Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bernardo Mountain Escondido, CA December 27, 2012

                          My dad on the trail; looking north near the summit

Trailhead and General Information: The trailhead for Bernardo Mountain is located off of I-15 south of Lake Hodges on Bernardo Drive in Escondido, California. Length is about 6.5 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain. During the weekend the Lake Hodges area is popular with bikers so it is advisable to arrive early. Daytime temperatures during the summer are warm so bring a hat, sunscreen and water. An interesting backpacking trip would be to take the newly created coast to crest trail. This trail would take multiple days.

The hike: Leave the trailhead walking on the concrete path along Bernardo Drive. At the bottom of the hill cross Lake Hodges on the bridge to north side of the lake. After you cross the bridge turn left and hike along the north side of lake. At the San Dieguito River Park turn away from the lake and follow the trail to the backside of the mountain. From the San Dieguito River Park hikers or mountain bikes gain elevation quickly by switchbacks to  the top of the mountain. The view from the top of the mountain is very good and worth your effort. Flora in the area includes california scrub oak, eucalyptus, palms, poison oak; as well as many species of grasses. (Information from

             View toward I-15 (east) from the top of Bernardo Mountain

                             Beautiful picture looking northwest

                             Vegetation with surrounding mountains; very Mediterranean

Iron Mountain and Loop December 31, 2012

                                       Looking back toward the coast near Table Mountain

Trailhead and General Information: The trailhead for Iron Mountain and the loop starts at the Highway 67 Staging Area in Poway, California. This is a popular trailhead so get to the trailhead early. Most people hike Iron Mountain (a 6.4 mile round trip). Another popular hike is a loop on the Elie Lane Trail by Table Rock Mountain. This is an up and down trail with elevation gain and loss over 2000 feet and approximately 10 miles in length. During the summer temperatures are warm during the day so hike the trail only during the early morning or late afternoon and with plenty of water.

The hike: Today my dad and I are hiking the loop and climbing Iron Mountain. It will be approximately 10 miles with over 2000 feet of elevation and loss. Leave the trailhead. Take the first left and hike passed two ponds. After the second pond the trail joins the Ellie Lane trail. Stay right; hiking by Table Mountain. Near Table Mountain the trail climbs ravina to a pass overlooking Ramona and surrounding mountains.  Continue following the trail to the junction with the main Iron Mountain trail. If you want to climb from here to the top of Iron Mountain it is about one more mile. Flora for Iron Mountain includes Yarrow, Sagebrush, Coastlive Oak, California Scrub Oak, Eucalyptus. Information from:, 

                         My dad hiking on the Elie Lane trail

                  Rocky terrain near Iron Mountain

                     On top of Ramona Outlook looking east

                                  Looking south from the Ramona Overlook

                  Dad on top of Iron Mountain

                             Near the top of Iron Mountain

Looking south

The map of the Iron Mountain trails