Hiking Mt. McGinty

Balancing a good workout, gorgeous views, and minimal time commitment, these 4.8-mile steep trail is definitely a San Diego point of interest, and despite its proximity to the city of San Diego, it remains a low trafficked hike.​

Finding the trailhead, however, is half the struggle. We looked online and the address given to us shot our car right past the trailhead deep into the canyon. It wasn’t until we used the satellite function on apple maps and combed the whole canyon before we were able to lead ourselves to the trailhead.

After a good bit of research, I thought I got down a solid address to reproduce for you, but I double-checked and It was the same exact address that had messed us up before.

The best directions I can give you is this: Type in either 13852 Jamul Dr. Jamul, Ca 91935 or 13998 Jamul Dr. Jamul, Ca 91935. The trailhead is on your right in the middle of the two.

Siri won’t be able to guide you all the way there, but if you stay alert as you’re driving and know what to look for ahead of time, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Here are some visuals:

Parking Lot Ground View
Parking Lot Ground View

Hopefully this isn’t too confusing. If you need any clarification leave a comment below and I would be more than happy to help figure this out with you.

Once the adventure to find the hike is finally over it’s time to start the adventure you came here for!

Right away the trail weaves you through beautiful vegetation that will really kick the hike off to a good start, and after a quick minute, it will build to the more challenging incline that I love about McGinty.


After ascending up a bit you will climb to a “T” intersection in the trail. If you’re looking for a break this will be a good spot to stop. It includes nice views from a bend on the right side of the “T” and some cool trees.


That nice green tree offers up some great shade and its beautiful leaves might be that Insta worthy photo opportunity you really went on this hike for ;).


Without clear trail markers or prior instruction, I took a left at this “T” intersection because it seemed to be going up. Taking that path got me up and back from the peak, so you can always play it safe and follow my footsteps.

From my observations, however, It seems that both paths meet back up later on. In fact, that seems to be true for every split I ran into on the trail.

If you’re feeling adventurous, mix it up a bit! Take a different path back whenever the trail allows it. It’s only for short sections, but who knows what new things you’ll see?

The only thing I cannot account for would be additional junctions on the paths I did not take. If you are playing it safe, I went left at each intersection on the way up and I’m still alive to tell the tail.

No matter how you do it this is a fun trail. The slope sets this hike above a gentle walk in the park, but its length ensures that you can knock it out in 2 hours and leave room for the rest of your Saturday.


Make the plans and take the action steps required to check this SoCal local off your list of hikes!

If you aren’t very into hiking and maybe are too worried about how you might fare on a big mountain, this is the perfect hike to turn things around for you. Little hikes like this are the foundation of bigger hikes!

In the meantime, make sure you sign up to follow my blog (below if you are on your phone, on the sidebar up and to the right if you are on a laptop or tablet). This will keep you up to date with email notifications for all new material the minute they are posted.

Thank you all so much for the support you have been giving me. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my passions with you.

What are the outdoorsy things you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below!

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