April 2021


This hike to the highest point within San Diego city limits (1,593 feet) is easy to access and a local favorite, especially among hiking newbies. The main route starts at the corner of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road and follows a three- mile out-and-back Cowles Mountain so you ’ ve hiked :

path that rewards you with a pre€y view on clear days. There are di‚erent routes to the top, with fewer crowds (starting at Mesa Road in Santee, for example, and hiking up the east face), but no ma€er which route you take you’ll eventually run into people, especially at the summit. On weekends, the main trail can get crowded. mtrp.org

South and North Fortuna

Why summit one peak on a day hike when you can tackle two? Both of these mountains are landmarks of the same beautiful scenery in Mission Trails Regional Park. The path that goes up South Fortuna, across the Fortuna Saddle, and then up North Fortuna is just under six miles, and slightlymore strenuous than Cowles. The trail starts atWest Fortuna Staging Area on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard Road and takes you through mountain scenery with beautiful views for photo ops. Along the way, you can see chaparral and oak trees, and evenwildflowers come spring.You’ll be near the San Diego River and maybe even get to see hawks, desert cottontails, or in the summer or fall, rattlesnakes (steer clear and read up on snake myths below). There are alsowide-openmeadows to pass through with great views of the park’s mountains, including Cowles. Challenge yourself by climbing the South Fortuna Stairs to top one peak, and then keep heading north to summit North Fortuna as well. This is a moderately challenging 7.6-mile hike that is best BY ELENA GOMEZ


You Should Not Cut Bite Injuries or Suck or Squeeze Out Venom Instead, Ranger Hamm says it’s best to get medical aention as soon as you can. “It’s important to know that a ralesnake bite is not a death sentence. You generally have some time to get medical aention. Try to keep your heart rate low and minimize panic as much as possible.”

Snakes Are Not Aggressive “Encountering a human is extremely dangerous for a snake,” Ranger Hamm says. “They typically try to hide and only become defensive when they feel they have no other choice. If given an escape route to hide, they will take it.”

No maer what trail you’re on, it’s good to be prepared in case you run across one of our reptilian neighbors, especially one with a rale. “Ralesnakes are the only venomous snakes native to San Diego County that are hazardous to humans,” says R. Lee Hamm, a recreation and lands oƒicer with the US Forest Service at the Palomar Ranger District in Ramona. Hamm sets the record straight on a few myths that really bite.

done in the winter or spring (or early morning hours) when the temperature is cooler. mtrp.org


APR I L 2021

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