Drippings Springs Trail immediately begins to climb out of the campground on a well-graded incline. The next mile contains some climbing leading to a set of switchbacks. A long strenuous climb ensues until the 3,200' elevation is reached. The trail then makes an easy southward traverse of a basin before resuming a climb to the southwest. A ridge ascent leads to another traverse and the crossing of the only potential water along the trail (seasonal). After crossing the drainage, a short set of stacked switchbacks is climbed leading to a climbing traverse to the trail terminus on the northwest ridge of Agua Tibia Mountain. This is the junction with the Palomar-Magee Trail and occurs in a nice oak grove - suitable for camping. (A visitor pass is required for overnight stays in the backcountry. Campfires are not permitted at any time.)
Forest maps available at Palomar Ranger District Office located on Black Canyon Road in Ramona.
Directions: From San Diego, CA, Take Interstate 15 north to Highway 79. Take Hwy. 79 south 11 miles to Dripping Springs. Turn right and park in trailhead parking lot. (Vehicles must display a Forest Adventure Pass.) The trail is reached by walking south from the parking lot half a mile through Dripping Springs Campground.
Elevation: 1,600 feet
Elevation Gain: 2,800 feet
Distance: 6.8 miles
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Cleveland National Forest, California
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