Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kwaaymii Nature Trail (Laguna Mountain Recreation Area)

During our most recent visit to the Laguna Mountain Recreation AreaAshley and I had the opportunity to hike the Kwaaymii Nature Trail. The Kwaaymii Nature Trail is a short easy hike near the visitor center in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area and is a fun hike for the whole family. This is a fun kid friendly hike in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. For more pictures of our hike on the Kwaaymii Nature Trail make sure to check out or Facebook Page

Directions to TrailheadTo get to the trail to hike theKwaaymii Nature Trail, 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 at mile marker 23.5, which is right by the Laguna Mountain Visitor Center and Laguna Mountain Lodge which is located in the middle of the the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. There is ample parking at the trailhead. You will need to have youForest Adventure Pass displayed to park in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.

Description of Hike: The Kwaaymii Nature Trail is a well maintained loop that is 0.5 miles roundtrip with an approximate elevation gain of 100 feet. It is a single track trail that meanders through the conifer pine forests in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. The Kwaaymii Nature Trail is also a self guided nature trail that has an informational pamphlet at the beginning of the hike for you to pick up. The different numbers on the trail correspond to the numbers on the pamphlet which tell you what you are looking while hiking on this trail. The pamphlet tells you a little bit about the Kwaaymii Indians that used to inhabit the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area in addition to the natural landscape. The Kwaaymii Nature Trail has markers highlighting Jeffrey Pines, Acorns, Wild Lilac, Manzanita, Plant Food and Bedrock Mortars, Pinyon Pine, Mountain Mahogany, and more. This is a fun hike that the entire family will enjoy because it is short and does not have to much elevation gain.

Further ThoughtsAshley and I really enjoyed our hike on the Kwaaymii Nature Trail in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. It was very peaceful going through the mountain pine trees and taking in the nice views the trail had to offer. The self-guided Kwaaymii Interpretive Trail offers excellent insight into the natural history of the region. This trail highlights the Kwaaymii Indians, who inhabited this region hundreds of years ago. These Native Americans passed the winter in the low, warm desert valley to the east, then climbed the steep canyons looking for respite from the harsh summer sun.

The trail starts right behind the Laguna Mountain Visitor Center and climbs gently to the top of Pinyon Point where you will find morteros, grinding holes in the rocks used by the Kwaaymii, the Native Americans who spent their summer months in the Laguna Mountains use to prepare food. The top of the hill is adorned with several specimens of Sierra Juarez pinyon pine as well as holy-leafed cherry and prickly pear cactus. These provided nourishment for the Kwaaymii. In winter, this area of the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is at times blanketed with snow, which completes the four season cycle for the area.

One nice thing about the Kwaaymii Nature Trail is the close proximity to the Visitor Information Center where you can find out more about the plants, animals, and artifacts found in the Laguna Mountains. The Laguna Mountain Lodge is also located right near the start of the Kwaaymii Nature Trail. They offer Cabins for rent for those looking to stay multiple nights to explore the various trails and sights in the Laguna Mountain Area. The Laguna Mountain Lodge also has a store that sells food, drinks, maps, and more. Bottom-line is this is a fun short kid friendly day hike the whole family can do together in the San Diego Mountains.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 0.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 30 minutes.


Garnet Peak

Kwaaymii Nature Trail (This Post)

Wooded Hill Nature Trail

View Kwaaymii Nature Trail (Laguna Mountain Recreation Area) in a larger map

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Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.