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.
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.
Events are free and registration is not required. All ages were welcome.
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 are 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 are always on site and along the trail to answer questions and lead groups.
The Warrior Hike Challenge event is hosted by County Parks in partnership with VALOR, the official veterans’ resource group for San Diego County employees, with support from the San Diego River Park Foundation, REI San Diego and other sponsors.
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.