Best Big Laguna Trail Horseback Riding

The 45th most popular equestrian trail in California.

  San Diego, California, US


  July 22, 2016

East of San Diego and El Cajon in the scenic Laguna Mountains, the Big Laguna Trail is a 4 mile one-way route open to horseback riders.

To reach the trailhead from San Diego, head east on US8 past El Cajon. Exit north onto Sunrise Scenic Byway (FS 1) for 14 miles. There are two access points: the Laguna Campground and the Penny Pines trailhead at milepost 27.3

The Big Laguna Trail offers a pleasant ride through mountain meadows dotted with pines and large boulders where you can take in the view of Big Laguna Lake, a favorite watering hole for local furry, feathered and four-legged residents.

From Laguna Campground: at about 0.5 mi of wooded trail, you enter the meadow through a second pass-through, then bend into an adjacent meadow containing Big Laguna Lake. Carpets of wildflowers appear in the meadows in spring and early summer. The trail continues N with access to the Sunset Trail, Noble Canyon Trail, and Sunrise Highway (at the Penny Pines parking area). If you turn left (east) at the second pass- through, the trail follows the edge of the woods for a mile or so, then swings N through wooded sections, crosses Los Huecos Road, then Sunrise Highway (mile marker 25.3) north of the Laguna Mountain Fire Station, and ends at the Pacific Crest Trail.

From Penny Pines trailhead: Hike W on the Noble Canyon Trail for 0.1 miles, then take a sharp left (south) at the intersection marked Big Laguna Trail. After less than a mile of wooded terrain, the trail opens into Laguna Meadows. Follow the BLT about another 3 miles to Laguna Campground.

Overall, Big Laguna Trail is the 45th most popular horse trail of all 81 horseback rides in California. Several of the better horse trails are nearby Big Laguna Trail including Daley Ranch, Noble Canyon Loop, Horsethief Trailhead, Boulder Oaks, Pioneer Mail Trailhead and Penny Pine Trailhead.

Local Contacts:  Cleveland National Forest (619) 445-6235; California Tourism (916) 444-4429.

Best Season:  Any

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Alpine Inn, Alpine (619) 445-5172

Luxury Loding:  First Resort Ranch (800) 548-3664

GPS:  32.8873, -116.4473

Date Published:  5/19/2016

Date Updated:  7/22/2016

ID:  15829

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