Viejas Mountain is a short and strenuous hike nestled in the rugged foothills of eastern San Diego. Climbing 1,600 feet in under 2 miles, this trek is not for the faint of heart. There is little to no shade to be found along the trail, so be sure to bring adequate sun protection and avoid hiking during hot weather. Spring is an ideal time for this hike, when wildflowers such as wooly blue curls, prickly phlox, and cow parsnip dot the landscape. The region is also populated by waist-high chaparral consisting mostly of chamise, manzanita, and yucca plants. At the summit hikers are rewarded with 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day the view stretches from the Pacific Ocean to Mexico.
Native Americans who at one time lived in this region built a winter solstice marker at the summit; however, it was destroyed by campers who rearranged the stones into a windbreak. Remember the impact that you can make on the landscape, and always try to Leave No Trace.