It’s easily one of San Diego County’s most difficult trails.
“In a word, it’s treacherous,” said Park Ranger Kyle Icke.
But that hasn’t stopped avid hiker Jim Carretta from attempting to conquer El Cajon Mountain 100 times.
“I don’t like going to gyms,” Carretta said. “It’s my treadmill out here.”
El Cajon Mountain, which sits proudly inside the El Capitan County Preserve in Lakeside, is a 12-mile round trip, with an elevation of 4,000 feet. It even boasts the often-heard-but-never-believed “uphill both ways” phenomenon.
Many hikers challenge themselves to the grueling hike – the spectacular view at the summit is about the best of San Diego you’ll get, according to Icke. You can watch Carretta take on the challenging trail for the 82nd time and then try it out for yourself, just be sure to have a good hiking and fitness foundation first.
“As long as I can get up and down this mountain, I’ll keep doing it,” Carretta said.