Kwaay Paay Peak Trail: A Hike with Panoramic Views

May 11, 2021

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Distance

2.3 Miles

Time

~1.5 Hrs

Difficulty

Moderate

Elevation Gain

875 ft

Season

All Year

Bathrooms

No

San Diego has a ton of popular peaks with panoramic views that are sure to pique your interest. Kwaay Paay Peak is definitely one you’ll want to do, especially since it’s a short one!

Kwaay Paay Peak is a 2.3-mile trail located in Mission Trails Regional Park near Santee, California. It’s considered to be a moderate hike because of steep inclines. The elevation gain is 875 feet with views of San Diego and the ocean. Dogs are allowed on leashes.

Don’t forget to “favorite” this hike for later!

Map of Kwaay Paay Peak Trail

Directions & Parking

To get to the Kwaay Paay Peak trail, I took the I-5 S to the I-805. The trailhead and parking area will be on Father Junipero Serro Trail in Santee, CA.

Click here for Google Maps directions.

There are a few parking lots on this road, but you can pretty much park anywhere along the street. There’s plenty of room.

Trailhead to Kwaay Paay Peak

The Kwaay Paay Peak trailhead begins on the side of the road and is pictured at the bottom.

I came on a Thursday morning, which means fewer people on the trail.

A few feet away, there are markers and signs pointing to the trail, so I continued on the right.

There are various large steps on this trail, which explains the quick ascend up to the peak.

Further up the footpath, I saw more and more beautiful wildflowers of various colors. Orange, red, and purple flora made this mostly-dirt trail a lot more vibrant.

I was already breaking a sweat at this point. Mind you, it was a little past 12 PM and the sun was shining very brightly above me with little to no shade.

The last section, about 0.8 miles left, requires a good cardio workout and heart-pumping action up steep steps.

You’ll be sure to break a sweat so bring plenty of water.

After a few water breaks and heavy breathing,  I was rewarded with an amazing panoramic view of San Diego, the beach, and the surrounding mountains.

Here’s a closer shot. This left-side shows views of downtown San Diego and the beach. Unfortunately, it was hazy that day.

To the right, you can see North and South Fortuna mountain in the back.

That highest peak is North Fortuna. Typically, they’re both done as a loop.

Yes, I’ll be hiking that one soon!

The hike to Kwaay Paay peak was a little tiring but very short with awesome panoramic views.

I’m sure it looks even better during sunset!

Recommended Gear

  • WACOOL 3 Liter Hydration Badder- Since this trail is steep and under the sun, I highly recommend bringing a hydration bladder. I have this one and love it because I can drink from the hose, without having to constantly take out my water bottle.

Look Out for This Plant

Yucca 

Yuccas can be found all throughout the mountainous and grassland regions of Southern California.

They produce these flowers only once per year, but typically bloom every few years.

Fun Fact: The roots can be made into shampoo and soap! You can also weave baskets and make extremely strong rope from the fibers of the leaves.

This seemingly boring and common plant actually has so many uses!

Nearby Attractions

Lake Murray

Located less than 20 minutes away from Kwaay Paay Peak, Lake Murray is a fun place to picnic or barbecue after the hike!

It’s popular for bike riding, but you can just walk around or sit by the lake.

There are also fishing and boat rentals, in case you’re into that.

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Hello, There!

We’re Monica and Phillip. Just like you, we share a passion for the outdoors and our beautiful state of California. After many years of exploring amazing and hidden places, we thought we’d share them with you! We hope this blog shows you tons of new CA adventures!