General Iron Mountain Hiking Trail Overview

Iron Mountain is a favorite hiking trail in San Diego County, and now we know why! This 6-mile hike is ideal for the beginner hiker to the experienced hiker, offering the length and incline to truly get a work-out! Parking is easy & free (yippee!), the views are gorgeous, and the hiking trail is well-maintained. If you plan to do this San Diego hike on the weekend, you’ll find several other hikers with the same idea.

Park in the parking lot off of Highway 76 in Poway or along the street. Once you’re ready, follow the signs to Iron Mountain Hiking Trail and continue up the path. You’ll come across several splits during the hike, so pay attention to the marked arrows and follow their lead to Iron Mountain. (You can always follow the other hikers too, but the path is pretty straightforward.)

The trail features switch-backs near the top of the mountain and some moderate rocks to hike over. Once you’ve reached the top, the 360 views are incredible! Depending on your experience, allow for at least 2 hours to do Iron Mountain Hiking Trail, which may take you up to 4 hours.

To see a video of Iron Mountain’s trail conditions, click here.

 

Iron Mountain Hiking Trail in north San Diego is a very well-rounded hike for all experience levels. Being active hikers, we loved this hike because it offered a great 2-hour challenge. Once you reach the top of Iron Mountain, the views aren’t bad either (they’re TRAIL-IFIC!) We found several hikers at the top, enjoying the views with their family and friends. If you go during lunch, bring a sandwich to enjoy at the top!
Total distance: 6.2 miles (round-trip)

Trail Map:


View Iron Mountain Hiking Trail in a larger map




Directions:


From San Diego, CA: 

  • Merge onto CA-163 N via EXIT 16 toward Escondido.
  • Merge onto I-15 N via the exit on the left.
  • Take the Pomerado Rd/Miramar Rd exit, EXIT 14.
  • Turn right onto Pomerado Rd.
  • Turn right to stay on Pomerado Rd.
  • Turn right onto Scripps Poway Pky.
  • Turn left onto CA-67.
  • Your end destination is: CA-67 & POWAY RD.

From Orange County and Los Angeles:

  • Merge onto I-5 S
  • Merge onto CA-78 E via EXIT 51B toward Escondido/Vista Way.
  • Merge onto I-15 S toward San Diego.
  • Take the Camino del Norte exit, EXIT 22.
  • Turn left onto Camino del Norte.
  • Camino del Norte becomes Twin Peaks Rd.
  • Turn right onto Espola Rd.
  • Espola Rd is 0.1 miles past Roberto Rio Rd
  • If you reach Kalapana St you’ve gone about 0.1 miles too far
  • Turn left onto Poway Rd.
  • Your end destination is: CA-67 & POWAY RD. Park in the parking lot when you reach Highway 67 (across the street).

From Riverside, CA: 

  • Merge onto the CA-91 E.
  • Merge onto CA-60 E toward I-215 S/San Diego/Indio.
  • Keep right to take I-215 S toward San Diego.
  • I-215 S becomes I-15 S.
  • Take the Camino del Norte exit, EXIT 22.
  • Turn left onto Camino del Norte.
  • Camino del Norte becomes Twin Peaks Rd.
  • Turn right onto Espola Rd.
  • Turn left onto Poway Rd.
  • Your end destination is: CA-67 & POWAY RD. Park in the parking lot when you reach Highway 67 (across the street).

What to Bring



When to Go: 

  • Spring, Fall, and Winter
  • If the weather conditions are predicted to be warm, start earlier in the morning to avoid heat exhaustion.

How the Trail Looks:

Iron Mountain Trail head
First trail section of Iron Mountain
Hiker enjoying the trail
Iron Mountain trail marker. Follow the arrow!
Hikers climbing Iron Mountain trail

 

Iron Mountain trail terrain

 

Trail signs
Trail view on the hike up
View from near the summit
Follow your path and enjoy the hike!
Hikers enjoying the summit’s view
Hiker enjoying the view
Southern view from Iron Mountain’s summit
Eastern view from Iron Mountain’s summit

Dog-Friendly

  • Yes, on leashes and depending on your dog’s physical experience. We saw several dogs enjoy the trail on their way! Dog treats are highly recommended.

 

 

Intensity Levels
  • Barry-the-Bear: “This hike took me 4 hours to enjoy and the final mile to the top was a challenge! I hiked for 3.5 hours and spent 1/2 hour enjoying the views and my packed lunch at the top. I was sore for the next two days, but it was well worth the burn! I felt like I was an Iron Man!”
  • Larry-the-Lion: “Wow! I really enjoyed this hike, but wish we started it a little earlier. We started around 11AM and the trail was already crowded, plus it was hot! I’m thankful I followed the Go Hike It team’s hiking tips and brought plenty of water!”
  • Chris-the-Cheetah: “I heard this hike was going to take 3-4 hours, but I really wanted to push it. It took my under 2 hours to finish and I even managed to snap a few pictures at the summit! Afterwards, I stopped at Stone Brewery on my trip home to celebrate a successful hike!”
Have you tried the Iron Mountain Hiking Trail? Share your experience in the comments below! 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This