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Airplane Monument Loop

Intermediate
 3.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The shortest loop to Airplane Monument starting at Sweetwater Parking Lot.


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Map Key

5.0

Miles

8.1

KM

Loop

4,775' 1,455 m

High

3,957' 1,206 m

Low

849' 259 m

Up

847' 258 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

This is the shortest loop to the Airplane Monument via the West Side Trail, the West Mesa Loop Fire road, and the Japacha Fire Road.

The airplane monument is at 2.2 miles.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. Bees have made a hive of it as of 2019.

Description

Park at the Sweetwater Parking Lot and cross the nearby bridge on Highway 79 to catch a mostly shaded stretch of the West Side Trail that parallels the highway. Usually, you can hop right over the stream that the bridge crosses, but there is a small detour available if the water level is high.

After 0.5 miles, turn onto the Monument Trail at a well-marked junction. This exposed and somewhat rocky section ascends steadily with good views. At the fork at the 2 mile mark, veer right onto the West Mesa Trail. After another 0.2 miles, you'll come to the airplane monument. This is a good lunch spot with a view, despite the bees, which didn't seem interested in us or our food.

From the monument, the terrain narrows and become less interesting. The Japacha Fire Road return is rocky but offers a mix of views and shade.

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

#4356

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#644

in California

#4,356

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307 Since Jul 8, 2019
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Photos

Burst of yellow in Cuyumaca Rancho SP after a wet winter
Jul 8, 2019 near Descanso, CA

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