I headed down to Camp Rd (SR94) for another collection of peaks not far from
the US/MX border. The weather today was cooler and overcast the entire day,
allowing me to get to more summits than I had expected. It helped that all of
the hikes were on the short side. As the peaks are
further inland, the chaparral is not as thick as that found closer to the
coast, but it can still be challenging. can be found on
the highways and backroads, and there was often a helicopter overhead somewhere
prowling around. Tattered daypacks, empty plastic bottles and food wrappers
are common sights in the brush.
Located near the junction of SR94/Otay Lakes Rd/Honey Spring Rd, the summit is
part of the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve managed by the CADFW. The website
says the reserve is open for special events only. I figured an early morning
visit shrouded in fog might qualify as a special event. I parked off SR94 at
a turnout about 0.4mi northeast of the summit. From the road, I dropped down to
a small ravine and over a fenceline that parallels the roadway. I waded
through some 5ft high to gain the north ridge,
then followed that up to the summit in 15min. There's more brush towards the
summit, but no real bushwhacking required. There were some lovely
carpeting the small summit plateau. It wasn't clear
just where the highpoint was, but I didn't find the Mark Adrian register I was
expecting in the likely places.
I drove about half an hour, further southeast on SR94, then south on the
annoyingly washboarded Marron Valley Rd. The latter is primarily used to access
the South Bay Rod & Gun Club, but there are various roads that can be explored,
including the popular Otay Mtn Truck Trail. Overlooking Marron Valley and the
Tijuna River, Peak 1,492ft is less than two miles from Mexico. I used Michael
Sullivan's track starting from
about a mile past the gun club,
following up to on the north side of the
summit. Brushier from the saddle lead to the summit.
were hazy and the hills were all brown now, but I can imagine in
early spring on a clear day it would be quite nice. To
rises Little Tecate Peak, a summit I visited in 2014. It took less than 25min to
reach the top. I left here before
the same way.
This is the next summit to the north of Peak 1,492ft. I had been on another
Peak 1,953ft not 10mi from this one the previous day. This one is accessed
from the gun club's on the east side of Marron
Valley Rd. There are no use trails to be found. is heavier
than found on some of the other summits, but not bad, really. 30min was
sufficient to see me to . There is a good view of Otay Mtn to
, but hazy today. Mark's small pad of register paper
had four pages of entries, all folks listing ascents on PB.
I made some adjustments on looking for a better route, but
it turned out no better or worse.
These next two summits are accessed via the Otay Mountain Truck Trail. There
is another access road called the Donohoe Spur Rd coming up from the northeast
off Marron Valley Rd, but that was gated and locked when I checked it. This
peak is not currently on PB, so I used a GPX track from John Kirk off LoJ, but
I found it only mildly helpful. He visited a subsidiary Pt. 2,000ft+ to the
west for reasons that were unclear. The satellite view suggests that point is
brushier than Peak 2,066ft, so I doubt he found easier going. I found this a
bit brushy in places, but there seemed to be enough open spaces to keep it
reasonable. A that I followed east to start was really
just for setting up hillside targets. around brush commenced
soon after. that I waded through in some open sections
stained my boots a yellow hue. Just over 20min to get to the summit where some
moderately sized hold . Mark
had left another register here . John Strauch and the Monday
Maniacs paid a visit in 2020. Like the previous summit, I tried variations on
with much the same results.
Less than a mile northwest of the previous summit, Donohoe was the easiest
summit so far. A dirt road leads partway up ,
another target practice area. The hike is steep but took only 11min to reach
. I did not find a register here and didn't leave one. I
suspected it is too acccessible and a register wouldn't last long.
I spent the next 40min driving back down to SR94, back to Jamul, and then
northeast, eventually ending up on Lawson Valley Rd. The road goes over a saddle
southeast of Sycuan's summit. Sycuan Peak is part of another state wildlife
preserve. An old road, , climbs from Lawson Valley Rd
in about a mile. It is but easy
enough to hike on foot. I took 25min to make my way to .
There is just west
of the summit (seems the road was built to reach it), marked as an airway
beacon on the topo map. It does not appear to be operational, save as a perch
for the feathered locals. No register on this one that I could find.
McGinty Mtn is about 3mi west of Sycuan Peak, accessed from the south via paved
Skyline Truck Trail. There is another old road running up to the
summit, at the pavement. It is in
than the Sycuan one, and has seen recent use. Ownership
is unclear, but it doesn't seem like the public is unwelcome. 20min sufficed to
see me to . No register here, either.
This was the easiest of the day, a drive-up. A home sits atop the highpoint of
this developed hill on the north side of Jamul. The
of a dozen homes has a gate off Campo Rd, but it
appears to be semi-permanently open. I drove up, turned around in
, and headed back down. That was enough for one day...