Many of you may not be aware that Poway has opened the trail to equestrians. It pretty much has always been a multiuse trail, but with the lovely and safer new staging area for parking, horse trailers are now allowed and horses can be on the trail.
I talked with Poway’s parks representative way back in February to inquire about access for horse folks at Iron Mountain and was told that, indeed, the intentions were to allow horses. I decided to wait to tell you about until all of the construction was done and it was ready to use.
Of course I anticipate it being too hot to ride out here for a while, but fall, winter and spring will provide cooler weather for riding, of course.
The staging area is nice and has restrooms available with vault toilets. There is no water available and this area can get really hot, even if the breeze is blowing. The parking is not the most horse friendly, but it is appreciated that it’s available for our use. There are no tie rails and room is tight to say the least.
I always see the parking lot (staging area) packed full on weekends and most evenings, but if your timing is right you can park with room to tack up your horse. Weekdays are probably your best bet for decent parking.
The Iron Mountain trail is just over six miles. At the present time it is out and back, but I am hoping to work toward opening the Ramona side of the hill and get some trails on our side of the mountain. The trail could be very near in Ramona, presently not open to equestrian trail use.
One of my good friends is an avid hiker and she enjoys Iron Mountain and the challenge it provides. She loves the “good workout” trudging up the hill. I think she’s crazy.
At the Iron Mountain parking area there is a small, wooden bridge at the trail head and many a horse have never had the experience of crossing a bridge. The change from dirt to wood and the hollow sound can scare your horse, so try to prepare and practice before your visit.
The terrain is rugged and rocky most of the way. At the top of the hill there is a mailbox that contains a guestbook, a cute way for folks to share their experience. I have to admit, I have never seen another trail with this idea, and they’ve done this on Iron Mountain for years. It’s fun to read about others’ adventures out there. The sweeping views of the area are beautiful, and on a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean.
Iron Mountain is open to all trail users including bicyclists and hikers and is quite popular with trail runners. Areas of the trail are steep and there are places that will require your pony pal to think as large rocks and rock steps or wooden steps make the trail a challenge, especially on the way down.
There are areas of the trail that are more like a ranch road, but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this trail to most of the equestrians I know. Some of you will want a challenge like this, so strap on those Cavallo equine boots—Cricket’s are pink—put on your helmet and try out Iron Mountain if you’re up for a challenging ride, in the cooler fall weather.