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Black Mountain (Cleveland National Forest)

 

Trail Stats

 

Distance - 14.6 Miles

Elevation Gain/Loss - 3100 ft.

Max Elevation Reached - 4050 ft.

Difficulty Level - Strenuous

Trailhead - Link

 

Track

 

  

Download Google Earth KML - Link

Download GPX - Link

 

Description

   

This isn't about the other more famous Black Mountain in San Diego's Mira Mesa area. This Black Mountain is tucked well within Cleveland National Forest's Palomar District in the Pamo Valley area. Getting to the trailhead can be tricky, if you rely on the directions provided by Google Maps. The last time I tried it, I ended up in someone's private property with two dogs chasing after my car. You are better off following the directions provided by Jerry Schad in his classic book. This is probably the only reference that mentions this hike anyway! 

 

Use the trailhead given above for directions ... but don't follow them entirely. Take CA 78 towards Ramona (head east). Turn left at W. Haverford Rd. Continue on this road till you get to Pamo Rd and make a left on to Pamo Rd. Note that Pamo Rd. becomes unpaved (yet quite drivable in a Sedan) after a short while. Drive to the trailhead which is located about 1.3 miles beyond a stone bridge on this unpaved stretch. The trail starts off on the right beyond a white metal gate and heads due east on Black Mountain Truck Trail.

 

The hike is entirely on Black Mountain Truck Trail. In fact you can use Google Maps to get directions on the trail and compute the millage. The objective of this hike is to get to the Black Mt. summit which is marked by a stone structure with a small antenna installation on it. This structure is operated and maintained by the National Forest. The summit is marked by a large grove of pine trees which are clearly visible right from the trailhead. This is in fact the best distinguishing feature that sets apart Black Mt. from other neighboring peaks.

 

The route is quite straightforward. Follow the road which first heads east before veering off south, clearly away from the summit, only to turn back north and climb on to a ridge that leads to the summit. Here on, the road meanders all over with a steady uphill grade. There are really no downhill or entirely flat sections on the way to the summit.

 

Once on the summit amidst the pine trees, look for a faint trail heading northward on the summit itself. It will lead you to the structure (cistern, per Schad). From there, you get a 360 degree view for several miles. A boulder near this structure seems to have what is left of a survey marker.

   

Return the same way.

       

Elevation Profile

 

 

Trail Log

 

June 14th, 2009

    

Started from Trailhead - 8:30 am

Reached Summit - 12:40 pm

Started back - 1:00 pm

Reached Trailhead - 4:00 pm 

  

Photos - Link 

       

Notes -

 

I went on this hike with Sachin D and Sesh K. This was my second time on this hike. It was cloudy pretty much throughout the day. The sun did come out towards the end of our hike but the air war still cool and comfortable. We did not meet any other hikers on the trail. There ware a couple of groups of dirt bikers though. 

 

We had lunch on the summit, right by the cistern. There were two flags up there. I don't recall having seen them the last time I was here. We also noticed several spent cartridges ... something that I am seeing more and more on pretty much every hike within CNF! 

 

We did not spot any Mountain Lions this time. I (think I) spotted one the last time I was here.  

  

    

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