|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Trail use: Hiking
Trail type: Dirt/primitive
Pets: Dogs are allowed but must be leashed at all times.
Trail rules/restrictions: No bikes. Stay on designated trail and away from sensitive habitat areas. Beware of rattlesnakes, especially during hot weather.
Parking: Free. Old Dam parking is right across the road from the trail head; if that lot is full you can park off the road side as designated. Gate to road leading to parking lot closes at 7pm.
Additional parking lot across from the Kumeyaay Campground on the corner of Bushy Hill Dr & Father Junipero Serra Trail Rd.
Interpretative center/ranger station: The center is about 2 miles west of the trailhead on Father Junipero Serra Trail Rd. There is a museum, souvenir store, library and plenty of knowledgeable volunteers.
Restrooms: Chemical restrooms at the Old Dam parking lot, across the road from the trail head.
To trail head: Trailhead across the road from Old Dam parking lot.
From the 15: Exit Friars Rd. east continue until it turns into Mission Gorge Rd., continue for approximately 6.5 miles. Left on the second Father Junipero Serra Trail Rd. entrance, continue to Old Dam parking.
From the 8: Exit Mission Gorge Rd., continue for about 7 miles, left on the second Father Junipero Serra Trail Rd. entrance, continue until Old Dam parking.
From the 125 / 52: Exit Mission Gorge Rd. The third street will be Father Junipero Serra Trail Rd, make a right and continue until Old Dam parking.
Moderate trail with steep slope, not many switchbacks. A challenging but rewarding hike, the summit is not visible at all times and the trail can only be seen for about 20 feet in front of you. The slope steepens and narrows for the last 1/4 of the trail then smooths and almost flattens for the last 1/8.
As you're progressing through the trail make sure to look back and admire the valley flanked by Kwaay Paay and Fortuna mountain.
This trail is much less traveled than neighboring Cowles Mountain, so if you want a more quiet hike this is the trail for you.
Critters spotted: Lizards, rabbits, squirrels, crows and one rattlesnake.
Recommendations: Make sure you have shoes with good thread and plenty of water. Though I have hiked neighboring Cowles at noon on a summer day, I must say Kwaay Paay trail makes the heat more unforgiving; had to head back to the trailhead and wait until after 4pm to hike back up. Wouldn't consider this a child-friendly hike.