The Big Laguna Trail

The Big Laguna Trail

With exotic wildflowers, panoramic mountain views, and the blissful tranquility that only Mother Nature can provide, The Big Laguna Trail is a rare find in the greater San Diego area. Conveniently located 13 miles north of I-8 on Sunrise Highway, this 10-mile loop traverses oak and pine woodlands, vast meadows, and during certain seasons, a clear blue lake.

This trail is open to horses, dogs, mountain bikes and hiking, serving as a scenic trail for all modes of exploration.

The trail is well-traveled and well maintained and offers several junctions. Keep to the Big Laguna trail to avoid trekking the more difficult Pacific Crest Trail, or for an easier hike, pick up the Blue Jay or Falcon trails which lead back to the campground. Big Laguna can be rocky at times with some good spots of elevation, so come prepared for a good workout.

No permit is required to hike the Big Laguna trail; however a Forest Adventure Pass is required for each vehicle parked at specific trailheads. Adventure Passes can be purchased for $5 per day or $30 per year at Cleveland National Forest offices, or at a local retailer such as REI or Big 5.

To reach the upper end, take Sunrise Highway from I-8 (near Pine Valley) and drive north 13.5 miles to just past the second cattle guard on the highway. Vehicles should park on either side of the highway on the paved turnouts.

The access to the Big Laguna trail is via the Nobel Canyon trail that departs the western turnout and is marked by a small sign. Follow the Nobel Canyon trail about 100 yards to reach the Big Laguna trail junction.

The other end of the Big Laguna trail makes a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail about 1/4 mile northeast of the Laguna Station (the Forest Service fire station).