Mount Laguna is an excellent destination for nature lovers, those who treasure the beauty of local mountains, due to its elevated scenic landscape. Approximately 6000 feet above the sea, it is located in the forest of Jeffrey pine, east of San Diego in the Laguna Mountain and on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest.
Mount Laguna sits at the high point of a scenic drive on Sunrise Highway with the Laguna Mountain area surrounding it. Due to its altitude, it receives a significantly high amount of snowfall during winter months- the highest in all of San Diego. It promises fun activities for nature enthusiasts all year round, whether as a quiet getaway from life’s demands or as a way to quench the adventurous spirit.
The Lagunas form part of the Peninsular Range of mountains spreading from the Los Angeles Basin to deep in the Baja California Peninsular. Their spectacular placement earned it the geographical spine of San Diego separating the western inland and coastal areas from the eastern desert. Additionally, the impressive Anza-Borrego Desert is visible from the Desert Overlook off Sunrise Highway.
Referred as a small census-designated town, it strategically lies along the entrance of the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Campo near the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Due to this, it is the hikers’ favorite spot for rest and rejuvenation before they embark on the next course of the demanding excursion.
Here's a quick rundown of our list:
Reason 1: Sledding
Mount Laguna enjoys frosty blankets of snow when it rains due to its 6000 feet altitude. This snowfall makes it a preferred destination during winter due to the myriad of fun recreational activities. It has become the popular go-to place for local families and tourists alike due to the number of sledding spots off Sunrise Highway. Some of the preferred sites are Laguna Mountain Lodge and Store, Laguna Recreation Area, and Laguna Campgrounds.
For $5, you earn yourself Mount Laguna’s ‘adventure permit’ granting you access and direction to the best sledding areas in the region. Sledding is however, restricted to public places only, trespassing private property; however, appalling it may appear is highly discouraged.
Reason 2: Snowshoeing
At 6000 feet above sea level, Mount Laguna has become the perfect getaway for snow adventures. The numerous trails in the Laguna Mountain Recreation area offer a vast region for snowshoeing, becoming a winter wonderland when snowfall hits ‘just the right’ height.
The Red Trail Roost Loop is one of the greatest spots to enjoy snowshoeing. Approximately 3.5 miles long, it is a pine-oak forest characterized by impressive views of the nearby Cuyamaca Mountains all through the winter season. In the event you wanted to vary the difficulty of your exploration, you can connect into the Big Laguna Trail system. This link-up not only challenges you further but also enables you to extend you stay in the mountains.
Another alternative is the Wooden Hill Nature Trail 1.4 miles long -a 2 loops trail that has figure-eight arrangement on a dirt forest road. For more views, it is advisable to access it via Sunrise Highway and turning left from the trailhead on Wooden Hill rd. This route enables you to see into Mexico, especially when you are at the top of the boulders.
Reason 3: Stargazing
Mount Laguna is one of San Diego’s towns recognized for its clear nights for stargazing. The absence of lighting coupled with the crisp night air is an excellent combination for night adventures. The Mount Laguna Observatory has been in existence since 1968 for this reason precisely. Since its inception, the observatory hosts occasional public stargazing events that are coordinated by the Mount Laguna Observatory Association.
Operating as part of the Astronomy Department of San Diego State University, the observatory offers visitors the opportunity to view the sparkly dark sky cover through four telescopes- the 21- inches and 50-inches magnifiers. However, should you happen to miss the planned event, there is an alternative route to enjoying Mount Laguna’s astronomical sensations. The US Forest Service’s Laguna Campground offers similar dark twinkling skies, although you have to come fully armed with an amplifier.
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Reason 4: Hiking
Richly endowed with wonderful nature trails, Mount Laguna is a beautiful place to go hiking. Despite the dry climate and the countable tree shades along the trails, Mount Laguna is significantly forested at the Laguna Mountain Recreation area. This tree cover in conjunction with the fresh pine scent from the Los Gatos Ravine and Chico Ravine Trails making the experience refreshing.
Whether you choose the Pacific Crest Trail, the Sunset Trail or the Desert View Trail, you are guaranteed to walk numerous trails making the adventure much more satisfying. For those who prefer going mountain climbing, Mount Laguna is 600 feet above the sea thus offering an excellent choice alongside the Garnet Peak.
Reason 5: Eat Out
Good food combined with good company is always an excellent way to end the day. Mount Laguna has a good number of hangout spots to wine and dine with family and friends. Whether you crave a slowly cooked steak or want generous toppings on your pizza, your desires will be met.
The restaurants and sports bars are designed differently, each giving you a different feel of comfort and promise. The staff is friendly as are the residents, thus the food as well as the conversations that ensue making you long for the next mealtime.
Some of the well-known restaurants are Pine House Café & Tavern, Blue Jay Lodge, Major’s Diner, Frosty Valley Store and Calvins’ Restaurant and Sportsbar. With a population of roughly 57 residents and a vast number of tourists, each restaurant seeks to offer specialized services. It is, therefore, paramount to each restaurant that the quality of their food and services is not compromised.
What do you think?
I would love to hear your comments below – or, text/call me at (760) 297-4539
Your Mount Laguna Insider,
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