Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Tail is a moderately trafficked trail near Mount Laguna in San Diego County, California. The view offers incredible views of the desert, Salton Sea, Mexico, and the surrounding San Diego Mountains. The trail is also along a portion of the well known, Pacific Crest Trail.

Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail

If you’re looking for hike that traverses the San Diego mountain ranges and overlooks the deserts below, consider hiking Monument Peak and the Foster Point Loop trail. This trail is located in the Mount Laguna area within the Cleveland National Forest. This hike is a loop trail that begins off the Big Laguna trailhead off the Sunrise Highway. The trail leads to the eastern edges of Mount Laguna where there will be expansive views of the Salton Sea and the Sonoran Desert.

From Monument peak, the trail then leads along a portion of the Pacific Crest trail to Foster Point.Foster Point is a rocky outcrop looking down the Laguna Mountains a few thousand feet below. From there the trail leads across Sunrise Highway and into the Laguna campground, Little Laguna Lake, and grassy meadows. Some other notable peaks in the area include, Cuyamaca Peak, Stonewall Peak, and Garnet Peak

On A Personal Note:

This hike is a great trail for experiencing the moderate seasonal weather that San Diego county has. Spring and summer can offer beautiful flowering meadows while winter bring occasional snow hikes. Both Foster Point and Monument Peak are excellent vantage points of the desert and local mountains. 

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

  • Overall Difficulty: 70% 70%
  • Overall Views: 85% 85%
Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail Quick Facts:
  • Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop TrailElevation: 6,299 feet.
  • Elevation Gain: 1,049 feet.
  • Estimated Distance: 8.4 miles.
  • Estimated Time: 4-6 hours.
  • My Time: About 4.5 hours.
Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail Directions:
Open in maps. Access to the trail is pretty simple. To get to the trailhead it will be located on the eastern side of the Sunrise Highway. As you approach, go slow. If you’re traveling fast you might miss the abrupt turnoff. On the side of the highway there is a small dirt round about. There were a few other vehicles parked at the spot so it was easy for me to see. Parking will fit about ten cars depending on how people are parked.

Park in the small dirt parking lot. Some websites state that you need an Adventure Pass to hike here but to my knowledge, it’s not listed on the Cleveland National Forrest website as a place that you’ll need to display the Adventure Pass. For a list of places that require the Adventure Pass in the Cleveland National Forest, please check the United States Forest Service website or call them directly. America The Beautiful passes are also acceptable.

Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail Pictures:
Who Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: For completely novice hikers, trial distance might be the biggest deterent from completing this hike. The good news is that both Monument Peak and Foster Point can be done as smaller out and back hikes if you don’t want to experience the full distance. For novice hikers that want to test their abilities for a longer trail without extensive elevation gain, this is a great trail to do try. 

Advanced Hikers: This is a great trail for hikers under this category. The views are good and the distance is just challenging enough. 

Expert Hikers: This trail pieces togother three significant views: Monument Peak, Foster Point, and the Laguna campground area. The views are great without the elevation that comes along with other trials only suitable for advanced hikers. For a real challenge, try a snoeshoeing adventure during the winter. 

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

Best Time Of Year To Hike Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop 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, green budding plants, and the Little Laguna Lake. Fall days can be beautiful as well. The fall can come Santa Ana conditions with high winds. This is an area where it’s wise to check weather conditions before you go. 

Monument Peak and Foster Point Loop Trail Conditions:

The loop to Monument Peak and Foster Point are very well maintained. The trail starts off sunrise highway and works its way up to Monument Point. The trail doubles back then continues to Foster Point. Both of these sites are popular hiking destinations and get a lot of foot traffic. A significant amount of this trail is also made up of the very popular, Pacific Crest Trail. After Foster Point, the trail loops back across the Sunrise Highway and into the Mount Laguna Recreational Area.

I’m actually not a fan of this portion of the trail because it travels through the campground on a paved road.Once through the campground, the paved road turns back into a dirt trail again and travels through the pine meadows that Mount Laguna is known for. This portion of the trail also gives a nice look to the Little Laguna Lake.

While the meadows are nice, my favorite part of the trail is just up to Foster Point. After that, I’d prefer to turn around and just hike through the Mount Laguna meadows separately. Please be alert for rattlesnakes in this region. Most places along this trail are not the right growing conditions for poison oak.