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California Trails

San Diego: Dripping Springs Trail

This 12.8-mile cardio challenge climbs 3,000 feet to sweeping vistas in Agua Tibia Wilderness. Start early with lots of water, and bring gaiters for the chaparral.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.3

Waypoints

DST010

Location: 33.4166793823242, -116.989799499512

Trail ends; grassy oak grove provides potential campsite; backtrack home

DST001

Location: 33.4581985473633, -116.970802307129

Trailhead for Dripping Springs and Wild Horse Trails; cross Arroyo Seco Creek, following Dripping Springs Trail

DST002

Location: 33.4572792053223, -116.970901489258

Hike into the low-slung redshank and manzanita of the 15,933-acre Agua Tibia Wilderness

DST003

Location: 33.456371307373, -116.971496582031

Bear R onto Dripping Springs Trail

DST004

Location: 33.4509010314941, -116.977096557617

Tiny, bivy-sized backcountry campsite located in spotty shade to E

DST005

Location: 33.4494895935059, -116.978500366211

First views to N of the crooked fingers of Vail Lake and sloping folds of the San Bernardino Mountains beyond

DST006

Location: 33.4481201171875, -116.979301452637

Trail continues a steady, shadeless ascent through chaparral

DST007

Location: 33.4474906921387, -116.978698730469

Trail braids. Minimize impact by following main trail switchback to L

DST008

Location: 33.4375610351562, -116.973098754883

Cross intermittent, offshoot creekbed of Arroyo Seco

DST009

Location: 33.4272804260254, -116.978302001953

Trail flattens into scrubland; Palomar Observatory visible along ridge to SE

Northwest view to Temecula through the dying rays of a hazy sunset

Location: 33.4217262268066, -116.983062744141

©Steffan Fay

Trail flattens to scrubland.

Location: 33.4273719787598, -116.97730255127

©Steffan Fay

Tarantula along trail.

Location: 33.4398193359375, -116.977653503418

©Steffan Fay

Views of Vail Lake

Location: 33.4494972229004, -116.97730255127

©Steffan Fay