Fortuna Mountain Hike
LOCATION: Near intersection of Clairemont Mesa Blvd. + Rueda Drive
MAP + INFO: Fortuna Mountain
PARKING: Free lot or street parking near the trailhead
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: Moderate to difficult
APPX. LENGTH OF TIME: 3-4 hours
Mere minutes after exiting one of San Diego’s busiest interstates, you’ll hit the end of one of the city’s busiest surface streets and run into a mountain. Fortuna Mountain, to be specific. From here, you can embark on a six-mile cardio adventure across a bridge, through desert terrain, and up and down two mountains.
Once you hit the Fortuna Mountain hike trailhead, you have two choices—hike counter clockwise following the ‘South’ signs or, if you prefer a less slippery ascent, go with the clock and follow the ‘North’ signs. Your reward for huffing and puffing up 1,700+ feet are sweeping views and a written treasure. Look for the metal ammo boxes at the top of one of the mountains and take a peek inside. You’ll find notes like this one…
“My name is Patrick. In reaching the top, I have decided to go back down. I need to lose 30 pounds so I can’t run up the hill like that dude who flew by. Damn those ultra fit people. OK, that’s all. Oh, and I need a girlfriend.”
Plop down and snoop for awhile. Bring a pen and write your own. After you’re done, sit back and savor the views. If you chose the northern route coming up, stop off for a breather and/or a snack at the picnic table under the oak tree just before the end of the trail.
You can get to the Tierrasanta Staging Area of Mission Trails Regional Park from both Interstate 15 and Route 52. From Interstate 15, exit at Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and head east until you can’t drive anymore, almost 3 miles. From Route 52, exit at Santo Road and head south to Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, turning left and stopping when you hit the parking lot, about 1.5 miles. The Fortuna Mountain hike trailhead is on the east side of the parking lot.