Pub. Date:
Afoot & Afield: San Diego County: 282 Spectacular Outings Along the Coast, Foothills, Mountains, and Desert

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County: 282 Spectacular Outings Along the Coast, Foothills, Mountains, and Desert

by Jerry Schad, Scott Turner

Paperback(Fifth Edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Tuesday, September 28


Discover more than 280 hikes in San Diego County!

This fifth edition of San Diego County’s classic hiking guidebook features 282 trips, ranging from short, self-guided nature trails to challenging peak climbs and canyon treks. In Afoot & Afield San Diego County, coauthor Scott Turner has fully updated this edition, which includes new maps and more than 30 new hikes. The book encompasses almost all public—and a few private—lands within San Diego County, including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cleveland National Forest, the Cuyamaca Mountains, and numerous county and city parks.

For every trip you’ll find:

  • At-a-glance essential information, including distance, hiking time, and elevation gain/loss
  • Notes on which trails are suitable for children, mountain bikes, dogs, equestrians, and backpacking
  • Accurate and precise driving and hiking directions

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899978017
Publisher: Wilderness Press
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Series: Afoot & Afield
Edition description: Fifth Edition
Pages: 504
Sales rank: 234,421
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jerry Schad (1949–2011) was Southern California’s leading outdoors writer. His 16 guidebooks, including those in Wilderness Press’s popular and comprehensive Afoot & Afield series, along with his “Roam-O-Rama” column in the San Diego Reader, helped thousands of hikers discover the region’s diverse wild places. Jerry ran or hiked many thousands of miles of distinct trails throughout California, in the Southwest, and in Mexico. He was a sub-24-hour finisher of Northern California’s 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and served in a leadership capacity for outdoor excursions around the world. He taught astronomy and physical science at San Diego Mesa College and chaired its physical sciences department from 1999 until 2011. His sudden, untimely death from kidney cancer shocked and saddened the hiking community. Scott Turner’s various interests include psychology, photography, writing, songwriting, and music production. He serves a variety of populations as a marriage and family therapist, and he covers an assortment of hiking trails across California and beyond for and locally for He generally hikes more than 1,000 miles per year across much of California and frequently leads guided hikes independently or with agencies across the county.

Read an Excerpt

Eagle Crag

  • Distance 16.2 miles (out-and-back)
  • Hiking Time 11 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss 3,800'/3,800'
  • Difficulty Strenuous
  • Trail Use Suitable for backpacking, dogs allowed
  • Best Times November–May
  • Agency CNF/PD
  • Recommended Maps USGS Aguanga and USGS Vail Lake
  • Optional Map Cleveland National Forest’s A Guide to the Agua Tibia & San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (does not cover entire route)
  • Notes Navigation required, moderate–difficult (near the top) terrain, bushwhacking
This out-and-back route across Cleveland National Forest lands on Palomar’s north slopes traverses some wild and lonely country—in fact, some of the most remote territory found anywhere in Southern California. The destination is Eagle Crag, a granite outcrop upon which you can sit with dangling legs and contemplate the sheer drop of 1,000 or more feet below you. Be aware that the route begins outside the Agua Tibia Wilderness, and is only partially mapped on the U.S. Forest Service topographic map/brochure for Agua Tibia Wilderness.

On the way, you’ll cross a number of small streams that may flow in winter and spring, particularly during wet years. Remember that this water must be purified for drinking purposes.

Start off by descending sharply on the Cutca Trail into the shady depths of Cottonwood Creek, 0.5 mile. Climb to a saddle at 1.2 miles, then descend slightly to the Aguanga Trail junction at 2.1 miles. (The poorly maintained Aguanga Trail, which goes north, runs into private property near the Riverside County line.)

Continue over rolling terrain, through chaparral and oaks, crossing Long Canyon and two of its tributaries. These streambeds occasionally have water until early summer. Nearing Cutca Valley, you strike Cutca Road at 5.0 miles. Walk 0.4 mile north on the dirt road into Cutca Valley, then resume westward travel on the Cutca Trail. The valley, with its flat, open spaces, is a good spot to spend the night if you’re backpacking.

Rise out of the valley, cross the signed Agua Tibia Wilderness boundary, and follow a shady ravine with a seasonal, trickling brook. Sword ferns on the bank flutter in the cool and languid breeze. Switchbacks take you up to a junction with the Palomar-Magee Trail (7.6 miles), which is the old roadbed following the Palomar–Agua Tibia crest. From this junction, or from another point 0.2 mile west, you may make your bid for Eagle Crag. This involves a short, steep, cross-country climb through a ravine. Before the ravine reaches the crest, turn right to pass through thick and scratchy chaparral vegetation. Much of this vegetation burned during the Poomacha Fire, and large thickets of poodle-dog bush mingle with the skeletal remains of manzanita and other chaparral species. The rock pile at the apex of Eagle Crag’s sheer south face offers a dramatic platform for a vista unparalleled at any other site in the Palomar area.

FromI-15 at Temecula, exit at CA 79. Drive 18 miles east on CA 79 to reach the hamlet of Aguanga, at the intersection of CA 79 and CA 371. Continue on CA 79 for another 0.3 mile to reach a paved access road into the Rancho California RV Resort on the right. Head south on this road, which continues beyond the resort entryway as Forest Road 8S05/High Point Road. Drive a total of 5 miles south on this mostly unpaved and occasionally very rough road to the signed CUTCA TRAIL on the right. Note that Cleveland National Forest closes the road during and immediately after inclement weather.

Table of Contents


Overview Map


Introducing San Diego County

Health, Safety, and Courtesy

Using this Book

Overview of Hikes

The Trails

Best Hikes

Recommended Reading

Local Organizations

Agencies and Information Sources


About the Authors

Customer Reviews