Hot Springs Mountain (6,533) – I wanted to test out my calf and this county high point seemed like a great option. I landed in San Diego and drove 2 hours to the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. Google directions were spot-on and I arrived at the entrance station for the reservation at Noon. After paying my $15 entrance fee I tried driving up Hot Springs Mountain road but it is blocked and locked about ¼ mile from the main road. I turned around and headed up the main road to the camp. The campground looks overgrown and not much used. There is a new sign “Los Coyotes Campground” right at the road junction with the unsigned Sukat road. Previous trip reports noted it was 5 miles to the summit from here.
I drove up Sukat road 1 mile from the camp and parked at the turnout (5,100’) next to the “Left Turn road” sign. I could have driven further but wanted to get in an 8 mile run (it turned out to be 7.6 miles round-trip). I ran the 3.7 miles up the road, sticking with the main road the entire way. There were a number of roads that met up with this one but it was pretty easy to figure out which way to go. Near the top I saw 3 or 4 people in a 4-wheel-drive heading down from the summit. They were the only people I saw in the reservation. It took me 43 minutes to complete the easy run to the top (there was even some downhill). I spent 5 minutes on top at the ruined fire tower and another 5 minutes heading over to the slightly higher bump where the County High point was. There were a number of trails and the woods were very open, so there was no problem finding the high point.
I took it easy running down, hoping to not beat up my legs and was back at the car in 34 minutes for a total of 86 minutes round trip.
Boucher Lookout (5,400’) – After bagging the San Diego county high point I drove to Palomar Mountain State Park with the goal of getting in a third run of the day AND bagging a fire tower along with the State Park high point. It took me an hour to drive to the park, I went a somewhat longer way so that I could check out the climb up “South Grade Road” which would be the course I’d be climbing in the ElliptiGo world championships on the following morning.
I paid $10 for the use fee and the trail map and headed over to the Silvercrest picnic area to park. I was hoping to get in 2.4 miles for an even 15 mile day, so I trotted down the road then took the Boucher trail up to the fire tower. There was a group visiting the tower and I was told if I wanted to wait I could also get a tour. I didn’t want to wait around so I headed off down the road and then added on a little extra climbing the Silvercrest trail to get the proper mileage.
The views from the platform next to the tower were pretty spectacular.