USE AT YOUR OWN RISK
Location: San Diego County, 13 miles southeast of Temecula, 112 miles from Los Angeles
|Auto Club||San Diego County|
|Forest Service||Cleveland National Forest|
|USGS Topos||Vail Lake 7½, Boucher Hill 7½, Aguanga 7½|
|Official HPS Maps
||TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!|
| ||Viewable PDF file - Approximately 2.5 megs|
| ||GPX file or Google Earth KML file to
download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)|
| ||Routes as shown on
CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)|
(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
- Distance: 18 miles round trip on trail, road, and cross-country
- Gain: 4200' total, 2700' out plus 1500' on return
- Time: 9-10 hours round trip
- Rating: Class 1, strenuous
- Navigation: Intermediate
- Leader Rating: "I", normal conditions
Original: Alan Coles, 1986
DRIVING ROUTE 1
- Take I-15 south to Temecula.
- Take the South SR 79 exit. This is the second of two SR 79
exits. It says 79 South. Please make sure you have enough gas. There
are plenty of gas stations along SR 79 for the 2 miles or so.
- Continue south on SR 79 to Aguanga (junction with SR 371).
This is about 18.2 miles east of Temecula.
- Continue southeast on SR 79 for 0.4 mile to Palomar Divide
Truck Trail on the right. There is now a sign that says
Rancho California RV Resort. The road is labeled 8S05.
Turn right on to this road. Note your odometer and go as follows:
- At 0.4 mile, fork with a dirt road (Palomar Divide Truck Trail). Go left.
- At 3.1 miles, seasonal gate.
- At 5.4 miles, saddle with parking space for several cars and the
(signed) Cutca Valley trailhead. Park here.
HIKING ROUTE 1
- From the parking area (3794'), hike about 0.6 mile down the Cutca
Valley Trail (1E01) into Cottonwood Canyon. Cross a stream.
- About a mile
from the trailhead, the trail reaches a small saddle and becomes a road.
The road continues across Section 16 and into the southern part of Section
17, staying between 3400' and 3600'. It joins the Cutca Truck Trail
at the boundary of Section 17 at a sign "Cutca Truck Trail" and "2.3
Section 16". (This is about 2 hours at a moderate pace from the parking
- Turn right (north) on the road, cross a stream after about 50
meters, then continue about a mile, where there is a sign "Trail"
on the left. The trail is shown on the topo.
- Turn left and follow this
trail up a canyon and into the Aqua Tibia Wilderness, past a saddle at
4200', and to a junction with the Palomar Divide Truck Trail (2W01) at
- Turn right (west) and follow the road about 300 meters to an
obvious gully on the left.
- The gully may have a duck; if not, please place
one. Leave the road here and go up the gully staying in trees to the left
as much as possible to avoid brush. Continue up to where the gully
divides, and take the right (west) fork or the center ridge staying
above and close to the right fork, finding the most open path
possible, to the top of the ridge where a long clearing (old firebreak)
through manzanita leads to a saddle, then work your way through thick
manzanita to the summit. The register can is located on the rocks just
south of the high point.
- Note: Eagle Crag is not the highest point on the ridge.
The gate at 3.1 miles from SR 79 is a "red gate", meaning that
it is open except for major problems such as a washout. For information
about this gate, contact the Forest Service
Station at Oak Grove at: (951) 767-9144.
Driving this road is not advisable when wet, due to the adobe surface,
which turns to a slippery quagmire, together with the slope of the
roadbed toward the canyon.
There is a lot of poison oak. Also, seasonal tick blooms have been observed in the area. Light-colored
clothing and frequent inspections are recommended.