Course Description

PCT50 Course

PCT50 Elevation Profile

Click here for the course interactive map

This is an out-and-back course mostly on single track trail along the Pacific Crest Trail in east San Diego County. The trail features numerous climbs, particularly on the "out" portion, as well as some rocky sections. It begins at an elevation of approximately 3,000 feet, reaching 6,000 feet in the Laguna Mountains. (Note: routing is subject to final approval from the U.S. Forest Service.)

Boulder Oaks Campground to Fred Canyon Road (6.4 M mostly uphill)

From the start just outside Boulder Oaks campground, cross the road and follow the PCT. It soon (.5M) goes under the bridge for I-8, 200 feet above. The trail turns right, through a gate, along a ledge trail for about a mile, then back uphill to Kitchen Creek Road. Cross this paved road and go uphill for 2.4 miles on a rocky trail that gives great views to the east before emptying out into your first aid station.

Fred Canyon Road to Dale's (7.3 M uphill)

The next section is very long and uphill. Be sure to fill your bottles (2-3) before leaving the Fred Canyon aid station. Cross Fred Canyon Road and continue onto PCT. The single-track trail goes uphill on a rocky ridge. Run above Long Canyon before crossing a stream, now 5 miles from Fred Canyon Road. After crossing the small stream, you will go uphill on a switchback trail entering the Laguna Mountain area. The trail crosses Morris Ranch Road (dirt), where you will find aid at the Dale's Kitchen site.

Dale's to Todd's Cabin (3.8 M mostly flat)

Leaving Dale's, the trail crosses a dirt road and then merges with the dirt road for fifty feet. Continue on the right of the road for about .5 mile. If you miss the PCT, the dirt road is actually just a few feet to the left of the trail, and they merge again in about 200 yards. You are now near a primitive campground on your left. Just before the gate ahead on the trail, there is a water fountain to the right, which may be capped for the winter. Several trails intersect here. Veer left and continue north on the PCT. Do not take one of the trails that go perpendicularly. The main trail continues north and then bends east on an open ridge. The trail turns west and then north. Just above you is Burnt Rancheria Campground. Continue north on the PCT past Burnt Rancheria Campground (rolling terrain mostly free of rocks) to the road. In less than a mile the trail merges with the Desert View Trail. The trail comes very close to the Desert View Lookout (look for a picnic table) where a pump for water is located by the large oak tree on the left side. The trail continues out onto a ledge area that provides great views of the desert to the east. The trail crosses two paved roads (no cars). About .25 mile after the second road crossing, you will reach a large pile of rocks on the right. Todd's Cabin Aid Station is just below on your left (elev. 5,900 feet).

Todd's to Penny Pines (5.2 M: 2.5M rolling, 1M down, 1.5M up through chaparral).

Leave the cabin and return to the PCT. The trail goes left, to the north. Very close to the road you will make a right onto a dirt road and then left in just a few yards, back onto a single-track trail. The trail now climbs through an open area of chaparral and then heads uphill over a wooden bridge toward the Al Bahr View Point. The trail veers right and then left where several small trails intersect. Look for PCT posts on the trail on the left (but heading north at the Y split). The trail gives you good views of the Borrego Desert to the right (east). Continue uphill back into the woods to a trailhead where you turn left, leaving the PCT for 100 yards, on an access trail that leads to the Penny Pines aid station located on the Sunrise Highway (elev. 5450).

Penny Pines to Turnaround (2.3M rolling).

You will head north once again on the PCT. After a short climb, the rolling terrain takes you to the turnaround point out on the trail. You will retrace your steps from that point to Penny Pines for aid. (Total out/back on this section: Penny Pines to Penny Pines: 4.6 miles.)

Elevation Profile

You will encounter 7,500 feet of elevation gain, with about 2,500 gain within the first part of the run. This makes for a very fast, downhill return (if your quads can take it!).