Volcan Victory

Hike Volcan Mountain

Some days you've just got to head for the hills. Just an hour east of San Diego, Julian is a popular apple pie hub, yet few people venture beyond to nearby Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve at Wynola. They're missing out on a hiker's haven. It's 5 miles (round-trip) to Volcan's summit, which is nicely shaded by sycamores and oaks. After winding along the side of the mountain for the first mile, take the Five Oaks Trail on your right and begin switchbacks towards a grassy meadow, a mid-summit … you're not there yet! Continue along the trail, through the gate and up a steeper section of trail, passing a giant oak tree. It's a half-mile further to the summit. In spring you're guaranteed to see beautiful blue-blooming lupines. You're not guaranteed to see Volcan's resident golden eagle, but keep a keen eye out just in case you get lucky. At the 5,500-foot summit, enjoy vistas of San Diego Bay and of other classic San Diego hiking spots, like Mount Woodson, Iron Mountain, and Black Mountain in Ramona. Which summit next?!

FOOD BONUS: Post-hike, don't resist delicious! Wynola Pizza & Bistro hits the spot with its wood-fired thin crust pizzas. Their Pesto Pizza is a tasty favorite, topped with fresh tomatoes, romano cheese, and pine nuts. Wash it down with a custom soda like Vanilla Bean Creme or Spice Cola.

From San Diego, take I-8 east for 22 miles. Go north on CA-79 and then turn right (east) on CA-78/Banner Rd. and continue through Julian. Turn left on Wynola Rd., then right on Farmer Rd. Park along the road, adjacent to an apple orchard. The path begins at the end of the dirt road, with a marked sign reading Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve. Park on either side of the quiet road. Dog-friendly!

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