Hollenbeck Canyon Trail is outside of Jamal, CA, about 30 minutes from San Diego. This was our first time out in this direction. It felt very much like you were in the country; old west feeling.
This was the longest and hottest hike we have attempted to-date. This hike is a 6 mile loop and oh boy was it hot (92)!! This was also the least populated hike we have been on so far. We only passed people when starting and ending the hike. Two of the groups we passed were carrying guns, which made me feel a little uneasy. We passed no one on the majority of the hike.
Apparently in the wetter season (is there a wet season?) there are creeks you might cross, but this was not the case at all. The stream was still running though. What there was, were huge, luckily dead, tarantulas!!! On the positive, still no snakes dead or alive, YAY!! The trail is wide and dirt, it’s more of a road than a trail, and horses are allowed. Despite it being more of a road, this felt more in the “wild” than our prior hikes to me. It was devoid of car or people noise, you could hear the wind whipping through the grass, desolate.
The landscape is mix between trees and open grassland. There is not a huge elevation gain, but you do make a fairly good climb about a third of the way in, if you start on the right-hand side of the loop. I feel like if you started on the left-hand side, the climb would have been more gradual. Overall, the most challenging thing about the hike was the distance and heat.
I’m glad we tried it, but I enjoyed our other hikes more. I like loops because it’s not the same in and out, but I kind of like when you have that destination point at the top of climbs. I missed that on this hike, I felt a bit “are we there yet”. I think this one might be better in a different season.
- Sunscreen!! While there are trees, not very much of the road is shaded.
- Bring a hat. I was so glad I had one. It really helped with the sun and feeling like I was being cooked.
- TONS of water, luckily we brought 3 liters and 2 16oz bottles.
- Good shoes.
- Parking is free for the trail.