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Valley of the Moon


Original Post
Hand.jammin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 10

This has been on my hit list for many years and I really want to go check the area out. Has anyone been recently and can comment on the road conditions? I have an F150 with decent clearance but unfortunately it is not a 4x4 (lame I know). Does anyone know how close I could safely get my truck to the climbs like the gravity wall and how far roughly I would have to hoof it from the truck to the climbs? Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks 

Ero Sennin · · San Diego, CA · Joined Jul 2018 · Points: 125

PM user Joe Brophy. He was there just the other day I think.  He’s part of the ACSD, knows the area extremely well, and an overall nice guy. 

ColinW · · San Diego, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 70

Your truck could *probably* make it up there. If you have a 4" lift, you should be fine.  However, there's a few obstacles where 4WD is beneficial. I've got a lifted Jeep wrangler and even with 4WD, a few sections are tricky. From the road to the rocks is about 2 miles? Give or take a few. I didn't check my mileage when I drove up there.  

master gumby · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 197

My friend with a stock jeep cherokee made it ok in November 2018. Can't comment on current condi's. You can also park at the start of the "4x4" road and hike in (~2-3 miles and mostly downhill on the way in).

Jake R · · San Diego, CA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

I’ve been 3 times in a stock 96’ Jeep Grand Cherokee. Stock tires too. My buddy took his RWD truck there 2 years ago and barely made it out. Had to floor it on the steep section coming out.  Really sketchy! Keep in mind, you’ll still have to walk a mile + after you park to the climbing, unless you got a badass 4X4 with good clearance and suspension. 

Justin. S · · Monrovia, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 120

He’ll make it out there just fine. He jumped the gun before asking me for my Jeep. He now has been privately shamed and forced to climb with someone who will only hold him back, ie me.

Joe Brophy · · San Diego · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 306

Was out there this past Sunday. Temps were perfect for shaded climbing. Hopefully you’ll get nice weather as well. The second half of the road in is rough. You’ll probably make it back out in a high clearance two wheel drive. Question is how much do you like your vehicle.

Joe Brophy · · San Diego · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 306
Valley of the Moon has some of the finest choss you'll climb in San Diego area.
George Bracksieck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 1,461
Jake R wrote: I’ve been 3 times in a stock 96’ Jeep Grand Cherokee. Stock tires too. My buddy took his RWD truck there 2 years ago and barely made it out. Had to floor it on the steep section coming out.  Really sketchy! Keep in mind, you’ll still have to walk a mile + after you park to the climbing, unless you got a badass 4X4 with good clearance and suspension. 

You still have to walk about a mile from the wilderness boundary, where you park your badass 4wd, to the Patina Wall. It’s a beautiful walk with little elevation gain. 

master gumby · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 197
Joe Brophy wrote:
Valley of the Moon has some of the finest choss you'll climb in San Diego area.

JOE BROPHY DRINKING ROLLING ROCK - WHAAAAAA?!?!?!! Chossy beer for chossy rock

Kristian Andersen · · San Diego · Joined May 2012 · Points: 304

You can easily make it 1/2 down the road until it splits off to the towers (https://goo.gl/maps/xY2238E4xN1e7R6JA). From there you get to the 'gauntlet', which is easy enough going in, but if you don't pick the right line, you're going to have trouble getting out in 2WD. I have seen several 2WD Tacomas attempt that part going out, and it hasn't been pretty - it can definitely be done, but it depends on how comfortable driving off-road you are (as in, if you're not comfortable driving off-road, don't do it!).

From the split-point you can walk the rest of the way (you have already gained most of the elevation), but it's still a fairly strenuous hike of ~2 miles to the base of Patina wall (which is where you want to go if this is your first time). If you drive all the way to the 'parking' area, it's a ~1/2 mile easy (beautiful!) hike to the base.

Definitely one of my favorite places to climb near San Diego - plus the off-road bit makes it more entertaining (and less crowded...). I personally drive a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and can make it without issue - but the first time I drove that road it was pretty intimidating (now it feels like a walk in the park).

Drew L · · Boulder · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

I made it last year in my Subaru Forester. I've got skid plates on it but didn't end up hitting anything.  There's one tricky section of road that you've gotta be delicate getting through but with a little bit of technique and a good spotter you can get through okay.

Hand.jammin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 10

Thank you guys for the information this helps a lot, I think I’ll drive to the split and hike the rest of the way in, I have an old F150 and couldn’t afford to fix it if I messed something up so I don’t think I’ll take the risk of going further. Would it be safe to park my truck and leave it there for the day? Also has anyone camped out there?

Kristian Andersen · · San Diego · Joined May 2012 · Points: 304

When you get to the split, hike down a few hundred yards and take a look at that section - that’s the worst part of the trail.

OK to park for the day for sure, and yeah, we have camped there. Note that the region does see a fair bit of cross-border traffic, so keep that in mind (I have personally never seen any or heard of anybody having had any issues because of it. But you can see the evidence from the ‘traffic’ in some places).

Have fun - beautiful place!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern California
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