The Kelly Ditch Trail

William Heise County Park to Lake Cuyamaca and back
(11.5 miles, +2,900/-2,900 feet).

BarnFinder was back in town for the holidays and I haven’t seen him that much because of his work schedule, so we decided to do a day hike nearby.  We’ve both hiked just about all the main hikes that are within a couple of hours of San Diego, so I was scratching my head about some place new to go when he texted me to suggest the Kelly Ditch Trail.


Last year about this time Half Cookie and I had an absolutely lovely hike in William Heise County Park with our sons DoubleSub and Pasta Jay.  Last winter was one of our wettest ever, and it had just rained before that hike.  This year is, sadly, turning out to be one of our driest ever, so I was interested to see the contrast.

We got there right after sunrise when it was still brisk in the 40s, but we soon shed our puffy jackets as we hit warmer pockets of air on our initial climb.

BarnFinder bundled up
Early morning light
Lovely clouds over distant ridges

The trail is pretty gentle, averaging about 250 feet of elevation gain per mile, and in some places it follows old jeep tracks, creating a double path that we could walk on side by side so we could chat as we hiked.

Double track
Looking towards the Pacific
This is great!
North Peak

For about the last mile before the turnaround, the trail is covered in leaves, making it pretty and springy to walk on.

A leafy path

We touched the road near Lake Cuyamaca and then headed back into the woods to enjoy  some of HalfCookie’s Christmas Cookies.

Heading back
Our view up the hill

It warmed a bit for the walk back, and the sun was at our backs making for some nice shots of the terrain’s recovery from the 2003 Cedar Fire.

I’m still standing
A tree points the way

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