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Volcan Mountain (5353')

20 October 2001

By: Joe Young


Twenty-six (26) participated on a hike to Volcan Mountain, elevation 5353', located a couple of miles north of Julian, California. The group was escorted by a docent from the Volcan Mountain Preserve Foundation and by a Park Ranger from the San Diego County Parks Department.

Hundred Peaks Section members Stag Brown, Nami Brown, Reina Lee Brown and Joe Young participated on the hike.

Volcan Mountain Preserve is the creation of parties interested in preserving and protecting the open spaces north of Julian. Thousands of acres have been purchased by the Foundation using a variety of funding sources, including California Parks bonds, conservancy funds, and others.

To get to the trail head from Julian, go north from town on Farmer Road about 2.2 miles. Turn right on Wynola Road for about 100 yards, then turn left, back onto the continuation of Farmer Road. Proceed 100 yards more and park on the shoulder of the paved road by the preserve sign on the right. Elevation at the trail head is approximatly 4120'. One can also drive on Wynola Road, starting either east or west of Julian, and turn at Farmer Road.

The trail begins at a large gateway constructed of wood, steel and rock. The large, wooden opening in a "V" shape includes carvings of animals which inhabit the local area. Tall, metal poles are festooned with Indian depictions of the natural elements of earth, wind and sky. I know of no other trail head to any peak quite like this one.

The group began its hike at about 9:45 AM, and stopped frequently as the Foundation docent provided floral, faunal and geological information as well as historical (Indian) information. The hike was on a good trail - actually an abandoned road - with occasional welcome shade on this warm day. Fall colors added to our enjoyment. After a mile or so we stopped at a locked gate where the Park Ranger produced a key to allow passage beyond this point. We then proceeded to the summit where we enjoyed views of Cuyamaca Peak, Stonewall Peak, Granite Mountain, Whale Mountain, San Ysidro Peak, Villager Peak, Rabbit Peak, Toro Peak, and other HPS Listed peaks. (Toro used to be Listed, and it could yet again be on the List.) On the summit Nami and Stag had sandwiches and fruits to share with others, as usual.

We were back at the cars at about 1:30 PM. We guessed specs for the hike were 1300' gain and about 4 miles round trip.

The good news is that the summit and its approach are entirely on the Preserve property. The bad news is that the summit area is being evaluated by San Diego County for archaeological, botanical, historical etc significance. This means that the general public cannot hike on their own to the summit; they must be escorted by a docent. The "escorts" today had no idea when the County's evaluation would be concluded. Because of this restriction, any recommendation to the HPS - at least on my part - that this deserving peak be considered for an exploratory hike, must be postponed to another day.

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