Parks and Rec

Honor Veterans and Have a Great Hike

Honor, sacrifice, freedom, peace — and a great hike!

This Veterans Day weekend, you can honor the sacrifice and service that all of our military neighbors, friends and family members make to preserve peace and maintain freedom — and enjoy a great “Warrior Challenge” hike at the same time!

From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at El Capitan Preserve in Lakeside, the San Diego County Parks Department will hold the first of what is expected to become an annual event: a hiking event with something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner — or little — hiker to those hardcore warrior-hikers as well.

El Capitan, located at 13775 Blue Sky Ranch Road in Lakeside, has a well-earned reputation for being one of the tougher hikes in San Diego County. But hikers of all sizes, shapes and ages who come Saturday can take part in one of three different levels of an El Capitan hike.

The “Boot Camp” level will give families and beginners a chance to enjoy a quick (approximately one hour) one-mile walk to the ridgeline where they can take in a beautiful view of eastern San Diego County.

More skilled hikers can continue walking to the next peak to enjoy the “Recon” level, a roughly six-mile round-trip hike that can take two to three hours. This hike is best suited for teens and adults in good shape.

Finally, the “Warrior” level hike — which starts promptly at 8 a.m. — will let the most skilled hikers continue to the top of El Capitan.  This roughly 10- to 12-mile hike is not for the faint of heart or ability. It includes multiple inclines and declines covering several hundred feet of changing elevation. This is a difficult hike that can take up to seven hours to complete.

All hikers should bring plenty of water — a gallon-plus for the Warrior Level hike — and wear sturdy hiking boots.

County parks staff will be on hand to answer questions and guide tours. Healthy refreshments will be available at turnaround points in the hikes.

Parking will be limited at the trailhead. Additional parking is available across Wildcat Canyon Road at Oakoasis Preserve, located at 12620 Wildcat Canyon Road, and Louis Stelzer County Park, located at 11470 Wildcat Canyon Road.

So come! Honor our veterans’ sacrifice and service by enjoying the peace and freedom of a great hike!

For more information, call (858) 966-1331.


Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact