Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sombrero Peak via McCain Valley Hike

McCain Valley is home to many large boulders
I recently started exploring McCain Valley out near Jacumba. It is truly a fascinating place.

Quoting the BLM website:

McCain Valley lies within the Peninsular Mountain ranges of eastern San Diego County. The valley is characterized by chaparral hills dotted with granitic boulders. Large oak trees provide shady hideaways at two campgrounds off McCain Valley Road. East of the valley, in several steep canyons, oasis of native fan palms are found. These islands of vegetation provide habitat for many desert species, including a population of Peninsular bighorn sheep.

This trip Scott and I hiked out to Sombrero Peak from the Cottonwood campgrounds. It was about 10 miles total and was an easy sandy trail most of the way. The weather was perfect, maybe low 80's and partly cloudy most of the day, we had shade most of the day. We did not see anyone the entire weekend, we had the valley to ourselves.

Our hike on Google Earth
This guy was crossing the road, we let him go first
We did not see any rattlesnakes but we did see a couple of other snakes. I am not sure what this guy is (California glossy snake??) but he was big and looked like he had quite a few morsels in him.  On Sunday we hiked up the west side of the valley in part of the Sawtooth Wilderness Mtns. We saw some pretty cool rock formations and had some great views of McCain Valley extending all the way out to Borrego.

You can see more pics here

This is the Sombrero Peak sign at the base of the peak
Looking out over Borrego from Sombrero Peak
Baby deer we found on the way back near peak 4453
Scott speaks to Kumeyaay of ancient past, he believes they live on in the Peak's register box.


  1. Any idea what kind of pretty flowers are in pic #42?

    I asked an ex if he had any idea what was in pic #40, because that's the type of random thing he might know, and he said it looked like a primitive radar detector.

    "They take radar pictures and the reflections show up as white spots. You then align white spots on readers with gps on pictures and lay on top of each other. Reader pics don't look like google earth pictures, so you have to see what the dirt/rocks look like on radar pictures; then when you have the radar pictures you can see what type of dirt/rock it is."

    Then he sent these links:

    He speaks in riddles and types like a drunk monkey, so I had to sort of translate and piece that together. Hope it makes some sense to a more technologically savvy mind than mine.

  2. Ooops -- radar REflector -- not DEtector...

  3. Hi Daren!

    Thanks so much for posting your impressions of this trail--much appreciated! Two questions for you, though: Did you think the trail was clearly marked, or did it disappear on you from time to time? Also, I know you went in June & found it quite cool, temperature-wise. Would you guess it would remain that cool in late July, too?


  4. @Miss M,

    There is no "trail", there are numerous old jeep roads and misc trails that will lead you close to the base of the peak. You will need to map out your hike before you go and be comfortable navigating your route to the peak without the aid of trails or signs.

    The temperatures for July can be in the 90's and even triple digits. It is also rattlesnake season and there are many in that area. I personally cannot recommend anyone hike that route in the summer unless you are confident in your back country skills and know your limits.

    Thanks for writing!