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Volcan Mountain - SD Peak #68 - Golden hills with a great view

Volcan Mountain - SD Peak #68 - Golden hills with a great view

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Almost to the top of Volcan Mountain Volcan Mountain Elevation: 5,719′ Total Mileage: ~5 Trailhead Map Agency: Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve

We headed out to Volcan Mountain a day after my hike with Sophia to Barnett Ranch Preserve. The PD and I decided to get some trail time in as training for our upcoming backpacking trips. I also had just moved back home to San Diego, so it was nice to hike with him again.

It was bound to be a warm day, so we loaded our hydration bladders with ice and headed east, toward Julian. I've been wanting to do this peak for a while. I've seen wonderful pictures and have read pleasant trip reports. I was considering saving it for my 100th peak, but I don't have a lot of "summer" peaks left to do on my list. Most are deep into the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, or are over 10 miles, which makes them difficult to visit in 90F + weather.

We hit the Volcan Mountain trail, which rises above the apple orchards, and immediately started climbing. It usually takes my about 20-30 minutes for my body to warm up, so my being slightly out of breath was normal. We noticed a pair of rattlesnakes intertwined. I initially thought it was a mating ritual, but later learned that it was a dominance ritual.

The PD, getting started on the Volcan Trail, on the way to Volcan Mountain

The Volcan Mountain Trailhead gateway

The Volcan Mountain trailhead sign

As we continued to ascend, I started to feel more tired. It was then I realized that I didn't have the usual large breakfast that I have before hiking. Since it was an hour to the trailhead, it was likely over 2.5 hours since I had a light breakfast. We stopped in the shade while I had a snack and I immediately felt better.

I have to to get a hang of this hiking thing again.

We came to a more level spot and started having some views to the east. The hills opened up around us and we saw some deer in the trees up ahead.

The trail junction

There's poison oak in San Diego, too

Before long, we were swinging right and heading straight toward the grassy slopes of Volcan Mountain. Once on top, we had some snacks in the shade, next to a an old communication tower. We caught up on how we were doing and talked about our upcoming trips. We said hello to people walking by.

Volcan Mountain benchmark

Shady bench near the summit of Volcan Mountain

Plenty of recognizable peaks from Volcan Mountain

We decided to head back down, taking the Five Oaks trail. It offered a little change in scenery, especially to the west. Just below the peak, we saw some more deer in the grassy hills to the north. We made it back to the car and celebrated another successful hike and got some burgers.

The view to the east

The PD on the trail

Volcan Mountain Trail Map

Arroyo Seco Trail Camp - A short backpacking trip in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Arroyo Seco Trail Camp - A short backpacking trip in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Barnett Ranch Preserve - A sunny hike through Ramona grasslands

Barnett Ranch Preserve - A sunny hike through Ramona grasslands