Hiking in Santa Ysabel
San Diego › West Vista Loop Trail
Added by Zachary Overbey
Scenic green hills in the spring and winter. Rolling blankets of wildflowers throughout the spring. No passes or parking fees. Views of local wildlife and old oak woodlands. Local breweries and wineries in Julian, CA and surrounding areas to wind down after a nice hike. Dog friendly - must be on a 6 ft. leash.
Starting at the trailhead on Hwy 79, enter through the gate and make sure to close it behind you - the preserve is open range area for herds of cows, make sure not to disturb them when hiking. From the gate you'll see the sign with a detailed map of trails that are available for hiking. The trail begins on the West Vista Loop (which is more like a fire access road) for about 1.1 miles with a decent climb to the saddle.
From here you have the option of continuing left for about 1.5 miles or right for about .8 miles through oaks and grasslands, either way loops around to a connecting Coast to Crest Trail and a picnic area. Continue through the shady oaks on the CTC through more typical San Diego scenery with scrubs, oaks, and chaparral. The trail continues with great views to the south and east of farmlands and small wineries, keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife on the ground and flying above. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches along the trail to rest along the way.
Continue for 3 more miles and you'll come to the Kanaka Loop Trail connector. You can connect on this loop trail for another 4.8 miles to hit Farmer Road and the East Staging Area where you can find your way to the Volcano Mountain TH if you've got the stamina and the daylight, or head back on the CTC to WVLT.
Winter, Fall, and Spring hikes can be mild but bring plenty of water as there is none available along the trail. Summer is hot, but plenty of shady oaks to rest under on the trail. The park is open 8-5 in the winter and 8-7 in summer.
- Hiking boots or shoes
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There are two Santa ysabel parks. One is labeled west which is this posting and there is another east entrance closer to Julian. Both are good day hikes and are much less crowded than the ones closer to mid town San Diego.
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