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A nice introduction to the joys of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.


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Map Key

6.7

Miles

10.8

KM

Loop

5,205' 1,586 m

High

4,300' 1,311 m

Low

1,000' 305 m

Up

1,001' 305 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

Overview

This is a loop that follows the West Mesa Fire Road and West Mesa Trail, exploring several features of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Though you are hiking on a road for 60% of the loop, it doesn't feel that way because it is a narrow dirt road.

Description

The loop begins at the base of Arrowmakers Ridge, where archaeologists discovered thousands of late prehistoric projectile points. Airplane Monument is at 1.7 miles, just west of the road at the information symbol, halfway into a gentle rise. The monument is a Liberty 12-cylinder aircraft engine mounted on stones, from a DH-4B biplane that crashed on December 7, 1922, killing both the pilot and his traveling companion.

About 0.1 miles beyond the monument, the trail reverses direction, ascending Airplane Ridge on the southwest edge of the loop, and offering good views of the park.

At 3.2 miles, the fire road peters out, though Burnt Pine Fire Rd continues northwest. Ignore this road and continue northeast along a singletrack and through often tall grasses. At 4.5 mile, pickup West Mesa Fire Road again to complete the loop.

This hike is best done in spring or early summer when the vegetation is most verdant.

Flora & Fauna

Stellar's jays, scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, black-headed grossbeak, and lazuli bunting.

Contacts

Shared By:

Matthew Kidd

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#5174

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#710

in California

#5,174

Overall
7 Views Last Month
1,167 Since May 31, 2017
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Photos

Wildflowers bloom on the West Mesa Trail in Cuyamaca State Park.
May 31, 2017 near Descanso, CA
Hikers navigate the West Mesa Loop of Cuyamaca State Park.
May 31, 2017 near Descanso, CA
At times, the West Mesa Trail is nearly swallowed by grass.
May 31, 2017 near Descanso, CA

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