Over the 4th of July weekend, I decided to take my wife and our dog on their very first backpacking trip.
We started out with the intention of backpacking the Barker Valley Trail in Palomar Mountain. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that the trail head for Barker Valley wasn’t accessible by car so we started looking for another good backpacking spot. After looking at a few different options, we decided to do a section of the Noble Canyon Trail in Laguna Mountain.
Typically, this is a 10 mile point to point thru hike, although, since we only had one car, we decided to make it an out and back trip, which increased the difficulty a bit. We started from the north trail head, which took us up and around a small hill and then down into the canyon. We hiked a bit and passed a couple good looking campsites before getting to a point where we decided that it was time to start looking for our camp for the night.
Here’s my review of taking a backpacking trip through the Noble Canyon Trail:
Difficulty Rating (6 out of 10): I’d say that, the way that we did it (as an out and back) this was a medium intensity hike. While a bit hilly, the approach to the canyon wasn’t terribly challenging. Hiking down into the canyon was pretty straightforward but there were some sections that were really rocky. The hike out of the canyon was fairly difficult and filled with switchbacks.
Scenery Rating (10 out of 10): No question that Noble Canyon Trail is beautiful – 10 out of 10. The trail starts out wrapping around a hill with great views of the Anza Borrego Desert and continues into stunning mountain views and finished up (at least for us) in a great forest with blue sky clearings.
Quiet Rating (9 out of 10): For the most part, this is an incredible quiet trail. There aren’t a lot of people on the trail, but it’s fairly popular with mountain bikers. Even so, the frequency of coming across mountain bikers is fairly rare. If you’re looking for seclusion chances are good that this is a great spot.
Bug Rating (1 out of 10 before the canyon; 10 out of 10 in the canyon): There weren’t a lot of bugs on the approach, unless you count the ants on the trail (which I don’t). Once we started to drop into the canyon, though, the bugs came out in force. There were parts of the trail that had trees with so many bugs living in them that you could hear the buzzing from 10 yards away. If you have a particular aversion bugs, bring your head net.
Notes: We didn’t find any water on this trail, which was disappointing. Fortunately we packed in enough water but the trail guides that reference this trail make it sound like it’s pretty flush with water and, while there is a creek bed in the canyon, it was dry as a bone.