walked the short distance to the trailhead. There are no restrooms in this region of the park, but there are several in other areas, including the Visitor’s Center off Mission Gorge Road, and Kumeysay Lake Campground in the northeast region of the park.
After strapping on some backpacks, and a front pack for my grand baby, we were ready to get moving! From the West Fortuna Staging Area of Clairemont Mesa, we walked over a bridge and headed north on the Mountain Saddle Trail, a packed stone pathway.
At mile 1, we took a slight left turn onto the dirt Rim Trail, walking .8 miles with minor elevation changes.
We veered slightly right onto the Shepherd Ridge Trail, and walked up a gentle incline, 200′ over .7 mile. The path had a lot of loose chunks of dirt and stones, probably remnants of an unusual amount of rain over the previous weeks. The wildflowers were a pleasant byproduct of the rainy days.
At the 2.5 mile mark, we turned right and joined the North Fortuna Trail, the steepest incline of the loop.
The trail was rocky and very dry. After only a .3 mile climb, we came to an overlook with views to the southwest and northeast.
We continued on to the highest point of the trail and North Fortuna Mountain, 1,290′ at mile 3.1. We enjoyed a 360 degree view of the surrounding San Diego region.
We continued our trek another .4 miles, stopping in a shady area on the Fortuna Saddle Trail, for a grandbaby diaper change and feeding break.
We resumed our hike to the highpoint of South Fortuna Mountain, 1,085′ at mile 4.3. From our resting spot, the .8 mile incline was very gentle, climbing just under 200′ of elevation.
At the 4.7 mile mark, the trail descended quickly. It was very slippery, despite the steps and boulders within the trail. We slowed our pace significantly to ensure no falls, especially with the baby on board.
At the bottom of the mountain, mile 5.5, we made two quick left turns and continued on South Trail, which was rocky, but had little elevation.
At mile 5.9, we joined the stone San Diego Aquaduct Service Road for .3 mile, making a quick right and then left, connecting with the stone Mountain Saddle Trail, closing our trail loop.
After 3:09 hours, we once again crossed the bridge, finishing our 6.7 mile loop, hot, sweaty, and greatly satisfied with our San Diego adventure.
|Hike difficulty classification (link)|
|Difficulty||Moderate to difficult|
|Geographic location||San Diego, California|
|Trailhead parking options||West Fortuna Staging Area, Claremont Mesa Boulevard|
|Trail amenities||Park map at the trailhead; no bathroom facilities in this region of the park|
|Elevation - trailhead||588'|
|Elevation - highest peak||1,290'|
|Total mileage||6.7 miles|
|Highlights||View of San Diego and surrounding valley|