With snowshoes strapped to my boots, I set off on snow with no encumbrances aside from several animal tracks, heading for Oakzanita Peak, one of my favorite spots in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. From snow-covered East Mesa Fire Road, I turned onto Upper Descanso Creek Trail, knowing that the hike to the top in about a foot-deep snow was going to be steep and strenuous. At the creek crossing, I stopped and thought about coyotes and deer that might have had drinking water until early summer.
I climbed up and up slowly, stopping to take in the winter views in the land of the Kumeyaay. The sun cast shadows on the station’s trees and bushes. On a white canvas, the dark lines swayed and danced in the breeze, providing a gentle consideration of the rhythms of nature. Dancing manzanitas, chaparral and tree species whose names I didn’t know reminded me of the importance of knowledge, humility and, by God, the need to simply dance.
When I finally got to the top of Oakzanita Peak, I experienced the majesty of winter. Alone in joy, the earth rang and froze in my mind, reminding me that there is beauty in this world.
It is well documented that snowshoeing, one of the fastest growing winter outdoor recreational sports in the United States, began with the native peoples of North America. Their snowshoe designs varied across the continent based on snow types and frequency, along with depths, as well as the materials they used. The same is true today, in a sense, in that there are numerous types of snowshoes available. Rental shop staff and equipment store customer service team members can help you find the right snowshoes for your needs.
If you can hike, you should be able to snowshoe. Simply put, you simply throw on your favorite winter boots to keep your feet warm and dry and then strap your snowshoes onto your booted feet. Then, with a slightly wider step so as not to hit the snowshoes and possibly fall, you put one foot in front of the other and voila!
I’ve been out on several rides in the mountains of eastern San Diego County over the past few weeks, with an abundance of snow. While San Diego is famous for its 70 miles of beautiful beaches, it’s less known for its mile-high peaks that rise less than an hour’s drive away, if you plan well. Out there, pine forests and mixed oak groves blend with flora and fauna from the farthest reaches of the Colorado desert, which is part of the larger Sonoran desert and provides one of the most biodiverse regions in the United States. United States for adventure. In winter, it almost always snows in the high elevations (5,000 to 6,000 feet or more) of the Cuyamaca and Laguna mountain ranges, and sometimes, like this season, we have record snowfalls and you can spend entire days.
Below are nine trails in San Diego County to try. Before you go, here are some considerations:
- If you’ve never snowshoeed, be prepared to possibly trip over yourself until you get the hang of it. Generally speaking, when your feet are in boots and strapped to snowshoes, you’ll need to walk with a wider stride. Trekking poles are great to have, not only for balance and any possible stream crossings, but once you get the hang of them, they will help you move along the trail with more strength and ease. Plus, gaiters, waterproof wraps that fit around the ankle and calf, help keep snow out of your shoes.
- When considering miles/distance, most beginners will find that one mile of snowshoeing is the equivalent of two miles of walking, with respect to power output. Undoubtedly, your leg muscles will be worked differently than when you walk or hike without snowshoes on your feet.
- For snowshoe rentals, check local equipment stores. REI San Diego He shows snowshoe rentals on his website.
- Cuyamaca Ranch State Park Has parking fees. However, this can be challenging, as the QR codes at trailheads/parking areas are often not accessible due to lack of cell phone service/coverage. Pro tip: If you have a pen and paper in your vehicle, leave a note on your dash saying you don’t have cell service.
- if you visit Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, you must purchase and display an Adventure Pass ($5 per day) in your vehicle when parking along Sunrise Highway. A National Parks pass will also work.
- Cleveland National Forest Recreation Passes and Permits: Snow chains are often required on the Sunrise Highway. All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles with all-season tires may not be required to have them, but California Highway Patrol checkpoints may require you to have them on your vehicle.