CA Section: Campo (Mexican Border) to Lake Morena (Leg Dist. 20mi) Leg 1

California Section A =109 miles: Campo – Warner Springs / You are viewing Leg 1 below of Section A:

  • Viewing: Campo (Mexican Border) to Lake Morena – Leg 1 is 20 miles

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Click here to view info on how to get to San Diego / or to the Southern Terminus and where to stay.

Click here to view Google Earth following the trail from Campo to Warner Springs for the entire Section A / As well as 3 videos covering: Campo to Lake Morena / LM to Mt. Laguna / Mt. Lag to Scissors Crossing (Julian)

The PCT begins on a low hill near Campo (elev. 2,915′), a small town near the Mexican border. It then passes through Lake Morena County Park.  Campo to Lake Morena is a 20 mile/29.9 kilometer moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Campo, California.


Leg 1 Distance is 20 miles. We are estimating it taking us 2 days to get to Lake Morena

Daily hiking goals:

Day 1 = 11-15 miles

Day 2 = 5-9 miles

We will camp on the trail on our way to Lake Morena. We could try and walk it in 10 hours but it’s best to break it in half since we will get used to our packs, the weight, etc.

We will camp at the 11-mile marker or push to the 15-mile marker. The next day will be a shorter trek into the campsite at Lake Morena where we will set up camp and reflect on the start of this incredibly huge journey ahead of us and record a podcast.

Night Two, we will sleep at the Lake Morena Campground mingling with other hikers. We probably get a pizza and some beer from the Oak Shores Malt Shop.

  • Lake Morena Campground is well used to hikers and has enough space to cater for a very large crowd.
  • Just up the road, you will find an excellent little cafe that serves really good fast food. There is also a small general store and the locals are super friendly around here.  
  • As for the campsite itself, the showers and toilets are excellent while the grass is near perfect throughout.  Note: Lake Morena campground costs $5 per person.

Online General Hiker Notes on this section:

  • Tough. First 8-10 mi or so was relatively easy with some rolling hills. Descent to Hauser Creek was long and climb out was steep and difficult. Amazing views throughout the hike. Brought 5L of water which was just enough.
  • This is a tough section of trail. After the first mile or two, the next eight to nine miles are mostly an uphill slog. Be careful with your water rationing. I did not find a campsite until mile 11.2 on the AllTrails GPS app. Keep your eye out for a small clearing on your left through some bushes. It’s mostly flat, but toward the rear, in front of some bushes on the other side
  • I only had about a liter and a half of water, out of 6 liters, left the next day to make it to Lake Morena. It wasn’t enough. Again, ration your water.
  • There was another campsite I saw further up the trail, but it wasn’t until about between miles 13 and 15, I believe. Hindsight being 20/20, I’d say the best options are to either plan to camp at about 11.2 miles or just go to Lake Morena in one day (about 20 miles even though the map says 18.7).

Vlogs covering section:

Mari Johnston Vlog:

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