We love a challenge, especially when it comes to hiking mountains. We were delighted when we read about the five mountain challenge at Mission Trails Regional Park. The best thing is the park is only a 40 minute ride from our RV park. Yesterday we decided to check out the park and hike one of the shorter trails. These are not huge mountains or long hikes but they will give us a good workout and great views of the San Diego area. We wanted to hike early before it got warm so the visitors center was not open yet. I was able to download the map from the parks web page. We decided to hike Kwaay Paay.
This mountain is 1194 feet high, the hike is just 2.4 miles round trip. You will gain nearly 1000 feet in the 1.2 miles to the top, so be prepared for a steep hike most of the way. We both wished we had brought our poles for the hike down. I guess we were fooled into thinking a short hike would be simple. This area is dog friendly but dogs must be on a leash.
I was very impressed that every hiker with a dog had them on a leash and the area seemed very clean. The views from the trail are excellent as is the view on the top. Don’t expect to be the only ones on the trail, this is a very popular area. We stopped at the visitor’s center after the hike. The visitor’s center is very nice and has displays and information about hiking and what to see. There are a lot of trails here not just mountain hikes.
We returned to our campground and decided we were ready for more hiking. Gizmo looked like he was ready for a nap, so we snuck off without him. We think he preferred to be stretched out on his sheepskin rug with the air conditioner running rather than take another hike. We wanted to check out Otay Mountain. We knew the hike to the top would be about 6-7 miles one way so our plan was to hike between 3-3.5 miles up before turning back. We had read that most of the elevation gain is in this first section and we were looking for a good cardio workout and great views. The route is actually a dirt road that starts right beside Pio Pico RV resort. The dirt road is used by jeeps, border patrol, bicyclists and a few hikers. The road is in pretty good shape and passable by high clearance vehicles, I don’t think they would even need to engage 4-wheel drive. There are a few washouts due to the recent rains. In the 3.5 miles we hiked up we gained over 2100 feet of elevation. It is a steady climb and there is no shade so make sure you bring lots of water if you take this hike. The views are amazing. When we initially started hiking we had views back to our RV park and all the mountains that surround it. It was pretty easy to see why we are not getting cell phone reception at the RV. As you climb higher you start to get views across Otay lake and then eventually across to San Diego and the Pacific Ocean. We were entertained watching skydivers for most of our hike as Sky Dive San Diego is located near Otay Lake.