Dec. 29 2015 06:42 PM

Kwaaymii Point is a short hike and a windy thrill

Pacific Crest Trail
Photo by Jessica Johnson

    Kwaaymii Point is an ideal spot to get away and clear your mind. At an elevation of 6,000 feet, it offers one of the most stunning, if not the most stunning views in San Diego. It's located on the border of the Anza-Borrego State Park and the Cleveland National Forest, and at the edge of the Laguna Mountains.

    There's a very short hiking trail here—about half a mile. But the stretch of trail that leads to Kwaaymii Point is part of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. And 40 years ago, this part of the trail was known as the Sunrise Highway. The old roadbed was chiseled into the cliffs. It used to be a narrow and dangerous drive with a steep drop directly below.

    I've never seen such a vast, endless mountain scape anywhere in San Diego. You can see the Anza-Borrego Desert to the east, and if the clouds aren't out you can see Mount San Jacinto to the north. During my trip in October it was windy and chilly. It gets even windier and colder in the winter months, so come prepared so you can appreciate your visit. (I wish I'd brought a beanie to protect my ears from the wind.)

    Because of the thousand-foot drop-offs and the high winds out here, it's a popular spot for hang gliders. At certain points you can feel strong updrafts. You can look down from the top of Kwaaymii Point and see a tiny "town" where hang gliders can land.

    This can be a dangerous spot. There are a lot of memorial markers placed all around. These aren't gravesites, but death markers. Some are remembrances of people who lost their lives hang gliding, and some are memorials for people who thought Kwaaymii Point was their special spot.

    It is a special spot—and that is why some of the crappy graffiti on some of the rock walls is such a shame. But nothing can spoil the views.

    To see more off-the-beaten path places in San Diego, go to


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