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Bi-Annual Warrior Hike Challenge


County Parks’ Warrior Hike Challenge launched in 2015 as a way to celebrate the athleticism and mental stamina that’s required to climb what’s arguably the toughest hike in San Diego County – El Cajon Mountain in the El Capitan County Preserve.

READ THE ARTICLE.

El Capitan is popular among active and retired military personnel. So we designed an event that could "wow" and challenge them as well as their friends and family. Warrior Hike Challenges take place twice a year on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day weekends. 

By breaking the hike into three levels, participants can choose their own adventure; navigating the length of trail that matches their individual interest and ability. Celebration stations sit at the 1-mile and 3-mile turnaround points. Extreme hikers will push their limits to climb to the summit for a 12-mile trek through the scenic, undulating preserve.

  • BOOT CAMP (Easy-Moderate): Families and beginning hikers will enjoy a quick, 1-mile jaunt to the ridge for a beautiful view of eastern San Diego. This trail is 2 miles round-trip and is open to all ages. Duration: Approx. 1 hour | Start between 8 and 11 a.m.
  • RECON (Moderate-Difficult): Skilled hikers can continue on to the next peak for just over 6 miles round-trip. This hike is best suited for teens and adults in good shape. Duration: Approx. 3 hours | Start between 8 and 11 a.m.
  • WARRIOR (Difficult): This trek is not for the faint of heart or ability; Warriors will hike 12 miles, traversing multiple inclines and declines with several hundred feet of elevation gain and loss. Be like this local Warrior – who is on a quest to hike to and from the summit 100 times by mid-2018! Duration: Up to 7 hours | Start promptly at 8 a.m.

Hikers should bring ample water (1+ gallons for Warriors), and wear sturdy hiking boots. Sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and a walking stick or poles are also recommended.

Healthy refreshments will be available at celebration stations, including the staging area at the base of the preserve, located of Wildcat Canyon Road at 13775 Blue Sky Ranch Road in Lakeside. Park staff will be on site to answer questions and to lead groups. 

Now in its fifth run, the Warrior Hike Challenge event is hosted by County Parks in partnership with volunteer groups and VALOR, the official veterans’ resource group for San Diego County employees, and with support from REI San Diego.

Sponsorships are still available. Click HERE for more information, or call 858-966-1331.

Help us share this event with San Diego by downloading the official flyer and connecting with us on Facebook!

About El Capitan County Preserve:

El Capitan Preserve has views of three reservoirs from one location in the park. On site are roughly 8 miles of trails across 2,619 acres of open space. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset (except during the month of August, when it is closed due to extreme heat). The parking area and trailhead are located at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and Blue Sky Ranch Road. Take Highway 67 north. Turn right at Willow Road. Turn left at Wildcat Canyon Road. Turn right at Blue Sky Ranch Road. Read the feature article by the County News Center. Or, view one hiker's trekked route on AllTrails.com. 

  • We salute our military volunteers and hikers!
  • Made it through the first few climbs, onto station #2
  • Let our staff show you the way - we're here all day.
  • Some of San Diego's very own Summit Seekers at the 3-mile station
  • Heading back, after successfully conquering mile 9
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