Hiking Otay Mountain

I found this place by total luck and after hiking it a couple of weeks ago it quickly became the best San Diego hike I’ve done by far.

This route is primarily used by cars and dirt bikes. We saw a bit of vehicle traffic ourselves, but I didn’t have a problem.

The hike comes in at 8 miles round trip and maintains a solid gradient on the way up, but I guarantee this scenery will blow the view from your stair master right out of the water.


The trailhead is located by the Otay County Open Space Preserve wilderness adjacent to the Lower Otay Lake.

For easy access, park your car at the Cayote Canyon Cafe (address: 14615 Otay Lakes Rd, Jamul, CA 91935).

Although, I did see some cars parked a tad bit up the road as well:


Haha, I kid I kid.

But, If you’ve been on the search for a new car this beauty might be the lucky break you’ve been looking for ;).

Back to the hike:

It’s a long one so make sure you pack plenty of food and water for your whole part. At the very least get some snacks to much on while you’re hiking, but I would strongly recommend packing something with more substance like a sandwich for the top.

You won’t need any directions for the first 98% of the hike, but when you hit the top there will be a “T” intersection. It may seem obvious when you’re there, but you’ll be going to the right.

View from intersection

From there you’ll find one dirt path on your immediate right, one farther down, and one all the way on the other side of the bend. Each of these paths shoots off to 3 different and unconnected peaks.

I will refer to these as path/peak #1, #2, and #3 in order of proximity to the intersection, and they increase in height from #1 to #2 #3.

If you have the time, enjoy the view from each of these peaks. I loved them all, but If you can just do one make it peak #3.

(Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of path #1, but you shouldn’t miss it. It will be immediately on your right after turning at the “T” intersection)

Peak #1
Peak #1
IMG_1584 2.jpg
Path #2
Peak #2
Peak #2
Peak #2
Peak #2

But remember: path #3 is much farther down the road than the other two. You will have to go all the way around the first bend before you will see the path on your right.

Path #3

All that’s left is a short hike up to peak #3 and you’ll have a beautiful view into Mexico and all around the San Diego Area.

Peak #3!!!

Give yourself plenty of time to hang out when you’re up here. The hike is gorgeous all the way up and down, but you can’t beat how cool it looks from up here.

As I said before, this isn’t a popular hike. Not a single person was up there with us. It really is a serene place.

If you’re a yoga person take up a mat and get some stretching in while you’re up there.

All that’s left now is to get down and grub out.


Thanks again for the support you’ve been giving me. I am very grateful to be sharing these experiences with you all!

Remember to like and leave some comments below! It’s always great to hear things from you guys.

See you next week! Happy Holidays!

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