A hiking trail to consider in San Diego County is the Iron Mountain/Ellie Lane Trail in Poway, CA. The trail head is located on the east side of Highway 67 and Poway Road. There is a small gravel parking area with restrooms available.
This trail offers a challenging hike amongst the diverse beauty of a mountain trail. The “typical” trail to the top of Iron Mountain is the most popular route to take, and offers great scenery, a strong workout, and a very doable hike with the reward at the summit of an amazing view of our County.
However, a hybrid hike that can add some diversion and spice from the main trail is the Ellie Lane Trail. To access this part of the hike, which is roughly 1.25 miles from the start of the Iron Mountain trail-head, you will come to large signboard directing you to the various trails that branch off of the main Iron Mountain trail.
The Ellie Lane Trail winds to the left of the sign board and steadily ascends from here leading you through a trail of low lying dessert chaparral. The duration of this hike is well marked with “Ellie Lane Trail” signs posts, which will guide your route. The beauty of hiking this part of the trail are the views which stretch out in front of you both near and distant.
Another bonus to branching off onto this trail is the much more rugged aspects offered. The Ellie Lane trail lives up to the definition of rugged as its, broken, rocky, and uneven surface adds to the surrounding beauty and the “roller coaster” terrain offers a workout that of a hike double in distance. However, this section of the trail system is very doable, and while a strenuous physical challenge, you will be absorbed by the peace and quiet that this hike offers. In fact on this particular afternoon, only 6 other hikers chose this part of what Iron Mountain has to offer.
After, making the initial ascent onto the Ellie Lane Trail and winding around the dips, climbs and twists of this trail you will come to a Eucalyptus grove which not only adds a distinct change in topography but signifies that you have descended to the home stretch segment to the trail and have a little less than a mile to Hwy 67.
As you hear the road noise in the near distance and the sight of Iron Mountain off to the left start making your way south towards the initial trailhead start of Iron Mountain. There are no trail identifiers but you will see a sign marked for a horse trail and road which is the best path to take and one that will lead you to the Iron Mountain Trailhead start. At trails end I was surprised to read that my GPS indicated a total distance hiked of 4.2 miles. This hike has a much bigger hike feel to it due to the ruggedness of territory at certain areas along the way as well as the numerous ascents and descents the Ellie Lane Trail presents. Besides that route I have talked of here, you can also start the Ellie Lane Trail at the Ellie Lane Trail Staging area, which is on the east side of Highway 67 approximately 0.7 miles north of the Highway 67/Poway Road junction.
Iron Mountain is one of my favorite hikes in the county for numerous reasons, chief amomg them being the added options of trails you can create and blend together depending your “hiking mood” that day.
Distance: 4.2 miles
Date and Time: Monday January 6. 2013 10:30AM-1:10PM
Tempature: 58 degrees
Hikeability: Moderate to Strenuous
Water & Food: 50oz water, oranges and snack bars