Stonewall Peak is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park off Highway 79 South and is just a 20 minute drive south of Julian, CA. It’s one of the more popular hiking trails in the area, and a personal favorite of mine! 🙂 At the top, on a clear day, you can take in amazing 360 degree views of the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Cuyamaca Mountain Ranges. The hike is just over 4 miles and takes about 2 hours to complete. Park across the street by the fire station in the Paso Picacho campground ($8 daily parking fee), pack a lot of water and some snacks for the top, and get ready for a beautiful and relatively moderate hike!
WHAT TO EXPECT
5ish miles of moderate terrain
Out and Back trail
Well marked switchback trails
Bathrooms in parking lot
Less crowds and cooler temps after 5pm
$8 parking fee if you go during regular daytime hours
WHAT TO BRING
Plenty of water
Sturdy hiking shoes
All Trails iPhone App 🙂
This hike is full of switch backs, surrounded by boulders and knobby trees and lush flower bushes. John loves to boulder hop along the trail; If I had a nickel for how many times I’ve heard “Hold on I’m climbing this one!” or “Think I can make it from here? (considering a jump from one rock to another),” I’d be able to treat us both to coffee. Twice.
^ this is Stonewall Peak from a section of the trail. See that rock pile at the very top? That’s where we’re headed! 🙂
Starting the hike, you’ll find a wide dirt trail across the street that will take you on a mild uphill climb before your first set of switchbacks begins. Here’s where John likes to start his boulder hopping and throwing around “that is a niiiice boulda” (Shrek refrences), and also where my eye rolling begins. ❤ The trail will continue to take you through a winding path of brush, wildflowers, and dead trees that make for great pictures. As you head up after a mile or so, you’ll start to see views of Lake Cuyamaca and its surrounding village as well as large patches of trees that were burned in the 2003 Cuyamaca fires.
About a half mile from the top, the dusty trail turns into giant rocks and boulders that you’ll climb across and through before you reach a staircase that leads to the top of the peak – but don’t worry, it’s easy to navigate. The views are breathtaking at the very top on a clear day – it was pretty windy when we went too (mid July). We started our hike around 6pm and reached the top close to 7pm, it was still very light out and we made it back to our car just as it was reaching golden hour.
^ the “staircase” that leads to the very top! Careful climbing here.
^ that’s Lake Cuyamaca to the left, and those mountains in the distance on the right are part of the Anza-Borrego Desert! Lots of great hikes down there, too.
^ picnic tables at the Paso Picacho campground make for great sunset dining after your hike ❤ You can pack a linner (late lunch, early dinner) like John and I do to eat once you’re back to your car at one of the many picnic benches across the campground.
We love this hike, and I know you will too! If you’re out in the Julian area, give this hike a try after you explore the town during the day like John and I did in this post. Enjoy!