*This article is a 3 minute read.
This hike was billed as "family friendly." Its mostly flat surface appealed to my post-Covid physique. It also seemed doable for my eleven year old son, and our five year old golden retriever Luke. Luke's a dog who uncharacteristically is more happy lounging in suburbia than roughing it in the wild. He's more couch potato than anyone, he practically screams, "Pass the remote!"
We brought a gallon and a half of water, lunch, and dog food. We checked the Julian weather "high of 71." A dog website also claimed that this hike was ideal for canines. When we arrived at the trail, we spoke to some elderly hikers who had just wrapped up their hike. "It's easy," they reassured us.
Off we went on the seven mile plus trail past picturesque oak trees. Blue jays and woodpeckers flew over our heads, and there was some semblance of foliage.
We started to get tired half way through the trail. My dog was panting an awful lot. We took several water breaks in the shade. My son started a series of questions, "Are we there yet?" "Is that the eagle?" We took a lunch break sitting atop shady rocks. It felt like the set of a Western as we munched on our sandwiches. In the distance I saw something that resembled a lemur, but that can't be since we weren't in Madagasgar. It was about sixty feet away. It started to play and pounce in the air like a kitten, but why would a cat be in the middle of nowhere? It suddenly dawned on me, that this "cat" could easily be a mountain lion cub.
I carefully gathered our belongings, and told my kid to keep walking. As we headed back on the trail, about 100 feet away we spotted a coyote. He/she was definitely checking us out. Our dog was leashed, and we just walked closely together in one large mass. There's power in numbers, the herd, or pack needs to stick together. The coyote lost interest in us and headed in another direction whew!
After walking for ninety plus minutes, we could finally see the eagle in the distance. We cheered with excitement. Is this how Dorothy felt when she first had a glimpse of the Emerald City?
Legend has it this eagle rock was formed by wind and took thousands of years to look like its present self. What the wind molded is an undeniable resemblance of an eagle. Even more significant, this rock lays direction atop the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is a trail that spans from Mexico to Canada along the crest of the mountains in California, Oregon, and Washington and is 2,659 miles long.
So Was it Worth The Trip?
Indeed yes! We loved studying the boulders, taking in the views, feeling the wind and the power of nature in this majestic spot. I felt akin to the Native Americans that lived off this land for ten thousand years. It was a moment in our lives that we will never forget. It was worth the aches and pains, and our usual fear of not having enough water.
Luke's tired bones were starting to feel weary. He stopped walking and gave me a dead pan stare. I picked up my fur baby and kept walking. When I put him down to catch my breath, Luke got a second wind and thankfully finished the trail.
We made it to the end of our odyssey and back to the comfort of our car, GPS to guide us home, and a bevy of great local eateries in nearby Julian. Of course we stopped at Julian Pie Company for apple cider and apple pie. Guys, the cider was worth the trip alone, and the pie was a hit as always.
Nature called upon us, and brought us to this spectacular place, and we experienced Fall in a new way.
Warner Springs, CA 92086
Trailhead: 33.273099, -116.645302
Eagle Rock: 33.254614, -116.611742
Hike: Approximately 7 miles 2-way
Leashed Dogs Okay-Not recommended on warm days. *Check the weather
Recommended for Kids-10+
Free parking is available across the road from the Warner Springs Fire Dept.
Entrance to trail is next to the Fire Dept. Please remember to close all the gates to prevent cows from escaping the trail. Also, remember to take your trash home. There are no bathrooms on this trail.