California Trails

San Diego: Monument Trail Loop

Visit stream-fed meadows and regenerating woodlands on this 5.3-mile loop to a 1922 plane wreck in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.3



Location: 32.9068908691406, -116.583198547363

Head NE and gradually ascend through black oaks and pines still rejuvenating after 2003 Cedar Fire. Views open E over singed hillsides


Location: 32.9087600708008, -116.581100463867

L @ Y on Monument Trail; begin steady ascent. Spot outcroppings of Stonewall Peak to NE and Oakzanita Peak to SE


Location: 32.9134674072266, -116.581069946289

Arrive @ knob with views into the lush green contours of Arroyo Seco. Continue climb up along Airplane Ridge.


Location: 32.9192199707031, -116.587501525879

R @ Y onto West Mesa Trail; pass Airplane Wreck Monument, a weatherbeaten plane engine on a concrete pedestal, dedicated to 1922 victims (an Army pilot and colonel)


Location: 32.9241485595703, -116.588882446289

Cross Japacha Creek and descend along West Mesa; Japacha Peak’s knobby crest rises to N


Location: 32.9280281066894, -116.57869720459

R @ T onto West Mesa Fire Rd.


Location: 32.9258460998535, -116.578392028809

Join Japacha Fire Rd. and continue into shrub-lined creekbed


Location: 32.922679901123, -116.580841064453

Cross Japacha Creek and traverse hillside above the creek


Location: 32.9207916259766, -116.576873779297

Wrap around ridge and drop into lowlands of the Sweetwater River


Location: 32.9138526916504, -116.573913574219

R @ Y onto West Side Trail; continue SW .6 mi., skirting edge of Green Valley. Close loop @ WPT 2 and return to car