North Fortuna Mountain

At the end of May, Shuwen and I hiked North Fortuna Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park. It was an unexpectedly cool day of an unexpectedly cool month – otherwise we wouldn’t have hiked it that late in the year with Toni, who does not appreciate warm temperatures anymore at all now that she’s 15 years old.

With “late in the year” I mean not only temperature- but also vegetation-wise. The hills were turning pretty brown already due to the dry winter, but for San Diego County’s inland areas, this isn’t all that unusual of course.

We didn’t start exactly early, but reached the summit before 10am (it’s not really a long hike) and it was tempting to “bag” the summit of South Fortuna Mountain at that time as well, but as we descended from the north summit back to the Fortuna saddle the marine layer began to burn off, and it warmed up considerably then.

Due to the time of the year and the weather, it wasn’t a hike filled with many photographic opportunities, but the view of a looming El Cajon Mountain in the distance, capped by marine stratus, did make me raise the camera and make a photo:

El Cajon Mountain from North Fortuna Summit, Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego.
El Cajon Mountain from North Fortuna Summit, Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego.

The Hike

We started at the Old Mission Dam site, crossed the San Diego River and continued on the Oak Canyon Trail. After about a mile we turned left onto the sometimes steep trail to the Fortuna saddle. At the saddle we turned right and continued – less steep now – uphill to the summit of North Fortuna Mountain. Mission Trails is always a popular destination and this day was no exception – many other hikers joined us on the trail and at the summit proper it got a little bit congested even.

Distance out and back was 4.5 miles, with 990 feet ascent. On the San Diego Sierra Club’s 100 Peaks list, North Fortuna Mountain is peak number 91. My own archive of list hikes is here: 100 Peaks. If I’d repeat this hike I would definitely do it much earlier in the year, probably in early to mid March, and then include the summit of South Fortuna as well.


If you would like to use any of these photos, for whatever purpose (commercial or personal), you MUST obtain a license and/or written permission from me. Please read my page about image usage.  Thanks.

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