Iron Mountain Trail

It’s definitely been a hot minute since I wrote on the blog, mostly because traveling was out last year as well as the foreseeable future, so there wasn’t much I had to write about since I didn’t go anywhere. I had originally wanted to head out to the hiking trails but even those were being closed down because SO many people were heading out there. Then fire season came along and tore through the mountains in California. It was really unfortunate. But late 2020 I had started back outside and thankfully now I have something to post about!

This past weekend I was invited down to San Diego for an event, but I thought I’d be more productive and add in a hike while I was down there. Since I did Potato Chip Halloween of 2020 (will make a post later about it), I did some research to find another trail that was somewhere between intermediate and difficult to do before my day started and found Iron Mountain Trail. Trail forums noted that it was heavily trafficked and 5 miles roundtrip to the peak and roughly would take 3+ hours to do. I aimed for 2 since I managed to do finish Potato Chip, strenuous at 2 hours and 45 minutes, 7 miles roundtrip.

Roundtrip: 5 miles
Difficulty: Intermediate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,102
Pets: Allowed, but must be leashed
Permit: Not needed

These details were according to online websites, but I always take them with a grain of salt since none of the trails I’ve hiked was ever what it was posted. That being said, I packed a little over 4 liters of water just in case with a few granola bars (six) for snacks. I always try head out to trails around 4AM-5AM to beat the crowds and for easy access parking for trails that are popular. Iron Mountain Trail has its own parking lot, average sized, although will fill up fast. If that happens then you are to park on the street according to my observation. No adventure pass needed. Boyfriend and I ended up arriving about half hour past my planned time at 5:30AM, but luckily it was still early enough that the lot was still relatively empty. There were about 6 other cars when we arrived. The weather was chilly, but we had packed a light jacket for the hike as the weather was predicted to get warmer once the sun was out.

Since I got my Fitbit Versa 2, I like to track my hikes for more accurate distance and elevation data. So I started mine right when we started the trail. It was nice that we had the trail to ourselves, so it was nice and quiet when we did the hike. The incline wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, definitely easier than Potato Chip because within the inclines there were moments where it plateaus for a bit so your legs can rest (from constant climbing). The trail also gets rocky up top so I’d recommend good hiking shoes that has grip. Between taking some time to take photos and reaching the top, it took us an hour and 15 minutes. The summit of Iron Mountain has a few picnic tables and a binoculars (that you have to pay to use via quarters). Luckily, there were only 6 other people at the summit (4 at one picnic table, 2 at the other) so we had the binocular area all to ourselves. We took a snack break and headed back down. The overall hike took us just a little bit past 2 hours. Not too bad and within the allotted time that I was hoping for. Once done, I clocked out from the Fitbit and here’s the data that was shown, and my final thoughts:

Roundtrip: 6 miles
Difficulty: Intermediate, scale of 1 (beginner) – 3 (advanced), 1.5
Elevation Gain: 1,179
Time Done: 2 hours 15 minutes

I trust what this says since Fitbit is attached to Google Maps + the phone’s GPS to track the trail so there’s direct correlation to how far the trail is since it’s also tracking how many steps I’m taking.

I think due to the cooler weather, we didn’t drink that much water. The four liters that we brought, we only drank about 25% of it. But I’d think we would’ve drank more if the weather had been warmer/we started later when the sun was out.

When we headed back down the trail definitely got a lot busier. We passed by at least 50+ hikers when we got back to the parking lot at 7:30AM. I highly advise starting early for this trail!

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