Lyons Peak Trip Report

Lyons Peak (3,720+ feet)

Date: December 28, 2003

The next peak down on the San Diego County 1,000+ foot prominence list - I believe number fifteen.

For years Edward Earl and I thought that access was a major issue for this south county summit. However a phone call to the Forest Service revealed that a public easement exists as the service road leading up the northwest slopes of the peak to a set of summit radio towers.

While I was away county highpointing last summer, Edward climbed it by said route. Now it was my turn.

A beautiful, sunny and cold winter morning. I began my ascent (just a roadwalk) at 8:30 a.m. and topped out on the fifteen foot summit boulder just an hour later - about 1,600 vertical feet. After a twenty minute break with snack I headed down and was back at my Tacoma 51 minutes later.

Parking was impossible right at the Forest Service road's base at Lyons Valley Road - too many residences and no shoulder anyways. I parked about 200 yards to the west and maybe one contour lower (40 feet) at a narrow shoulder along the north side of Lyons Valley Road.

The only annoyances were the barking dogs lower down - along with No Trespassing signs everywhere. I did not meet any person on the hike. Lots and lots of junked property for the first one-third of the road. After that, and you get the unmistakable feeling of being above most of the rest of the world.

Addendum 1

Mark Adrian describes his experience at Lyons Peak in a November 2012 E-mail message.

"I did Lyons a couple years ago, solo and determined. That grump on the mountain has become a legend. I too had a chat with the locals at that nearby market after I had done the summit. They had many colorful stories about this curmudgeon.

Anyway, I recall parking on the pavement, just west of the locked gate. I knew what to expect or at least the threat. So, I jumped the gate, walked past several white trash trailers and barking dogs, trying to avoid being caught. The road goes south then turns west..

I did not want a confrontation.

So, at a bend in the road where I could not be seen, I threshed through some exceptionally nasty brush, uphill, south, to regain the road and avoid the grump. This was deterring brush causing much introspection. So, when I regained the road, out of sight, a few new wardrobe rips and some dripping blood, it was a trivial walk to the summit. On descent, I stayed on the road all the way, passing by a day laborer and walked right through the grump's trashy yard and back to my car without incident.

Now, there used to be a route up from the south as was documented in the late Jerry Schad's guidebook. I don't know much about that, although local hiker Gail Hanna did his route some years ago with a summit bivy.

Lyons is certainly a summit landmark here in San Diego, I see it daily in fact as I drive over the Coronado bridge."

Addendum 2

In November 2012 Scott Surgent arrived wishing to summit. Here's the relevant excerpt from his E-mail.

"When I rolled up, the road was gated with a no-trespass sign. I parked at the Lyons Valley Trading Post and asked and the guy there said the landowner stops anyone who crosses his land at gunpoint, despite the fact the road is an easement. Unfortunately, what the law says and what an unreasonable man with a gun says are two different things. The guy at the store said he's even pulled his gun on tower workers, forest people and police."