STEPS:  13,670 DISTANCE:  6.13 miles   TIME:  3 hours 15 minutes

HIKEABILITY: Moderate strenuous  WATER/FOOD:  I always take 3 liters, I used 1.5 on this 74 degree day. I always take a hard-boiled egg and probar.

DIRECTIONS: Poway Rd and HWY 67   map

A hike I consider one of my go to hikes in our county is Iron Mountain in Poway, CA.  No hike that I do consistently hikes like Iron does.  Even though I know every inch of the trail after hiking Iron a dozen times or so, I still get that great sense of accomplishment when I Peak the summit.  On this day the sky was an incredible blue, the flora and fauna of the area was an emerald green, as is most of the county during our ‘Super Bloom” time in San Diego.  Iron Mountain is considered one of the more popular hikes in the county as there are enough fellow hikers around to make you feel energized, yet it’s not a trail that is ever crowded like other popular trails in the county, ie; Cowles and Torrey Pines.  Iron’s trail is always well marked, well kept, even the recent rains of this winter and with more erosion than Ive seen, the hard packed sandy trail was intact.

I consider Iron a challenging hike that offers enough climb to exercize you, enough distance to stretch you and a gradual ascent that gives you the feel that you are “up there” as you approach the peak.    The trail is easy to follow, at the .5 mile mark you have the option of veering right, as it is marked, or continue straight ahead as most hikers do.  Either way by staying on the trail you will be lead to the same junction point and except for a “right turn” at the directions board, all you need to do at Iron is stay on the trail and it will lead you to the peak.

I can usually get the 3 miles up to the summit in 90 minutes and thats not rushing or dragging my feet, but at a comfortable pace  The view from the summit offers a a nice wide-lens of many of the other peaks in the county, including Iron’s sister Peak, Mt. Woodson to the north, Eagle Peak Julian and Mt. Gower Ramona to the east and Cowles Mountain San Diego to the south.  Looking West you spot Black Mountain and a descent view of the coastline.  San Vincente Reservoir to the south offers a shimmering blue of a lake only adding to the beautiful view from the top.   On this day I spent about 20 minutes taking in the beauty then started back down and the 3 miles back to the trailhead.  As noted in the beginning the 6 miles took me  3 hours 15 minutes to the summit with a 20 minute break at the top.

Always love hiking Iron as this hike never disappoints no matter how many times you hike it…. as always hike with a partner, respect your limits, respect your partners limits take more water than you need, and have fun!