I invited my neighbor George and his 4-year old male Golden Retriever named Chief to join me and my female Rottweiler, Seven, for the Memorial Day (May 25, 2015) hike on Dripping Springs Trail, Temecula, California. Seven likes Chief’s company a lot; they hiked together previously in April 2015 on El Cajon Mountain trail in Lakeside (San Diego area). We had an around 13 miles, 2,600’ elevation gain, hike – a great workout for us and the dogs.
I find that this trail suits me well when I want a relaxing and good distance workout hike in a quiet solitude atmosphere, due to its very few (10 or less) hikers on the trail most of the time. The trail surface is often smooth with 13.6 miles (full out and back), 2,800′ (1,600′ – 4,400′) elevation gain.
Topo map is available on this web page http://www.backpacker.com/trips/california/san-diego/san-diego-dripping-springs-trail/trail-facts/
I copy the basic trail information from the National Forest Service’s web site in the following as a reference. The source is on this web page http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/cleveland/recarea/?recid=47536.
In the Agua Tibia Wilderness. Best times of the year to visit are Fall, Winter and Spring – not recommended for summer, carry water. The trail immediately begins to climb out of the campground on a well-graded incline. The next mile contains some climbing leading to a set of switchbacks. A long strenuous climb ensues until the 3200′ elevation is reached. The trail then makes an easy southward traverse of a basin before resuming a climb to the southwest. A ridge ascent leads to another traverse and the crossing of the only potential water along the trail (seasonal). After crossing the drainage, a short set of stacked switchbacks is climbed leading to a climbing traverse to the trail terminus on the northwest ridge of Agua Tibia Mountain. This is the junction with the Palomar-Magee Trail and occurs in a nice oak grove – suitable for camping.
At a Glance
Permit Info: A visitor pass is required for overnight stays in the backcountry.
Restrictions: Campfires are not permitted at any time
Closest Towns: Temecula, CA
Operated By: Forest Service
Directions: From the LA Basin take I-15 south to Highway 79 near Temecula. Take Hwy 79 south 11 miles to Dripping Springs. Turn right and park in Trailhead parking lot. From San Diego take I-15 north to Highway 79. Follow previous instructions. The trail is reached by walking south from the parking lot .5 mile through Dripping Springs Campground.