Dos Picos County Park
- Location: Southwest of Ramona, San Diego County. From Poway, take Highway 67 north to Mussey Grade Road (8.6 miles north of the intersection with Poway Road). Make a hard right and follow Mussey Grade Road for 1.1 miles. Bear right onto Dos Picos Park Road and follow it 0.6 miles to the signed day use area on the left side of the road. From Ramona, take Highway 67 southwest to Mussey Grade Road (3.5 miles from the junction with Highway 78). Bear left onto Mussey Grade, follow it 1.1 miles to Dos Picos Park Road and bear right. Follow it 0.6 miles to the day use entrance. Park in the second, larger lot near the picnic area. Parking is $3 per vehicle (cash or check, no change given).
- Agency: San Diego County Parks & Recreation
- Distance: 1.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 150 feet
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 45 minutes
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: San Vicente Reservoir
- More information: Trip description here; Pinterest board here; Yelp page here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 4
Located on the outskirts of Ramona, where the coastal foothills start to give way to the bigger inland mountain ranges, 78-acre Dos Picos County Park is best known as a camping destination. However, local day hikers will enjoy the loop described below, one of several possible routes to take using the nature trail and service roads of the park. Highlights include mountain views, oak woodlands and a small pond.
From the picnic area #2 by the second and larger lot in the day use area, cross the stream bed to the nature trail. (As of this writing, the wooden footbridge crossing the stream bed is closed, but since there is no water, walking across is no problem. If the water level is higher, check with the park to see if the bridge is open or seek an alternate route.) Bear left onto the trail and follow it to a small pond. Pick up the trail on the south side of the pond and follow it to a 4-way intersection. A hard right brings you down into a thick grove of oaks and then to a meadow at the southern boundary of the park. Follow a gravel service road uphill a short distance to a junction with the Ernie Pantoja Memorial Nature Trail (0.4 miles from the start).
The trail climbs uphill, taking in some nice views of Mt. Woodson and the Ramona. It passes another branch that heads back down into the park, continuing to climb before dropping into a glen. At 0.9 miles, you reach the west end of the trail, near the campsites. Turn right and follow the paved road back toward picnic area #3 and the day use parking lot.
Text and photography copyright 2015 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.