Today we went hiking in Mission Trails Regional Park and specifically did the Kwaay Paay Summit, which brought us up to 1,194 feet. I would give the difficulty rating on this trail about a 3 or a 3.5 out of a 5 because it’s a fairly aggressive hill to approach the mountain and then a steep climb to get up to the summit. The payoff, however, is absolutely worth it – I’d give the scenic rating an 7 or an 8 out of 10. One of the drawbacks that this trail has for me is that it’s so close to civilization that you can see the streets and see the different towns in San Diego from the trail. As far as I’m concerned, a perfect view is one where you can’t see anything but trees, mountains and water as far as the eye can see. That said, it was an absolutely breathtaking view.
One of the great things that I loved about hiking this Mission Trails Regional Park summit is that there weren’t a lot of people on the trail. There are some places, like Cowles Mountain and Mt Woodson that have great hikes but they’re so busy that you don’t feel like you’re out in the wilderness at all. Sometimes they can seem more like amusement parks than anything else. Hiking the Kwaay Paay Summit definitely felt like you were in nature. I think we only saw 5 or 6 people on the trail, which was really cool.
There’s something about the serenity of doing hikes like this that’s really powerful to me. You work hard, you fight your way up the mountain and then, when you get to the top, you get to take in this amazing view and, if there’s some quality peace and quiet there, you can really get lost in it.
If you’re going to be hiking Mission Trails Regional Park, I’d definitely recommend this hike. It’s challenging enough to make it feel like you’re earning it, the views are amazing enough to make it worth the work and it’s close enough that it’s the perfect day hike.