Corte Madera Mountain

16 May 2020

Corte Madera Mountain Trail (7 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet).

Another COVID hike!  This time we decided to do a remote location sandwiched between the Pine Creek Wilderness and the Hauser Wilderness.  It was quite warm, but overall a beautiful day to hike.

The beginning of this hike is on a forest road through an oak forest that clings to Morena Creek.  It’s a little buggy, and also a little disconcerting to pop out after a couple of miles at a trailhead parking area that is closer to the summit.  But once we got out of the bugs into the wind we got some really nice views of classic Cleveland Forest chaparral.

Into the chaparral
Gorgeous agave blooms
Magnificent monkeyflower

I read that people call Corte Madera “San Diego’s Half Dome.”  Well that’s a bit of a stretch, but it does have some very nice looking cliffs that are off limits to climbing to protect several species of raptors that live and breed there.

Corte Madera Mountain
A fine looking specimen (and the agave is nice, too)

The views at the top were quite nice and worth the climb.

Half cookie gazes into the distance
Trail register!
At-the-top photo-op
Heading back down
A fat lizard!

We got a little lost on the way back.  The chaparral is very thick so if you lose the trail you are kind of screwed.  A nice man shouted directions to us to find the trail again.

Which way?
Swimming in chaparral

It’s rolling but mostly downhill on the way back except for one steep part.

Last climb!
Corte Madera Lake
pinky purply

Once we got back to the car I suggested we take the 94 back to San Diego.  It was a lovely drive and I got to show Half Cookie my favorite monument.


Looks like some folks are trying for a thru-hike this year, even in spite of the pandemic.  I wish them the best of luck.

Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s