- Home - Hiking Trails - Hiking San Diego Hiking Stonewall Peak Trail
In This Guide How to Get to Stonewall Peak Stonewall Peak Trail Maps Turn by Turn Hike Directions What You Need To Do the Hike Distance 5.4 miles (8.7 km) Time 2:30 hours Difficulty Easy Total Climbing 1,050 feet (320m) Highest Elevation 5,730 feet (1747m) Dog Friendly No Park Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Park Phone 760-765-0755
The Stonewall Peak Trail hike is the most popular hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park for good reason. It’s not too tough, offers great 360 views from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and has a unique bald rock face summit. Give the hike a try, you won’t be disappointed. Stonewall Peak, at 5730ft high, is also right next to the 2nd highest peak in San Diego County,
Cuyamaca Peak, and both can be hiked in a day. Break your hikes up with a picnic in Paso Picacho Campground.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park sits on top of rounded hills of granitic and metamorphic rock. This rock is the ancient roots of the Peninsular Range, once volcanic and as high as the Andes Mountains, today worn down by 120 millions years of erosion. As you hike up the dome of Stonewall Peak, it’s easy to imagine how this was once a volcano.
The Stonewall Mine was in the shadow of Stonewall Peak, sucking gold out of the hills. This is a picture of the mine from 1890. Photo California State Parks
In 1869 gold fever hit the area, and the
Stonewall mine opened just south of Stonewall Peak. At the mine’s peak, between 1886 to 1891, it produced over 7,000 pounds of gold while regularly employing 200 men. The area around Stonewall Peak was home to a small town that supported the mine, called Cuyamaca City. The mines closed in 1906, and the area was a mountain resort for a short time before becoming a state park in 1933. Many of the trails that you will hike on were created by the Civilian Conservation Corps shortly after that. Where is Stonewall Peak?
Use this GPS address to get to the trailhead:
Paso Picacho Campground, Julian, CA, 92036, USA.
The Stonewall Peak Trail is in
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and there’s an entry fee. If you have a California State Parks Pass, entry is free. There’s camping and other hikes in the park, so if you want to make a weekend of it, it’s an option. Gear for the Hike
It can get hot in the summer, cold in the winter, so check the weather before you get here. Here’s what I recommend:
Fitness or hiking clothes Trail runners or hiking boots Water and a snack to eat on the summit A good daypack or backpack An extra layer for the top if it’s cold or windy If you want hiking gear recommendations, check out my full gear list . I only recommend and review gear that I actually use. No company pays me to push their product. Everything on my gear list is battle tested on the trails, and should work well for you too. See The Gear I Use Stonewall Peak Trail Maps
I highly recommend bringing some form of paper map with you, and then using it in conjunction with a GPS device.
You can see the navigation gear that I use here (I’m currently using the Fenix 5x and love it). Just download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS. Download the Hike GPX File View a Printable PDF Hike Map This Stonewall Peak Trail hike takes you in a scenic loop. If you want to shorten the hike, you can just go up and come back the way you came. More on that option in the turn by turn directions below. The main climb is at the beginning. After the summit, it’s all downhill or flat. Stonewall Peak Hike Directions Subscribe to HikingGuy on YouTube Turn by Turn Directions Park in the Paso Picacho Campground, then cross the street from where you entered the park. The trailhead is directly across the street from the campground entrance. Check the hiking board for any alerts and get started on the Stonewall Mountain Trail. The trails are well marked in the park. These signs tell you what trail you’re on. You’ll be following the Stonewall Peak Trail to the summit. The Stonewall Peak Trail is well marked and starts to climb towards the peak. As you climb on the lower slopes, you’ll see Stonewall Peak looming in front of you. There might be some trail closures. Follow the signs and official trail routing. Everything is very well marked. The trail meanders up a series of switchbacks. It goes uphill, but it’s not super tough. You have nice views of San Diego county’s second highest peak, Cuyamaca Peak. As you climb, the trails’s switchbacks are well marked with a fence. At about 1.9 miles, you reach the junction with the peak trail spur. Make the right and head toward the peak. Again, look for the sign posts, which show what trail you’re on. Scramble through the rocks and head toward the peak. The trail is less defined here but just head up. Keep an eye out for the handrail on the rocks. Head toward that. Follow the trail up the stone stairs. Stonewall Peak! The summit is very cool. There’s a sign in every direction that lets you know what peaks you’re looking at. Soak it all in and take your pictures. Once you’re done, head back down the way you came to the last trail junction. When you reach the junction with the main trail, hike to the right.
Note: if you want to end your hike here, you can simply go back down the way you came. This route takes you back to the start of the hike on a route with less crowds.
The Stonewall Peak Trail is well marked, but there are several side trails to overlooks. Stay on the well-marked path. The trail starts to descend and quickly becomes more mellow. As you hike, you’ll see Little Stonewall Peak to your right. Soak in the views to the north as you descend the switchbacks on the Stonewall Peak Trail. At about 3.7 miles, you come to a trail intersection. Make the left onto Vern Whitaker Trail. The trail is pretty flat and heads through tranquil grasslands with some good wildflower spotting opportunities. I saw some quail when I was here. Shortly after that (around 3.9 miles) there’s another junction, stay left. At 4.2 miles or so, there’s a side trail to the road. Stay to the left. As you head back to the start, you’ll get nice views of Stonewall Peak. At about 5.3 miles, you come back to the junction where you started. Make the right to head back to the road and parking. You can help other hikers. If you do this hike and something has changed, snap a few photos and email me the details. I’ll update the guide so that others can do the hike safely. You May Also Enjoy Gear I Use
Don’t waste your money on gear that’s no good, I’ve done that for you. All my picks are solid choices that will serve you well on the trail.
See What I Use Why HikingGuy?
Cris Hazzard, and I want to help you enjoy the outdoors. I'm sharing my knowledge, guides, and the gear I personally use so that you can go out, have fun, and be safe. Was This Guide Helpful?
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