Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

Share me!


Dog-Friendly: Yes    Kid-Friendly: Yes

We explored this spot in early autumn and came across FOUR rattlesnakes in under an hour at NIGHT! Pretty darn scary! This whole area was once inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. There are mortars and metates which can also be found in this region.

In the springtime, this area becomes a rainbow of color. You can spot California poppies, lupines, owl’s clover, popcorn flower, phacelia, wild morning glories, ground pink, and wishbone bush.

In this area we found an old cistern that appears to have been built sometime in the late 50’s/early 60’s going by aerial photos, an old mining prospect and a stone dam. In the late 1800’s a prospector found gold in this region creating a small gold-rush flurry.

Here is an old newspaper article from March 4th, 1896:

“With the expenditure of time and energy in a diligent search, there seems to be good grounds for believing that there may be deposits of gold in our adjacent range of bills that might well pay for development. A dozen or two assays of specimens taken from different points have with but few exception resulted in a showing of gold ranging from a fraction of a dollar to between four and five dollars per ton.

It would seem reasonable to conclude that where nearly every specimen of rock, varying in character, and obtained a different points, has contained more than traces of gold, it is quite possible that valuable mines right at our back doors may be waiting to deliver up their weather to our town’s prospective millionaires”

There are several different theories floating around by some locals:

“When I was in my early teens we used to hike back in there and shoot our 22s . There was a lot of broken arrow heads and stone flakes, also pottery shards. The rock dam may have been local Indians . We use to goof around in those caves.”

“I think the dam was built to support the defunct mining operation. I don’t think it was an Indian-built dam. There’s metal pipes and drainage built into it.”

“That’s the cave my brother lived in. He is a Vietnam veteran, who is also a hillbilly. In the 1990’s he was homeless after a failed marriage, so he packed up what he had left and went up there. He found that cave and it became his home for close to a year.”

After talking to the local historical society, they do not believe that the wall was built by the Kumeyaay because it is a different design. It appears that it most likely was built around the same time that the mine was used.


During springtime this area is filled with poppies!

Our first time hiking this trail was at night and we took a different route than I do now.  This experience was sketchy and not a good indication of what a normal hike out here is like:

That’s an approximate 8 ft. drop below. This was actually remarkably sturdy:

The first thing we found was an old cistern:

After a little night digging we came across one of two alleged mining prospects. We did not find the second mine we were looking for as it was pitch black. Next time!

They’re lurrrrrkiiiingggg……

Share me!

Subscribe to our E-mail Newsletter


6 Reviews

Rating 0
Overall Rating 0
Difficulty Finding 0

6 Reviews


  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I noticed one of your photos has what appears to be a lot of ghostly orbs in it.

    These orbs may be the ghosts of the Indian people who

    occupied the land long ago.

    Very interesting photo!

    August 19, 2016

  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    You have some good photos.

    Especially the rattlesnake photos.

    I recently moved to an apartment building next to Rattlesnake Mountain. I have been wanting to go up the mountain and explore it.

    The information you gave and the photos you showed are very helpful.

    After seeing the rattlesnake. Photos, I’m wondering if I should go up the mountain. I sure don’t want to have any bad snake encounters.

    August 19, 2016

  • Jessica
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Orbs may also just be orbs.

    April 23, 2017

  • Whyit
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Is this in santee?

    June 1, 2017

  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding


    No not in Santee

    January 8, 2019

  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    How much of the mountain is really accessible or are you trespassing on private land?

    December 14, 2019

Write a Review