This hike along the iconic Pacific Crest Trail inWarner Springs offers another natural formation that easily rivals Potato Chip Rock.When you see it, you’ll say, “Oh, that’s why it’s called Eagle Rock.” Promise. To get there, start at the Eagle Rock Trailhead near Cal FireWarner Springs Fire Station on Highway 79 and hike east. The path is relatively flat
(not the same killer workout as Mount Woodson, but maybe you don’t mind) and covers 6.6 miles out and back. It’s mostly a desert hike, but passes through shady spots along the creek, which is rimmed with oak trees, and has the picturesque rolling hills and open chaparral meadows you’d expect out in this area. Along the way, you can see plants such as chamise, pencil cholla, and prickly pear cactus. Go in the winter or early spring when it’s not too hot, or start out early in the morning. The hike is easy enough for beginners, and offers a worthy payoff at the end: a giant rock formation that looks like an eagle stretching its wings. Perfect photo op without the line.
so you ’ ve hiked : Mount Woodson
This trail is famous for its Instagram-worthy “Potato Chip Rock” (see why we think it’s not worth the hype on page 68). The climb is steep and has sweeping views on the way up, but a not- so-picturesque peak that’s covered with communication towers. The main trail starts at the Lake Poway Recreation Area on Lake Poway Road and covers 6.4 miles out and back. poway.org/502/trails-hiking
so you ’ ve hiked :
San Elijo Lagoon Hiking through this North County ecological reserve is beautiful, with tons of plants and birds and several winding paths to follow. One of the most popular routes is to start at the nature center and follow the short half-mile loop, or take the three-mile La Orilla Trail farther east on Manchester Avenue. sdparks.org Although this trail goes through a densely populated area in University City, it feels hidden and therefore is much more remote. There’s no dedicated parking lot for it, so you kind of have to know it’s there. If school’s not in session, you can park in the lot at University City High School, then duck onto the trail that runs along the train tracks. Follow it along the cliff’s edge and take in views of wildflowers and birds along the way. You can follow it for two miles, then extend it further by joining the San Clemente Trail under state Route 52. While there are no ocean views along the trail, the sight of flower- covered cliffs descending onto the train tracks is stunning, and there are secluded shady groves along the way. This trail has a few steep hills and is rough underfoot in places, but is onlymoderately challenging and can be done at any time of year, since the coastal breezes will keep it cool. sandiego.gov/park-and- recreation/parks/osp/rosecan1 Rose Canyon Trail
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