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.
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
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.
Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up to 40% off here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated July 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?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 Smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable Garmin Instinct). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.
- 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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Turn by Turn Directions
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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