Granite Mountain lies on the Western edge of Anza Borrego State Park, right at the boarder between the desert and the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest. Granite Mountain's slopes contain a wide variety of flora and fauna. From cacti to chaparral to manzanita to pinyon pines. Deer, Mountain lions, and rattlesnakes are a few of the animals that inhabit this area.
While not being technically challenging, Granite Mountain is not a simple walk up. The mountain itself rises over 3000ft out of Blair Valley(standing at 2600ft), making it a very solid climb in its own right. The summit sees its fair share of visitors each year, though it would not be uncommon to have this lovely peak to yourself on a weekend. The most common route starts from a dirt road on highway S2 leading up East ridge to Granite Mountain. Most of this route is class 1, with a little bit of class 2 bushwacking as one nears the summit.
Route information and directions can also be found in Jerry Schad's "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County".
The peak can be accessed from pretty much every direction, the most common is off Highway S2 in the Blair Valley. From San Diego head north on Highway 67 toward Ramona. In Ramona continue East on Highway 78 toward Julian. Continue through Julian and down into the Borrego Desert. Head South on Highway S2 when you reach it. Head south for several miles, at mile marker 21.5 make a right turn(West) onto a dirt road heading toward Granite Mountain. Head approximately a mile down this road until you reach a turn around, stop and park here. The road is usually in good enough condition that a passenger car won't have a problem. From the end of this dirt road is where the main hike begins.
The mountain can also be climbed from Rodriguez Canyon to the South or the PCT to the North. Rodriguez canyon is located near mile 26.8 off Highway S2. The PCT can be obtained either off the Sunrise Highway(1) or from Highway 78.
There are no permits required to hike in Anza Borrego State Park. Backcountry(desert) camping is allowed away from paved roads. There are no seasonal closures, though flash flooding does periodically close roads in the park. Also be careful around any flora found, since plants are very fragile and extra caution should be observed.
Call the Visitors Center at (760) 767-5311 for more information.
When To Climb
The best times to climb the mountain are between October and April. Granite Mountain is easily climbed year round, though during summer months temperatures can skyrocket, making hiking very uncomfortable. During winter months it is not unheard of for a dusting of snow to settle in on top of Granite Mountain, though it rarely sticks. During wet years flowers abound in spring months, littering the Borrego Desert below Granite Peak.
There are several campsites throughout the Borrego Desert, and as mentioned on the website above, backcountry camping is allowed away from any paved road.
Click here for updated information on the Anza Borrego State Park.
Track wildflower displays here.
Be aware that flash flooding can occur at any time in desert canyons, always be prepared and alert.