The first time I hiked Double Peak was on an early spring morning, in the fog of a heavy marine layer. When we broke through the fog at the peak, the surrounding mountains appeared as islands in a sea of cotton. When the fog cleared, my breath was taken away and this became my favorite hike.
On January 5, 2001, I read about geocaching in Outside Magazine. On Jan 6 I visited the geocaching.com website and discovered that the nearest cache was in the Laguna Mountains. So, on Sunday, Jan 7, 2001, I installed the first San Diego metro area cache, on the side of a costal mountain named Double Peak, the second highest in the Cerro de las Posas Mountains, in the heart of San Marcos.
You’ll have a good workout and a lot of fun finding this cache following the trail leading up Double Peak from Discovery Lake in San Marcos. Throughout the 800 feet of elevation gain you're greeted by sweeping ocean and mountain views.
Double Peak has a marked trail leading from the parking lot at Discovery Lake. Start at Lakeview Park in San Marcos (at Foxhall and Buckthorn - Thomas Guide 1128). It's a popular hike, so the cache is stashed in dense chaparral, out of sight of any trails, so that if there are other hikers in the area, you will be out of sight.
The real reward for this cache is the spectacular views you’ll enjoy throughout San Diego county. On a clear day, you feel like you’re on top of the world. To your west is the Pacific Ocean (San Clemente and Santa Catalina islands are visible on clear Santa Ana days). East are the Cuyamacas and Laguna, south is Tecate Peak on the Mexican border and beyond into Mexico. North is the Palomar range.
If the visibility is good, and you have binoculars, you can just barely see the lookout tower at High Point on Palomar Mountain. The huge Hale telescope dome on Palomar is hidden, but I think I can make out some the smaller domes in binocs as white specks. What can you see?
When you find the cache, the log book will give you instructions on where I like to take a break and view the peaks I’ve listed below. The clearer the day, the further you can see. The antenna on the closer peaks are visible naked eye (Woodsen Mt, Black Mt), the more distant antenna are visible only through binocs. Visibility varies with moisture and haze.
If you have a magnetic compass, you can use the magnetic bearings provided below to get a fix on which mountain is which. All the bearings are listed as Magnetic North (MN) so that they line up exactly with your compass. (Magnetic North is 13 degrees “more” than True North in this area of the United States.)
Mt San Onofre MN 301 degrees 25 miles
Palomar Observatory MN 33 degrees (25 miles)
High Point Lookout MN 35 degrees (26 miles)
Volcan Mt in Julian MN 70-73 degrees (33 miles)
North Peak MN 88 degrees - 35 miles
Middle Peak MN 91 degrees – 35 miles
Cuyamaca Peak MN 95 degrees – 35 miles
Woodsen Mountain MN 106 degrees – 14 miles (antenna)
Iron Mt MN 113 degrees 16 miles
Lyons Peak MN 126 degrees 37 miles (antenna)
Tecate Mt MN 128 degrees 46 miles (antenna)
Cowles Mt MN 144 degrees 22 miles(antenna)
Black Mt MN 145 degrees 10 miles (antenna)
Paint Mountain MN 166 degrees – 3 miles (house on top)