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One of the best workout hikes in a relatively short distance, with rewarding vistas in several places.

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1,280' 390 m


354' 108 m


1,369' 417 m


1,369' 417 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (26°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildlife

During 2022 and possibly 2023, there may be utility road closures close to the trailhead on weedays, due to water project construction.


Some strenuous climbing and descending to/from south and north Fortuna peaks. Awesome 360-degree views from the peaks. The distance makes for a great after-work hike during the longer daylight season.


The route starts at the trailhead at the intersection of Calle de Vida and Colina Dorada. Begin hiking NE on the Fortuna Saddle Trail, uphill and then flat, to a junction with the Fortuna Saddle Spur, a less-well maintained utility road going ENE downhill. Take this spur to do the hike in the counterclockwise direction.

After arriving at the junction with the San Diego River Crossing Trail, go left and then take a right-hand split to singletrack trail with wood fencing. This is the top of the Suycott Valley Trail. Follow this downhill and after several switchbacks turn right at the connector junction. In about 100 ft. is a grove of oak trees off to the left, and the South Fortuna Trail junction to the right (take this trail). After a short but pleasant, shaded walk along a creek bed, the trail crosses on a wood bridge and comes up to another junction. Stay right and the fun climbing begins towards S. Fortuna peak.

After several steep, short climbs you'll come to the beginning of the "South Fortuna Stairs," a series of wooden water bars and embedded rock steps that takes you up to a ridgeline trail that continues on to S. Fortuna peak. Along most of this ridgeline you'll have great views to the West and South. Eventually you'll reach signage for the S. Fortuna peak marker which is several yards off trail. Around this peak you'll have awesome 360-degree vistas.

Continuing north on the trail will take you downhill, steeply at first, towards the Fortuna Saddle. The 4-way Saddle junction is marked for destinations in the park -- don't go on one of the dead-end utility roads to a powerline tower. The trail up to N. Fortuna peak is obvious.

You begin climbing with a few switchbacks and several steep sections with slippery sand over hardpack. Eventually you come to a false peak ("Faux-tuna") and have one more down-&-up to get to the actual N. Fortuna peak marker. Again, you have awesome 360-degree views (side note: this is a great place to watch the Blue Angels show at Miramar).

Continuing north from the peak you'll have some roller coaster terrain until you begin a couple of switchbacks down the north flank of N. Fortuna, to the shoulder. Here there will be a brief flat spot and then a couple of steep and slippery trails down to the junction with Shepherd

History & Background

Mission Trails – Formerly Camp Elliott

This area of San Diego known as Mission Trails, once was a part of Camp Elliott. It was a 13,000 acre Marine Corps Training Camp used during World War II by the Second Marine Division for artillery and tank training in addition to other specialist training. In one period, at the height of the war, 50,000 officers and men were dispatched to combat zones from Camp Elliott in a little over a year. As part of their training, weapons ranging in size from 22 caliber rifles to 155 mm field artillery pieces were extensively fired in this area.



Shared By:

Frank T

Trail Ratings

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  4.0 from 2 votes
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Top of South Fortuna summit views
May 25, 2018 near Santee, CA
Along the ridgeline of the North Fortuna Trail.
Mar 25, 2019 near Santee, CA
North Fortuna Summit views.
Jan 28, 2019 near Santee, CA
Looking back at the top of SD River Crossing Trail.
Jan 28, 2019 near Santee, CA



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