Lawson Peak Trail

HARD
#8 of 89 trails in Cleveland National Forest
Lawson Peak Trail is a 4.4 mile out and back trail located near Jamul, CA that features a cave and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, and off road driving and is accessible from November until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

4.4 miles 1528 feet Out & Back
dog friendly hiking off road driving rock climbing cave views rocky scramble
Hide Map

Downtown: From Downtown San Diego take G St. to CA-94 E and stay on the highway until it ends and turns into CA-54/Jamacha Rd. Turn right to stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd and keep on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. Stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. for 4.5 mi and then turn right onto Lyons Valley Rd. Keep right to stay onto Lyons Valley Rd. and drive for 1.6 mi and continue onto Skyline Truck Trail and drive for 7.1 mi. Turn left at the stop sign and drive for 2.6 mi. At the mile 13 marker you will see a yellow gate which is the trail head to Lawson Peak. North County: From North County get on I-805 S or I-15 S and merge onto CA-94 E. Stay on the highway until it ends and turns into CA-54/Jamacha Rd. Turn right to stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd and keep on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. Stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. for 4.5 mi and then turn right onto Lyons Valley Rd. Keep right to stay onto Lyons Valley Rd. and drive for 1.6 mi and continue onto Skyline Truck Trail and drive for 7.1 mi. Turn left at the stop sign and drive for 2.6 mi. At the mile 13 marker you will see a yellow gate which is the trail head to Lawson Peak. South County: From South County get on I-805N or I-15 N and merge onto CA-94 E. Stay on the highway until it ends and turns into CA-54/Jamacha Rd. Turn right to stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd and keep on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. Stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. for 4.5 mi and then turn right onto Lyons Valley Rd. Keep right to stay onto Lyons Valley Rd. and drive for 1.6 mi and continue onto Skyline Truck Trail and drive for 7.1 mi. Turn left at the stop sign and drive for 2.6 mi. At the mile 13 marker you will see a yellow gate which is the trail head to Lawson Peak. East County: The easiest route to Lawson Peak from most places in East County is by taking the I-8 W and then taking CA-125 S. Exit right for Spring St. and keep to the outermost left turning lane. Turn left onto Spring St. and then keep right for CA-94 E. Stay on the CA-94 E until it ends and turns into CA-54/Jamacha Rd. Turn right to stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd and keep on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. Stay on CA-94 E/Campo Rd. for 4.5 mi and then turn right onto Lyons Valley Rd. Keep right to stay onto Lyons Valley Rd. and drive for 1.6 mi and continue onto Skyline Truck Trail and drive for 7.1 mi. Turn left at the stop sign and drive for 2.6 mi. At the mile 13 marker you will see a yellow gate which is the trail head to Lawson Peak.

Mannie Abud
1 day ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Jorge Cornejo
11 days ago

25 Completed20 Reviews

Nice

Helen Speidel
16 days ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

Didn't see a soul the entire time. Awesome climbing and exploring at the top. Not difficult, but be prepared to climb!

Chris Lieser
2 months ago

5 Completed3 Reviews

The funnest trail I have done in San Diego county. There was less then a dozen people encountered on the entire trail and no one on the actual peak. Plenty of cool rocks and boulders to explore there as well. The whole using the rope to get into the cave made it fun at the top. The jeep trail up is a little rough but worth the climb !

Vinnie Zepeda
3 months ago

2 Completed1 Reviews

Great... I'm still smiling. As mentioned by other hikers, the road is washed out but it is a great training ground for downhill running. You have to be alert and agile.

Samuel Golden
4 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

The majority of the trail is a less-than-fascinating washed out old jeep trail that seems to be closed to off roading now. Once you get near the top, however, it's really fun. I would suggest having at least a little bit of climbing experience before trying to get to the peak; there are some tricky spots. It took me 3 hours to do, but I didn't stop a whole lot. On a cloudy day it was pleasant, I even hiked into the clouds which made it more interesting. Fun hike!

Bill Sanders
5 months ago

62 Completed40 Reviews

This is an out and back trail that is not for beginners. The trail is a really washed out fire road that is very rocky and uneven. It's a steady climb for 2 miles then be prepared to do some bouldering if you want to make it to the summit. The trail was unmarked the entire way. I was able to reference the Alltrails app on my phone for reference which was a big help staying on the trail to the top. No problem ,siting cell signal the entire time , I have vow. You'll need to climb over and around several boulders on your way up.
I was able to record a track titled thanksgvng2015.

Nicole Villarreal
7 months ago

3 Completed6 Reviews

It's an amazing hike!!! Super hard but well worth it once you get to the top!!! Bring lots and lots of water!!!! Go in a cool cloudy day!!! This hike will kick your butt if your not experienced!!!

Heather Watts
10 months ago

5 Completed4 Reviews

Fun Trail enjoyed the view at the top but grueling uneven and has a good incline to it so be prepared. Lots of water and a snack of veggies was helpful. The view from the top is great because I live in Lawson Valley and enjoyed looking down at my neighborhood :) the huge rocks at the top are really cool. My German Shepherd and Standard Poodle hiked this no problem I packed lots of water for them. Trail can be very uneven so you have to watch your footing I slipped and cut my knee up pretty good. I think winter or cooler days would be good for hiking this as the shade is very limited. Will do this again for sure.

Teresa Girton
11 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Weather was perfect. A great hike. Enjoyed the rock climbing and the cave at the peak. The view is amazing!!

Sherie Hubble
1 year ago

6 Completed1 Reviews

My husband, the dogs and I went up Lawson Peak on the 24th of Mar. 2015. We came from Carveacre so it was 7.24 mi. for us there and back. Everything is in bloom and so bright green even though it hasn't rained in forever. It was a nice cool breezy day and supposed to be a hot santa ana on Friday so that breeze was greatly appreciated!
Unfortunately we were unable to find an easy route to the top square boulders so we didn't try them, but instead walked three quarters of the way around the base of them. Regardless, beautiful views. We could see the ocean to the west. Didn't run into a soul the whole way which was nice. No rattlers, thank god, don't know how those two dogs would deal with that. But with Verizon you get coverage up there.

Michael Ortiz
1 year ago

6 Completed6 Reviews

Did this hike in early November with a group of about 15 people some in great shape others in not so great shape, but all made it to the top and back.
The majority of the trail is actually an advanced offroad vehicle trail and we did get passed by a couple of jeeps along the way. Eventually the trail gets very steep and narrow and requires some climbing to get to the peak. The climbing is a ton of fun and very doable. The views at the peak are excellent!
We took our time getting to the top and made it up in about 2 hours. Went through about 1.5 liters of water for entire hike. Very fun hike with some great views. I will do this one again.

Ryan Navaroli
2 years ago

7 Completed5 Reviews

Beautiful hike and close to SD. The off road trucks were neat and added to our experience. All the drivers were nice. Didn't end up doing the scramble at the end bc some of my group wasn't up to it but there is a dome rock at the top before the scramble which served as a nice finish. The hike to that can be done pretty easily and could be called moderate probably.

Dennis Thompson
2 years ago

18 Completed3 Reviews

Located near the mile 13 marker on Lyons Valley Road, the trail is not maintained and is primarily used for off-roading excursions. The elevation gain is pretty steady which makes for a friendly hike. The view is impeccable even from the road leading up to the peak. Where the road splits into two separate directions (East and West) there is an option to continue forward. I chose the continue forward where I had to do a little rock scrambling to find myself to the top of the peak. All in all it's good hike and an amazing view.

Johnny Carr
3 years ago

16 Completed2 Reviews

This was my first trip up Lawson Peak Trail and I enjoyed it. The trail is primarily a Jeep trail and there is quite a bit of trail erosion, which is great for the Jeeps but not great for hikers' ankles. There is some necessary climbing in order to reach the summit and there didn't seem to be an easy way to the very top. From the top we could see Point Loma and downtown to the West and up to El Cajon Mtn to the North (I don't know what is East of here). Bring what ever supplies you will need because there is nothing around this trail.

Sue Kopas
3 years ago

24 Completed9 Reviews

It was in the high 30's when we arrived and it had just rained/snowed the day before. This hike/run was still a lot of fun and challenging. The start is right around mile marker 13 on Lyons Valley Rd. About 3 miles after you turn right onto Lyons Valley from Honey Springs. You spend 2 miles on a fire road before you get to the base of Lawson. From there we headed straight across and picked up a trail to the top. A lot of rock climbing and bush whacking. I don't think there is a correct or easy way to the top. I would do it again.

Jarrod Hammack
3 years ago

18 Completed7 Reviews

Lawsons Peak Trail is a nice fun fire road to the base of the peak. From there the trail gets interesting and much more fun as you climb to the top of the peak. As you make your way to the peak, you climb over boulders and weave your way up the mountain. Towards the top, you will need to do some slight bouldering to get up to the peak and it is a lot of fun climbing all over the boulders.

XtremeHikers .com
3 years ago

20 Completed2 Reviews

This was a great hike that the Xtreme Hikers went on this weekend. Great read! The perfect day and great views. Nice challenge. Check out more details and an depth story about our adventure on our blog. Videos and pictures can also be found there in order to make your visit easier!

XtremeHikers.com

Stephan vonKolkow
3 years ago

19 Completed2 Reviews

Love this hike. Has the best little ledge to hang out on ... have a private lunch on ... take a nap on... Keep an eye open for rattlesnakes. I've done this hike 6 times and run into big snakes twice.

Rachel Hunter
4 years ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Hiked midweek in mid may and was 90 degrees with very little shade. Good workout but a little boring and hot.