OverviewLocated in the 1574-acre Mt Gower Open Space Preserve 6 miles southeast of Ramona CA, Mt Gower rises in the north high above the San Diego Country Estates. Mt Gower is the highest point in the preserve, climbing to 3,103 feet above sea level. With numerous routes and a variety of climbs to the summit, Mt Gower has outstanding views of nearly all of San Diego County's highpoints.
Getting ThereThere are several ways to approach climbing Mt Gower. If one is looking for a good hike, the starting point should be at the Mt Gower Open Space Preserve trailhead on Gunn Stage Rd, but if one is looking to cut out the excess hiking and focus on climbing, one should take off from one of the many trails leaving the cul-de-sacs in the surrounding San Diego Country Estates (Be sure not to trespass).
Mt Gower Open Space Preserve trailhead: From Hwy 67 (Main Street) in Ramona take 10th Street (which becomes San Vicente Road) south and east 6 miles into San Diego Country Estates. Turn Left at Gunn Stage Road 1.8 miles to the entrance of Mount Gower Open Space Preserve (which begins at the dead end of Gunn Stage Road). The staging area is 1/4 mile beyond the entrance on the right side of the dirt entry road. Toward the northeast end of Mount Gower Staging Area, enter the trailhead at the park’s information kiosk. Follow the more difficult trail to the south and east as it follows the ridge line, climbs a canyon and ends about 7 miles later overlooking the San Diego Country Estates. At about 1.25 miles from the trailhead is a rest area with benches that overlooks oak-lined Swartz Canyon. From there a short spur trail leads to a 1976' peaklet overlooking the Country Estates and San Vicente Valley. The main trail descends into Swartz Canyon and crosses a small stream. A steep rise out of the creek area leads up the ridge and past a water tank. The trail continues to wind along the high ridge and comes to the first of two meadows. Continue up the steep trail to a rock shelf, then up a sharp incline to the upper meadow. Unusual rock formations are a scenic attraction here. From the top of the ridge the trail curves slightly east and then back to the southeast, winding among the boulders below Mt Gower. From here one needs to leave the trail heading east across the granite slabs, choose a route among the boulders and scramble to the summit.
San Diego Country Estates trailhead: From Highway 67 in Ramona, take San Vicente Rd south and east to San Diego Country Estates. Where San Vicente ends, turn left on Ramona Oaks Rd. From here one needs to decide how far they want to hike or climb when choosing which cul-de-sac to leave from. The first option is off Daza Drive and the second is off of Kerri Lane. If one selects Daza, turn left off Ramona Oaks onto Daza Dr. Follow the road as it curves to the left and look for a small use trail on the right, 3 houses before reaching Sarda Ct. One can also park on Sarda Ct and follow a private drive/water tower easment uphill to the north to a water tower, making sure not to trespass. When one reaches the water tower follow the trail to the right until it intersects the Swartz canyon trail. From this point the directions are the same as above.
To climb from Kerri Lane: follow Ramona Oaks for a mile or so. From here, turn left on Kerri Lane. A short ways up Kerri Ln, you will come to an open lot on the right that allows you to pass through to the open space. Climb the steep ridge to the north and east to the summit. There are also a couple other access spots in the neighborhood if you drive around.
Red TapeNo Permit needed.
Park hours are 8:30 a.m. to approximately 1 hour before sunset.
The staging area has restrooms and a drinking fountain.
Camping , Topo, Etc...A primitive campground is available at the Preserve, only for groups of ten or more, by reservation.
Mt Gower itself, actually resides in the Cleveland National Forest, so one would need to check with the CNF rangers on any summit camping permit info.
There is also a small, abandoned gold mine located just off the trail near the point where one needs to begin their cross-country travel to the summit. If one looks west at this point, opposite the summit, one can see a small yellowish dirt pile and the mine is just above.
External LinksCounty of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation
Mount Gower Open Space Preserve
Photos of My Mt Gower Climb