Foster Point is a short and easily accessible hiking trail in the mountains east of San DIego. The hike offers stunning views of the Anza-Borrego Desert, Southern California peaks, and the surrounding Mount Laguna area.   

Foster Point Trail

If one is looking for short trails with rewarding views, Foster Point in Mount Laguna is a perfect option. This short trail takes hikers out of the shaded forests of Mount Laguna to a viewpoint that looks out onto Anza-Borrego Desert. At this spot hikers will notice the transition from a Mediterranean mountainous climate to the western Sonoran Desert. Immediately to the northwest of Foster Point sits Garnet Peak, another popular hike in the area. This hike can also be paired with Monument Peak wish lies a couple miles to the southeast. This peak will be clearly marked with numerous antennas and a radar station.    

This specific area is managed by the Cleveland National Forest. Therefore an Adventure Pass or an America The Beautiful Pass are required. Foster Point is just a short distance off the popularized Pacific Crest Trail. The point offers impeccable views of a canyon which descends a couple thousand feet below and out into the Anza-Borrego Desert. A peak finder installed by the Sierra Club points out over a dozen prominent Southern California mountains which are view-able from here including Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, Stonewall Peak, San Gorgonio Mountain, and San Jacinto Mountain.

On A Personal Note:

I really do love the view from Foster Point. On a clear day the Salton Sea can distinctly be made out as well as the the prominent peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. What’s interesting to me is the how visible the battle between the desert and coastal climates are. In the span of a few hundred hards forests give way to low lying manzanita parched from the dry desert air below. For a longer hike, I recommend coupling this with some other trails in the area like Monument Peak or completing a full eight mile loop that travels past the Little Laguna Lake.   

Have you recently done this trail? Please share any updates to the trail conditions or post recent pictures in the comments below.

  • Overall Difficulty: 25% 25%
  • Overall Views: 90% 90%
Foster Point Trail Quick Facts :
  • Elevation: 5628 feet.
  • Elevation Gain: 75 feet.
  • Estimated Distance: 1.3 miles.
  • My Distance: 1.39
  • Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes.
  • My Time: 55 minutes total; 36 minutes moving.  
Foster Point Trail Directions:
Open in maps. Trail access is very simple and off the Sunrise Highway. There is a small dirt off road area to park. This area is managed by the Cleveland National Forest so an Adventure Pass or  America The Beautiful Pass is required to avoid a ticket. There are occasional snow conditions during the winter along this highway. Please check with the local authorities if you suspect snow in the area to avoid closures or check chain requirements.
Foster Point Trail Pictures:
Who Foster Point Loop Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: This is a great trail for novice hikers. The trail is flat, with very little elevation gain, exposes hikers to different climates, and offers stunning views of different Southern California Peaks and the desert basin. 

Advanced Hikers: It’s a bit short to feel like any sort of work was done. My suggestion is to explore several other short trails in the area such as Garnet Peak. Other options include the Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail.  

Expert Hikers: For expert hikers, Foster Point makes a nice addition to hiking the Mount Laguna or San Diego portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. 

It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.

Best Time Of Year To Hike Foster Point Trail:
The summer months can be hot and unbearable at times. The best bet is to hit the trail early during the summer or check for the cooler days. Monsoonal moisture during the summer can bring the threat of thunderstorms with lightning. If you hear thunder or see lightning, seek shelter immediately. Winter conditions with snow can occur during occasional winter days. Aside from the hot summer months and occasional snowy conditions, most of the year is a nice time to hike this area. Spring is popular for wild flower blooms, and lots of green budding plants. Fall days can be beautiful as well. The fall can bring Santa Ana conditions with high winds. 

It’s always a good idea to check the weather before heading out.

Foster Point Trail Conditions:
The trail begins as an old jeep trail that is clearly marked and not overgrown. This old road continues until it intersects with the PCT. The PCT will be followed for a very brief section before making a distinct right. From here the trail heads to the northeast and terminates before a canyon that overlooks. Please be alert for rattlesnakes in this region. Most places along this trail are not the right growing conditions for poison oak. There is little shade along the trail. Most of the shade if any will be directly near the parking lot. Burn scars from previous fires are still pretty evident in this area.