South Clevenger Trail Guide
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||5 miles (8.1 km)|
|Hike Time||2-3 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,400 feet (427m)|
|Highest Elevation||1,680 feet (512m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||San Pasqual - Clevenger Canyon Open Space Park|
The South Clevenger Trail has gained popularity because of a unique attraction: a pair of lawn chairs perched on a boulder, offering epic views down into San Pasqual Canyon. Visiting the chairs is fun, but there’s also much more to enjoy on this hike in the San Pasqual – Clevenger Canyon Open Space Park. You have a moderate climb that provides spectacular views of the valley and then the final summit, where you get sweeping views of high peaks like El Cajon and Cuyamaca Peak. It’s a fun hike with lots of natural eye candy and photo opportunities.
Where is South Clevenger Trail?
The South Clevenger Trail starts just of CA-78, a spectacular windy road up the valley. Use this trailhead address:
South Clevenger Trail, 18259-18313 CA-78, Escondido, CA 92025
There are no toilets or water fills at the trailhead.
Gear For the Hike
This is a “hike hike” and I recommend using hiking clothing. You can also hike in fitness clothes.
- Trekking poles will help on the climbs.
- Some parts of the trail can be overgrown, so protect yourself from ticks and wear long pants if you are squeamish about scratches.
- Bring 1L of water. In the summer it can get really hot, the trail is mostly exposed.
Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.
Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.
Latest Price on Women’s Shoe
REI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s Shoe
REI | Amazon
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.
REI | Amazon
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated October 2021.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
South Clevenger Trail Maps
This hike is on a trail in a City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department’s park and is actively maintained. Yes, you are in the City of San Diego here! The trail is in decent condition and easy to follow.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
- This fertile canyon was initially home to the Kumueyaay, who harvested over 12,000 varieties of plants for food, medicine, and materials. They used the acorns of the Engelmann Oak to make porridge and even chewing gum.
- The park is named after John Leslie Clevenger Sr. (1832-1918), the first gringo to settle here and start a dairy and wheat farm. Today most of the farms here in the San Pasqual Valley focus on citrus and avocado; you can see them on the drive in.
- Who put the chairs on the boulder? No one is positive, but a park official suspects they were placed there by construction workers who were clearing a nearby housing plot which you’ll pass on the hike.
- Most of this hike goes through an area destroyed by the 2018 Pasqual Fire. Today the fauna is growing back.
South Clevenger Trail Hike Directions
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This guide last updated on March 29, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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