Bi-Annual Warrior Hike Challenge

Warrior Hike Ad


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 no RSVP or check-in required due to this temporary new format. 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. 

For more information, contact Jessica Geiszler at or 858-966-1331.

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

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 

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