South Clevenger Canyon is a short and light to moderately trafficked trail near Ramona, California that features chaparral hills and views of the San Diego County canyons. The most popular thing about this trail is the two iconic metal chairs at the top of the peak that look to the west. This is a great spot to enjoy one of the many beautiful San Diego sunsets and the view of San Pasqual Valley.
South Clevenger Canyon Trail
South Clevenger Canyon is located right near the border of Escondido and Ramona in Southern California. The trail is a fairly short and simple trail up through some rolling hills covered in chaparral. The elevation, views, and difficulty of this hike are nothing to be impressed with. However, what this trail is known for is the two metal chairs that lie on top of the peak of 1,740 feet. If a person (or couple) is lucky enough, they can have this trail to themselves and enjoy sitting in the chairs to enjoy a San Diego sunset. I highly recommend going during sunrise or sunset and bringing a cold beer.
South Clevenger Canyon is part of the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department. They manage a series of trails within this area. Aside from the trails and skyline, I really don’t think there is much to look at. The chairs are a novelty item. As for the surrounding area, you can get a view of Clevenger Canyon, San Pasqual Valley, and Palomar Mountain. During wet rain years the spring wildflower bloom on the chaparral could be pretty to look at.
I’ll be honest with you, I thought the trail was pretty uneventful that offered very little to look at. My favorite part of the trail was reaching the top South Clevenger Canyon and having a photo op in the chairs with my fiancé. We both wished we had a beer or glass of wine for the stroll back down.
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- Overall Difficulty: 30% 30%
- Overall Views: 35% 35%
South Clevenger Canyon Trail Quick Facts:
- Elevation: 1,740 feet.
- Elevation Gain: 1,142 feet.
- Estimated Distance: 4 miles.
- My Actual Distance: 4 miles.
- Estimated Time: 1.5-3 hours.
- My Time: 1:44 hours.
South Clevenger Canyon Trail Directions:
Open in maps. The trailhead to South Clevenger Canyon Trail is relatively simple to find. It’s located off Highway 78 (San Pasqual Valley Road). There is a small parking lot that is gated with a sign that reads open from sunrise to sunset. If the gate is closed, there is a small dirt parking lot right next to the gated lot that is big enough for a few cars. According to the city website, park closures follow the San Diego City holiday schedule. For a full list of park closures follow up with the city’s website.
South Clevenger Canyon Trail Pictures:
South Clevenger Canyon Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: This is an incredibly easy hike and perfect for beginners. The trails elevation gain is pretty steady but there are only a handful of switchbacks within the first half a mile or so. After the climb, enjoy the view at the top by taking a load off your feet in the chairs.
Advanced Hikers: I’m not going to lie, the scenery is fairly typical of Southern California valleys and not that spectacular. The terrain isn’t that much of a challenge either. With that being said, the chairs are a nice novelty and I would highly recommend the trail for that itself and if you’re looking to try a different San Diego County hike.
Expert Hikers: Enjoy the chairs at the top.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.
Best Time Of Year To Hike South Clevenger Canyon:
This hike is doable year round. After the winter rains bring some relief to the parched Southern California soil the surrounding hillsides will probably be a lot prettier to look at once they develop some greenery. If it’s a decent rain year, the chaparral and wildflower blooms will be nice to look at and attract some hummingbirds.
Keep an eye on the weather for the hot summer days and hot Santa Ana conditions. The trail is completely exposed and daylight hours could be quite miserable. If the temperatures permit, mornings would probably be the best during hot summer days and evenings would be nice to catch the sunset. Summer days could always bring with them an occasional thunderstorm in the late afternoon hours.
South Clevenger Canyon Trail Conditions:
South Clevenger Canyon Trail is very will maintained. The majority of the trail is made up of a steady dirt incline with some large granite rocks here and there. The first half a mile or so does contain some switchbacks but they’re very mild. Like most valley trails in Southern California, South Clevenger Canyon trail offers no shade from the sun.
There is a tiny portion of the trail which runs through a small canyon lined with Oak trees where you should keep your eyes open for Poison Oak. This is prime rattlesnake habitat so also keep your eyes peeled for them as well.