Julian and the surrounding areas offer a number of outstanding hiking trails and wildlife-viewing opportunities. But one trail that stands out is the hike to Eagle Rock. To reach the trailhead, follow Highway 78 west, toward Ramona.
Once you reach Santa Ysabel, turn right onto Highway 79, toward Warner Springs. After about 13 miles, you will reach the Warner Springs Fire Station at 31049 Highway 79. There is a small area on the side of the road across from the station where people may park. The entrance to the trail is on the same side of the highway as the fire station.
After parking, cross the road carefully and enter through a small gate to the right of the station. The trail guides hikers through beautiful woodlands and into low-growing chaparral before transitioning into rolling grasslands.
Once hikers reach the grasslands area, they will notice a rather unassuming pile of rocks in the distance — this is your destination. As you round the opposite side of the pile, step back and take a look at the massive rocks that have been etched away by sand and wind to form what is called Eagle Rock. Perched with its rocky wings open, it certainly resembles a raptor of some kind. This is a great place to rest, and perhaps eat lunch, before heading back on the trail.
Eagle Rock is an out-and-back hike that totals approximately 6.5 miles. It may be considered easy to moderate in terms of difficulty. With fewer than 1,000 feet in elevation change, most of the challenge comes from the distance of the hike. The beautiful setting and ease of the trail make Eagle Rock stand out — not to mention the iconic formation from which it derives its name!
By Angela McLaughlin