El Cajon Mountain - Climbing

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El Cajon Mountain not only offers one of the toughest hikes in the San Diego area, but it also has some really great sport climbing routes at El Cajon Wall.

Written by

Taylor Reilly


0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

26.5 miles


3 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

0 hours


Spring, Summer, and Fall

Spring, Fall

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




El Cajon Mountain, also known as El Capitan, is one of those mountains that is often seen from below, yet rarely climbed- either by foot on a trail or by hand on a granite slab. However, for the lucky adventurers who are interested in conquering this difficult mountain, they won't be disappointed with the hiking trails or the climbing routes that this scenic mountain has to offer.

What Makes It Great

First, for hikers, this could be considered the toughest hike in San Diego! The 11.2 mile trail to the 3,657 foot summit is not for beginners, and can be very challenging and strenuous for even experienced hikers. Good sturdy hiking boots are strongly recommended because there are several up and down sections as you traverse 3 mountains to reach the summit of El Cajon. You will have views of Eagle Peak, Cuyamaca Peak, the San Diego River Valley and Mount Gower along the way. Be prepared and have all your backcountry gear for this day hike. Summer months can bring extreme heat, so dress accordingly and bring lots of water!

Who is Going to Love It

For climbers, El Cajon Wall is an awesome and potentially brutal place to climb. The approach is half the battle for this big SoCal mountain, and the vegetation and terrain are unforgiving. You will have breathtaking views during both your approach and your climb, and there are a number of great sport routes here; this includes some big multi-pitch routes. Bring some cams for some added protection and be prepared for a grand adventure on El Cajon Wall! Here are some of the top climbs. 

1) Bright Eyes 5.6 Trad 2 pitches2) Buffalo Brothers 5.8 Sport, 2 pitches3) Meteor 5.8 Sport, 2 pitches4) Leonids 5.9 Sport, 3 pitches5) The Switness 5.10a, 1 pitch6) Parallel Universe 5.10a, 1 pitch7) Center Direct 5.10a, Sport 1 pitch8) Crackamite 5.10d, Trad 1 pitch9) Line of Fire 5.11a, Sport 1 pitch10) The Commander 5.12a, Sport, 5 pitches

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From highway 67 - take Mapleview Street, to El Monte Road. Continue on El Monte Road approximately 5.5 miles passing the El Monte County Park along the way. Park along the river side of the road near the gate to the El Capitan Reservoir. Follow the trail from the North side of the river basin to the Wall's base.

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El Cajon Mountain

Wildcat Canyon Rd
Ramona, CA, 90265
32.981466, -116.831619

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