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County Parks Warrior Hike Challenge

Celebrate the holiday weekend with an unforgettable hike to the top of El Capitan. We're hosting a Veterans Day Weekend Warrior Hike on Nov. 11 - designed to “wow” and challenge local heroes and their families. Come to hike or support your military! View the event flyer.


County Parks’ Warrior Hike Challenge launched in 2015 as a way to celebrate the athleticism and mental stamina that’s required to climb what is arguably the toughest hike in San Diego County – El Cajon Mountain in the El Capitan Preserve. By breaking the hike into three levels, participants are able to choose the distance that best matches their interest and ability.

Those who seek “Boot Camp” status will complete a 2-mile, round-trip hike to and from the first trail viewpoint. This hike takes about an hour and can be started anytime between 8 and 11 a.m.

“Recon” athletes will take things to the next level by continuing onto another peak about 3 miles into the preserve, for a round-trip total of just over 6 miles. This is a relatively tough hike that’s best suited for experienced hikers and teens and adults in good shape. Recon athletes can start their challenge anytime between 8 and 11 a.m.

“Warriors” will complete the ultimate challenge by doing the full, 12-mile hike. This trek is not for the faint of heart or ability; Warriors will traverse multiple inclines and declines with several hundred feet of elevation gain and loss. It can take up to 7 hours to complete this version of the hike. Starting at 8 a.m. or earlier is recommended.

The free, all-ages event takes place from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11. El Capitan County Preserve is located at 13775 Blue Sky Ranch Road, Lakeside, CA 92040.

Healthy snacks and water will be provided at turnaround points, along with additional perks to motiviate hikers to move on to the next level. 

Please bring your own water (at least 1 gallon for Warriors) and wear appropriate colothing, sunscreen and sturdy hiking shoes.

Trekking poles are also recommended – a limited supply will be available for borrowing, thanks to REI San Diego. REI has also donated 5 special prizes which will be awarded to participants at random. The full list has been posted to the event page on Facebook.

NOTE: Parking is limited at the trailhead. Additional parking is available at  Oakoasis County Preserve across the street - simply park and follow signs for a short trail that travels underneath Wildcat Canyon to the El Capitan trailhead.

For more information, call preserve staff at 619-561-0580 or connect with County Parks’ marketing manager, Jessica Geiszler, at 858-966-1331 or 858-255-9992.  

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