Chances are, if you head into the wilderness at sunset, you'll have the place to yourself. From the top of South Fortuna you can rest your quads, bask in the glory of defeating "The Stairs", and soak in the sunset views.

Hiking at sunset/night is a great way to beat both the heat and the crowds. On a clear day you can see from Mexico to Catalina Island! If you stay long enough, you can see all of San Diego's city lights turn on, or the marine layer fog creep into the canyons.

South Fortuna Peak is part of Mission Trails Regional Park, and there are several options for gaining access to the peak. The recommended route is from the parking area at the East end of Claremont Mesa Blvd. Just remember to park OUTSIDE the gate if you plan on watching the sunset (they close the gate at night).

Bring a map of the trails because there are a couple non-intuitive turns along the route. Follow signs for "South Fortuna Trail". Retrace your steps by flashlight/headlamp on the way back. If you enjoy this hike, consider trying the Mission Trails 5 Peak Challenge! Watch out for some cool wildlife after dark - mice, rabbits, bats, and owls, among others.

Pack List

  • Water (It's hot and dusty out there, folks)
  • Trail map
  • A trustworthy light (or two) for the return trip
  • High-steppin' knees for those stairs
  • A camera for the inevitable beauty
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Valentines hike!

Great easy to moderate hike. We hit the lollipop loop up on Valentine’s Day and only saw two other people. Would highly recommend a map as there are many turns and roads that you will cross on the way! We did 6 miles by doing a lollipop loop and hiked down in the dark with headlamps after sunset. Trails are in great condition; lots of owls, rabbits and birds. The stairs are a lot shorter than I expected as I’ve done the real stairway to Heaven in Hawaii as well as Koko head. Still a good burner and they lead to great views up top!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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