Mission Trails : Oak Canyon Trail

The more I adventure in Mission Trails the more I realize how expansive it is! I’ve been biking in Mission Trails since I moved to San Diego, but recently I’ve dicovered there are endless trails to hike. This last week a couple of my friends (Erika and Keri) and myself wanted to explore a new trail. I have a little love affair with Mission Trails so I usually look there first. This time I found a new trail that I’ve never check out, Oak Canyon Trail.


The trail begins at the Old MIssion Dam. The Dam itself is worth checking out if you’re not in the mood for a hike. unfortunately the map we were following told us to park about a mile back on the main road, we parked by a different trail head that I’ll explain more in detail later…

Above is the view of the walk we took from our car to the actual trail (not a bad view)! But if you don’t feel like walking an extra mile from the previous parking spot I suggest parking in the Old Mission Dam parking lot, or along the road.  There are plenty of parking spots and a bathroom (we ended up parking here because Erika (bless her) ran all the way back to the car and drove it to this spot).

This hike hits you with a bang right from the start. The Dam is beautiful and the sound or rushing water is so tranquil.

Some people crossed the dam which I wish we would have done, it was actually a short cut to where we hiked to! Back to the trail, it starts off with a nice wide designated trail with markers along the way that told about the wildlife in the area and the history on the Dam itself. This part was actually pretty interesting.

Not too far into the hike there is a bridge that you get to cross. Below the bridge was rushing water, and greenery all around. We took a moment here and took some photos and took in the scenery.

After crossing the bridge you go up a little hill and it opens up to a huge meadow. The meadow was beautiful and was about a mile loop. There was some workers doing some sort of nature research in the meadow (we never figured out what they were doing). Once we got about half way around the loop we realized how we wanted a little bit more challenging of a hike and took a little shortcut back to the Dam.

The path that we took back to the Dam had a beautiful overlooking spot with a bench. It created a serene spot to look at the Dam.

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The view

Now the spot that we originally parked was at the beginning of a different trail. This trail looked like it went directly up the mountain (surprise it did!) and we thought it would challenge us a little more. So we drove back to this spot, regrouped, and reapplied our sunscreen.

It might be a little hard to read, but the sign states that the difficulty level is “Difficult”..great…we did ask for something to challenge us!

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The start

This is the start of the trail. I’m still waiting for some sort of camera that can really capture depth perspective and elevation better. This photo and the ones to follow do not look nearly as steep as this trail was.

Side Note: This trail is called “Climbers Loop North Trail” 

So we started this climb all warmed up from our starter hike which was a good thing because this trail did not let up for one min. The whole this is one giant climb with a few switchbacks thrown in.

We look pretty happy dont we!? surprisingly enough we had a blast the whole time. There’s something about pushing yourself that is so gratifying and fun. Also having these awesome and funny girls makes for a pretty fun climb.

Once we reached the top, the climb felt worth it. We had paid our dues to the mountain and the reward was beyond what I expected. The views were out of this world! The wind was blowing and the air was so fresh that is was hard not to pinch myself. We stayed up here for quite a while. Luckily we had some snacks and water to replenish ourselves.

After chilling here for a while we noticed that the trail actually went on a little higher. There were little rings in the mountain for people to rock climb up the rest of the mountain. We attempted to get closer, but without rock climbing gear we were going to make it any further. But we tried…

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This hike was a ton of fun! It pushed us physically a little, but was well worth it. Going down the trail might have almost been harder. We slipped a couple of times coming down the steep pebble parts (luckily no one got hurt). All in all I would do Climbers loop North Trail before doing Oak Canyon trail. They both offer beautiful landscapes, but if you want a little bit of a challenge try out climbers loop!

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