Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mt. Israel

Hiked: 11/3/2013
Distance: 4.4 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 1346'
Prominence: 406'
Elevation Gain: 1316'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.05
Round trip time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Recommended water: 32 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Del Dios trailhead
Difficulty: Easy

Another week with limited time restricted my targets to small, short distance peaks. I went south this time to Mt. Israel near Escondido, another mountain on the San Diego 100 peaks list. I had tried to find Mt. Israel on my way back after being turned away from El Cajon in August by a grumpy ranger, but could not find the trailhead. After reading a Bob Burd trip report, I found the Del Dios Preserve trailhead.

The gate to the trailhead was closed, so I had to park across the highway and sprint across when traffic allowed. The sprint across the highway turned out to be the most exciting part of the hike. There is a dirt road that winds up and around an unnamed bump with most of the elevation gain. On the way up, I got a partial view of Lake Hodges and Bernardo Mountain. The trail is dog and horse friendly, and there was evidence of both dogs and horses on the trail. I met several hikers with their dogs in tow, and some dogs with hikers in tow. Once past the initial bump, it is a short trip down to a saddle, then up the Equine Incline trail to the summit of Mt. Israel, also known as the Elfin Forest Overlook. Views from the summit were somewhat limited. I had to go about 100 feet off trail to get a good shot of the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir. There was a dog memorial plaque set in a wooden pole on the summit. This is really dog country. The trip back was uneventful and after another sprint across the highway, I headed home.

Del Dios Preserve trailhead

Lake Hodges and Bernardo Mountain (front left)

Approaching Mt. Israel

Equine Incline trail to Mt. Israel

Mt. Israel summit

Olivenhain Reservoir and Dam

Double Peak (I think) from Mt. Israel

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