Hungry to get outside or challenge yourself in 2019? Here are seven different hiking challenges across Southern California from San Diego to Los Angeles. Try these hiking challenges in 2019 to inspire yourself to get outside and get active.
Seven 2019 Southern California Hiking Challenges
1. The Southern California Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge
Of the most notable hiking challenges in the Southern California region is the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge. This challenge has been going on for several years. It encompasses hiking some of Southern California’s most difficult hikes and originally was created as a training regimen for the John Muir Trail. The challenge includes some of Southern California’s most notable peaks: Mount Wilson, Cucamonga Peak, Mount Baldy, San Jacinto Peak, San Bernardino Peak, and the tallest peak in Southern California, San Gorgonio.
The current challenge for 2019 has six additional peaks that people can choose from to choose as alternatives to the original ones above like, Mount Baden-Powell. I personally think that this is a great challenge. The trails are tough but the views are phenomenal. Completing this challenge made me feel like an accomplished hiker. Many people still believe that the original six peaks are still the best to accomplish. Others have taken it on themselves complete the original six as well as well as the alternates making it a twelve peak challenge.
Taking the challenge is free. However, they do have three different levels of registration kits ranging in price from $30 to $75 that include training tips, peak reports, a patch, stickers, and a t-shirt. For more information, check out the Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge.
2. The 52 Hike Challenge
Also popular like the Six Pack of Peaks is the 52 Hike Challenge. This challenge has been going on for a few years and is a very straight forward challenge: complete 52 hikes within the year. The hikes can be of any distance or level of difficulty as long as they are 52 hikes in a year. Throughout the year it turns out to be one hike a week.
Like the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge, the 52 Hike Challenge is free but they also have registration kits. The kits range from $11.95 to $79 in price and include patches, stickers, a medal, and other perks. For more information, check out The 52 Hike Challenge.
3. The Mission Trails Regional Park 5 Peak Challenge
Heading down south to San Diego is the Mission Trails Regional Park 5 Peak Challenge. Mission Trails is the largest municipal park in California and the sixth largest in the entire United States. The park lies in the heart of San Diego and has about sixty-five miles of trails. The park has a series of peaks with the tallest of those being Cowles Mountain at 1,593 feet. There are also four other notable peaks: Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay Peak, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna.
With these five peaks, the park headquarters created a 5 Peak Challenge. Individually the trails range from mild to moderate and the most difficult ones take about a few hours to complete. The time frame to complete the challenge is one year. However, many people have ambitiously created a route that can have all peaks completed in one day. Through this route the challenge takes on a whole new meaning. Most ambitious hikers aspire to complete the challenge in a day. If you don’t, don’t let that take anything away from you. Completing the challenge in a day is rather difficult and has a total distance of nearly twenty miles in one day. For 2019, one of my hiking goals is to complete the 5 peak challenge within one day.
To complete the challenge, take a selfie at the top of each peak and submit it via email to the Mission Trails Regional Park. After about one week the park will issue a certificate of completion and a logo pin. The certificate and pin can be picked up at the park’s visitor center between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
4. The Tartigrade Tough 8 Challenge
This is an un-official challenge that ran for the duration of 2018 and has since been discontinued according to the creators. However, I still wanted to include this on a list of 2019 Southern California Hiking Challenges. This challenge was called the Tartigrade Tough 8 Challenge. This challenge was started by The Resiliant Squad and is an eight peak challenge in San Diego County.
The peaks include eight of the toughest popular hikes in the county: Iron Mountain, Three Sisters Falls, Corte Madera, Cuyamaca Peak, Monserate Mountain, Potato Chip Rock, El Cajon Mountain, and the Five Peak Challenge in one day as mentioned above. The peaks can be hiked in any order. Since the challenge has been discontinued, the only thing you’ll gain out of this challenge is pride and the personal satisfaction from hiking eight of San Diego’s toughest and popular trails.
5. The Coast To Crest Trail Challenge
One of the last San Diego hiking challenges is the Coast to Crest Challenge put on by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. The challenge actually runs through July 1st, 2018 to June 30th 2019. Check with the Conservancy’s webpage for more information. There are designated spots on each trail where a selfie can be taken. The selfies can be submitted to the Conservancy’s email. Anyone who completes the challenge will receive a special certificate, a sticker and decal, REI and Adventure 16 Coupons, and a patch from, Hike San Diego.
6. The Three T’s Trail and ECBO
For those looking for a couple of other challenging hikes closer to the Los Angeles and Riverside area, there are a couple of options. The Three T’s Trail and the ECBO hike: Etiwanda Peak, Cucamonga Peak, Bighorn Peak, and Ontario Peak. These two trails aren’t a series of challenges but rather a couple of tough and challenging trails that encompass a few peaks in one trail. Both trails are located in the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The Three T’s Trail includes three different peaks: Timber, Telegraph, and Thunder Mountain. The trail has an elevation gain of over five thousand feet and is approximately fourteen miles long. Beginning at the Icehouse Canyon Trailhead, the trail heads east before taking a sharp turn to the left. As the trail heads north you’ll be able to access three different peaks each with outstanding views of the surrounding desert and Los Angeles basin.
The ECBO trail begins at the same trailhead and instead of going sharp left, the trail takes a turn to the right. From here the trail will take you across Etiwanda Peak, Cucamonga Peak, Bighorn Peak, and Ontario Peak. Cucamonga and Ontario Peaks are both part of the Southern California Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge. This trail is much more difficult than the Three T’s. There is an approximate elevation gain of over six thousand feet and a total distance of nearly seventeen miles.
ECBO and Three T’s Trail Permits
Both of these trails are located within the Cucamonga Wilderness and are managed by the San Bernardino and Angeles National Forests. The managing agencies require that an Adventure Pass be purchased for parking. An America The Beautiful Pass will also work. Permits are required for all hikers going through this wilderness. Permits are free. There is a small booth at the trailhead with permits to fill out on a carbon paper slip. Keep a copy for yourself at all times. Permits can also be picked up from the Mount Baldy Visitor Center which is along the drive up to the trailhead. About two miles up from the trailhead is a saddle which is a popular spot for campers who are in this area.
That sums it up for hiking challenges in Southern California. If there are any I have not heard about, mention them in the comments below. What 2019 hiking challenges are you planning on taking?