The East Mesa Loop of the Cuyamaca Mountains is considered to be the "Grand Tour" of the East Mesa area. This hike is a 10.5 mile loop, which should take about 5 1/2 hours. The terrain is considered moderately strenuous with about 1,300' elevation gain/loss. Learn more about this hike from Jerry Schad's "Afoot and Afield San Diego County." (page 239, 4th edition).
We'll meet off Hwy 79 in the large parking lot area just south of the Sweetwater River Bridge. The trailhead is at mile 4.9 according to the Hwy 79 mile markers. Let's meet at 7:45am for an 8:00am start. Please RSVP so I know whether to expect you! You do not need an Adventure Pass for parking in this area and there is no day use fee.
I'll be packing my normal goodies for this longer day hike: 3L hydration and a Gatorade, snacks, trekking poles, hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, sturdy boots, camera, and emergency items (headlamp, first aid, compass, whistle, etc.). Bring enough water for the entire hike as water for filtering will not be dependable.
Let me know if you have any questions, see you on the trail!