If your looking for a lot of visual bang for your hiking buck, Stonewall Peak Trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is the ticket. This a steep, two-mile out-and-back trail brings you to a stony outcrop that offers stunning 360-degree views of the expansive landscape.
The view from the top takes in much of surrounding Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Cuyamaca Lake to the northwest and some of Anza Borrego Desert State Park to the northeast.
The hike, which begins at a trailhead just across Route 78 from Paso Picacho Campground, winds through a series of long switchbacks to the 5,700-foot summit. Moving at a moderate pace, it will take you about an hour to get to the top.
Shade is scarce. Bring plenty of water, especially during the summer months, when it can get brutally hot with the sun beating down on you.
Take I-8 about 35 miles east of San Diego. Take exit 40 and take CA-79 north for miles, until you see the Paso Picacho Campground on the left. The trailhead is just across CA-79 from the campground. You can park in the campground parkinglot, but will need to pay a day use fee.