Directions to Trailhead: To get to the trail to hike the Wooded Hill Nature Trail to Wooded Hill Peak, from Orange County, take the I-5 south to SR 78 in San Diego County. Go east on SR 78 through Escondido to the junction with SR 79 just past the town of Julian. Turn right (south) on SR 79.Go approximately 6 miles to the junction with Sunrise Highway (S1) on the left. Turn left on to the Sunrise Highway (S1). You will need to follow along highway S1 until you reach the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area which is indicated by a sign. The trailhead is just past mile marker 22. There is a sign indicating the Wooded Hill Nature Trail and the Agua Dulce Equestrian trailhead. There is ample parking at the trailhead fpr the Wooded Hill Nature Trail hike in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area of the Cleveland National Forest. You will need to have your Forest Adventure Pass displayed to park in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.
: This hike is an easy hike to the Wooded Hill Peak summit that offers sweeping views of the surrounding area and on clear days downtown San Diego. There are two options to the Wooded Hill Nature Trail, one a 0.5 mile loop and the other 1.5 mile loop. Both have minimal elevation gain. The 1.5 mile loop has about 212 feet of elevation gain and the 0.5 mile loop has about 100 feet of elevation gain. Both Ashley and I would recommend doing the 1.5 mile loop because the 0.5 mile loop does not go the top of Wooded Hill Peak and does not offer the same sweeping views. Make sure to do the full loop when the trails cross. Keep heading up the Wooded Hill Nature Trail and don't turn back down. The entire trail for these two hikes resembles a figure 8 loop. The Wooded Hill Nature Trail to Wooded Hill Peak goes through some of the most beautiful pine forests in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Thankfully this area was not hit by the 2003 Cedar Fire that ravaged a significant portion of the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. This area does receive a lot of snow in the winter and this trail might be impassable due to snow if you are visiting during the winter. At the summit, you have views of the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, the Anza-Borrego Desert, the mountains in Mexico, downtown San Diego, and the Pacific Ocean. We had at least 60 miles of visibility when we did this hike at the summit of Wooded Hill.
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike in our local San Diego Mountains. The Wooded Hill Nature Trail was very easy to hike and there was not to much uphill. The trails were marked as this hike is in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area which made the hiking trails easy to navigate. When we did this hike in the Cleveland National Forest there was still snow on the trail, but we could tell it was melting fast. It would be neat to see the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area covered in snow. The views on this hike continue to get better the higher you go. Make sure to take the full loop on this hike.
When Ashley and I got to the summit of the hike we were amazed at the views. You could literally see for miles in all directions which was amazing. We could even make out the skyline of downtown San Diego from the summit of the Wooded Hill Peak. At the top there are some rocks that are perfect to sit on and enjoy the views and even a packed lunch. There is even a little registry for those that go to the top. I would suggest packing a lunch and enjoying it at the top of the Wooded Hill Nature Trail. This hike offers amazing views and the best part is that this is a hike the whole family could do together as it is short and has minimal elevation gain. The hike also has plenty of shade due to the tall pine trees that are in this area.
The Wooded Hill Nature Trail to Wooded Hill Peak also has an interpretive trail guide for those that hike it. At the trailhead there are little pamphlets for you to pick up that will provide an explanation of the various markers you see while on the Wooded Hill Nature Trail. There are a total of 31 stations along the trail and the pamphlets provides an explanation for each of the 31 stations. You will learn about things like Jeffrey Pines, California Black Oak, Manzanita, to erosion control, and natural reforestation. This is a fun short hike that rewards those hikers who reach it's summit with amazing views.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 212 ft. (Easy), Distance: 1.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).
Time to Complete Hike: 1 hour.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE LAGUNA MOUNTAIN RECREATION AREA
Wooded Hill Nature Trail (This Post)