Red Mountain P500
Peak 1,542ft P300
Weaver Mountain P300
Peak 1,073ft P300
Peak 1,470ft P750

May 16, 2022
Red Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX


Once again I was up early to beat the expected warmer temperatures, but this time fog was shrouding much of the area and the first few peaks went without views. It happens sometimes, and it's not all bad, providing a different feel than one normally gets in Sunny California. And fog is way better than rain. The first three peaks are all found north of Escondido in the hills west of Pauma Valley. The area is predominantly rural developments, lacking in much commercial or retail places. A bit too close to the edge of the grid for my liking, anyway.

Red Mountain

There is a large water tank and a telecom installation at the summit. A paved road leads to the summit, gated only at the top. Jeffry Swain on PB mentions having some trouble turning around up there and not recommending it. I didn't like the limited options of parking in the neighborhood below, so I drove up, figuring I could do a 9-point turn if needed. I needed only 3. There's enough room about 30ft back from the gate to make a non-sketchy turn. Large trucks might beg to differ. The highpoint is to the left of the tank and fence. Views were socked in because of the fog. If there was a register, I didn't find it. Didn't find a benchmark, either, but wasn't really looking.

Peak 1,542ft

This summit is found about 2mi northeast of Red Mtn. It has no ascents listed on LoJ or PB, odd for a summit with more than 300ft of prominence. The satellite view shows a road leading to a water tank near the summit, leaving only a short hike. I figured there must be some logistical issue regarding it, but figured I should go check it out. The problem comes at the end of the pavement on Country Rd. The guy who lives just beyond the start of the dirt road has put up No Trespassing signs and done some crude landscaping to give the feel of private property. I ignored this, and drove the road to the water tank without incident. It was just a few minute's walk to the summit, no bushwhacking. There are a number of large granite blocks, a white wooden cross mounted on the highest one. Fog was still persisting, so views were weak.

Weaver Mountain

Weaver Mtn is found about five miles further north. Of the two TRs on PB, George Christiansen's seemed easiest and least sketchy, so I used his starting point. I parked at a turnout on the right side of Dowling Ln, just before the home at the end of the road. I followed up old roads through forgotten orchards, going over a small rise before descending to a water tank. On the right side, to the east, is what Jeffrey Swain describes as an equipment rental lot. He went right through it, wandering around a bit, declaring it vacant. George went around the property, but still fairly close. I started to walk down the connecting roadway, only to spot a dog in a cage in the distance. Where there be animals, there be someone to care for them. I turned around and went to the water tank. There were technicians working there, so I gave it a wide berth around the west and north sides, some light to moderate bushwhacking before I reached the old road described by others going to the summit. It seemed like a lot of work, but it was only about 35min to reach the summit. The fog had mostly dissipated by now, so I got some views from the open summit. Mark Adrian had left a register here in 2018, with only a few entries in the interim. I returned back the same way, except for some variation in the cross-country section that proved no easier.

Peak 1,073ft

This summit is found in the southwest corner of Escondido. Like Peak 1,542ft, there are no ascents listed on LoJ and it doesn't even appear on PB, though it has more than 300ft of prominence. The problem with this one is obvious - it is located in a gated community with a sprawling mansion at the very top. It would appear to be inaccessible. And for the most part, it is. The topo map shows there are two summits to this one, both with an equal number of closed contours. The north summit got the nod on LoJ because it has a spot elevation slightly above the average elevation of 1,070ft. The south summit appears to be outside the property boundary. I figured maybe they graded the north summit to build the house, so the south point might be higher now. Seemed worth checking out. At the gate to the development, a sharp left turn onto a dirt road leads to a water tank not far from both summits. A pair of technicians were working on an adjacent cell tower. I parked below the normally closed gate, walked up the road, greeted the techs, and went around the west permeter of the water tank. A short stretch of bushwhacking got me onto easier ground where brush has been cleared and some palm trees planted outside the home properties (possibly common grounds for the development, cleared for fire safety). I walked across this and then up a use trail to the south summit. It does not appear that the north point was graded - a gazebo or similar sits atop it, and I was not able to discern which was higher. But I'm going to take credit for this one, because the south summit appears to be a reasonable alternative, and until proven otherwise, might be higher.

Peak 1,470ft

After attending to some family business, I headed out to this one. As with Peak 1,073ft, it sits within a gated community 1,200ft above Lake Hodges to the west. It can, however, be accessed from the south as others have discovered, including Michael Sullivan who posted a useful GPX track on PB. The route has no fences, no signage of any sort, and seems completely legal, or at least reasonably defensible. It starts from the Lake Hodges Dam TH along Del Dios Rd. Crossing to the north side of the road, a gated utility road climbs to a telephone pole about 200ft above the road. A rougher road goes a similar distance higher, but then it's mostly cross-country up moderately steep slopes. Use trails and vestiges of even older roads make the bushwhacking trivial, and I thought it made a very enjoyable afternoon climb, even if a bit warm (75F) for my preference. Once at the boundary of the development, I found my way to an empty cul-de-sac that drains onto the hillside - a perfect welcome mat to the neighborhood. A short walk through the neighborhood gets you to the highest point at the end of another cul-de-sac. One of the homes there was having some serious landscaping done while I was there. There is a really nice view of the lake to the east. After snapping a few pics, I returned back the same way. About an hour and twenty minutes for the roundtrip.


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