Otay Mountain • Southern San Diego County
• Range Highpoint: San Ysidro Mountains

Date Climbed
October 4, 2008

Elevation
3,566 feet

Distance
1.8 miles hike

Time
45 minutes hike,
2.5 hours total

Gain
260 feet

Conditions
Hazy, then cloudy

Prominence
2,086 feet

Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size version


The Wilderness Boundary sign
 

Otay Mountain proper
 

Walking the road
 

Doghouse Junction

California PageMain Page

Summitpost Page


Otay Mountain is a prominent summit, topping the San Ysidro Range in far-south San Diego County. The summit lies just a couple miles north of the Mexican border, and from the top, one can see a lot of Tijuana. A decent road goes to the top, so hiking it is simple. I was here one a quick weekend trip to hike nearby Cuyamaca Peak and this peak, being joined by Adam Helman, graciously repeating these ascents for my benefit.

I camped at the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park the night before and we had a successful hike up Cuyamaca Peak this morning. Finishing there about 9 a.m., it took us about 90 minutes to drive south toward Otay Mountain. We followed Japatul Road to Lyons Valley Road to Honey Springs Road, putting us on state route CA-94 a few miles east of the town of Jamul. The drive was scenic and very remote. We eventually located ourselves a little past the locale of Dulzura (a few homes and a cafe), then onto Marron Valley Road.

On Marron Valley Road, we passed some homes then went west up a rougher road. Adam parked his truck here then road shotgun with me. I proceeded south along a rough road, catching a very good road not much farther on. Turning right (west), we were now on the main road heading up to the top. This road was about one car-width wide, but very well maintained, with now big rocks or rutting. The Border Patrol are here in abundance, driving vthe roads looking for crossers.

The drive to Doghouse Junction took about 30 minutes. This is where other roads coming in from the north and west all meet. I wanted at least a little hike, so parking here left about a mile hike to the top. There was plenty of room to park.

The hike went quickly. The last little spur road to the top is paved, but steep and narrow. In time, were were on the summit, and Adam celebrated with pastrami sandwiches for both of us! The views were interesting, to say the least. Looking east, big rounded Tecate peak stood high. South was a lot of mountains in Mexico. West, we could see the patchwork of suburban San Diego, then a very distinct line, and south of that line, an incredibly dense collection of roads and buildings, this clearly being Tijuana.

We stayed up here for about 30 minutes, then hiked leisurely back to my truck. The drive down was fun but safe, and we were down and back to Adam's truck by about 3 p.m. Some clouds had moved in and it looked like it could rain, so we got back onto paved roads without too much hesitation. We celebrated some more with ice cream in Jamul, while I topped my tank with gas.

I crashed at Adam’s place that night, and we got some good Thai food at a place nearby. I left very early the next morning for the drive home. The “storm” had brought lots of clouds and some mist but not much rain, but driving up and over the high passes on Interstate-8 east of San Diego, I hit thick fog in places. Then, once down the long descent into Imperial County, the clouds simply ended and I had clear, dry and very lovely conditions for the long drive back home.

(c) 2008 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.