San Diego Mountain Parks - Kevin Key Photography - San Diego, California
Los Coyotes Indian Reservation Hot Springs Mountain at Sunset

Los Coyotes Indian Reservation Hot Springs Mountain at Sunset

I shot this atop a rickety old fire lookout tower atop Hot Springs Mountain in the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in San Diego County. I want to return to this location and try to get the entire tower in the frame at sunset, but didn't have time to figure out the best way to do so (there are some obstacles in the way).

At 6,533 feet, Hot Springs Mountain is the tallest peak in San Diego County, and is twenty one feet taller than the second tallest peak, Cuyamaca Peak (6,512 feet). The forest here includes Coulter, Jeffrey, and sugar pines, white fir, and incense cedar. There are also canyon live oak and black oak trees.

The current tower was built in 1928. The roof and walls have caved in in recent years (this is the pile of wood you're looking at here) and the stairs leading to the top are in very bad shape.

The tower is located on Los Coyotes Indian Reservation property, but it is currently open to the public every day. Note that you must check in with the guards and there is a $10 day use fee. With an ordinary sedan, you can drive up to the campground, park there, and hike the rest of the way. You will need a high clearance 4WD vehicle to make it the last three miles past the campground - if you want to drive all the way to the top.