California Section A: Campo – Warner Springs
- Viewing: Campo (Mexican Border) to Lake Morena (20mi/32.2km) Leg 1-Sec A
- Lake Morena to Mt. Laguna – Leg 2 is 22.8 miles
- Mt. Laguna to Scissors Crossing (Hwy 78 to Julian) – Leg 3 is 34,2 miles
- Julian to Warner Springs – Leg 4 is 32.5 miles
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California Section A ( Sec Dist-109.5 miles / 176.3 kilometres) / Campo, CA to Warner Springs, CA (Individual blog posts will be created and clickable links will be added below once post drops)
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 29.9 kilometer moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Campo, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult.
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 where we will chill longer and get hydrated or maybe keep hiking towards Mt. Laguna and into Leg 2.
Night Two: Lake Morena Campground:
- 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:
- 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).
Section Videos & Links:
- AllTrails: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/pct-campo-to-lake-morena?u=m
- Map for the first section: https://caltopo.com/m/NQ1C
- Watch Birdseye’s view of walking this section: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ7kobPSeVs / Funny note: Chantal and myself watched this one and as we were watching this 11 min video of following the first 20 miles of the trail… I asked Chantal what she thought of it. She thought it was the whole PCT! I said no, it’s day one and the next day we walk something like this again and we do this for the next 6 months. LOL
Vlogs covering section:
Mari Johnston Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVwLjPzqLRg