Oakzanita Peak Trail | Descanso, CA | Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Trail Stats

6.03 miles
Elevation Gain
1,194 feet
Total Time
2 hours 35 minutes
Moving Time
2 hours 24 minutes

Oakzanita Peak Trail is a 6.03 mile trail with 1,194 feet of elevation gain and is part of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park located in Descanso, CA. With the elevation being gained over the 3 miles to the peak, it makes it a very enjoyable climb.

Parking & Getting There

Getting to the parking is easy. There is a good amount of shoulder to park on the side of the road with a clearly visible trailhead sign. The only problem you might run into, there is not much parking. You can see outlined in red below that between the two places to park on the side of the road, there is about 10 +/- spots available.

Oakzanita Peak Trail - Parking
The trail is represented in Green and the parking in Red.

Direction: Google Maps

When visiting this trail or ones like it with limited parking I like to have a backup plan. This way if I arrive and there is not any parking I can just move on to another hike in the area. I also have a habit of starting my hikes just after sunrise. Because of this, parking is usually not a problem. You’d be surprised how many people like hiking in the middle of the day (even on the hot days).

The Trail

Once you arrive at Oakzanita Peak Trail you will find the trailhead is very easy to find. The sign shows the name of the trail and has some other important information like the hours of 6am to 8pm, no dogs, no camp fires, no camping, and no shooting guns.

Sign at trailhead

As you can see in the AllTrails recording below this hike involves a consistent incline to the peak. Because of 1,194 ft of elevation being gained over 3 miles, it makes it quite enjoyable. A lot of times we gain our elevation all at once, and this is not of the case for this one.

There are no bathrooms at this trail so you will need to plan accordingly for that. Another important item to note about this trail is shade, there is some, but not much. If you are going on a hot day it will be important to start early and bring LOTs of water.

On the way to the top you will get some single person width trail and some fire road style hiking (although you are not on this road for long). I really enjoyed the views for this one the entire route. Especially walking a long some of the larger fields, then making the way up the mountain with some amazing views of the area. Once you get to the top it can be very windy, so if not wearing one, take a windbreaker in your bag.

During the winter months you can find snow on the trail. This will add to the difficulty of the trail making slippery in some locations. When the snow melts it will also make the trail muddy. Make sure to check trail conditions before heading out!

Funny Note

This trail has a special memory for my brother in law and I. We both got bit by fire ants! Those things hurt! I’m not sure if it is common to see these ants on the trail, but we both got bit while stopped and looking out into the field. Just make sure before you stop to look down so you aren’t standing in a collection of them!

Another thing about ants, there was flying ones at the top of the mountain. Now I could be totally wrong here, maybe they weren’t ants. But they looked like large ones and where flying around all over the place. There was a photographer that was up top for some time and he had them covered all over his hat and clothes. We did not stay long enough to let them land on us! Drop a comment down below if these things are still flying around or if you know what they are!


Oakzanita Peak Trail can be a great hike to check your hiking fitness level. The hike is on the longer side with a decent amount of consistent elevation. If you are able to do this hike without any issues, you might be ready for some longer hikes with more elevation!

Photo Gallery

Wrap Up

Is there a specific hike that you would like to see next? Leave a comment down below or reach out via the Contact Form and hopefully I will be able to get a recap and virtual hike posted soon! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your adventure.

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