Corte Madera

Corte Madera

Status:  Advisory (Mar 1 – Jul 31)
Land Ownership: Cleveland National Forest
Access Issues: Seasonal Raptor Nesting Advisories (Mar-Aug)
Climbing: Multi-Pitch Sport and Trad


Nesting Advisory in Effect:

Peregrine Falcons have been seen again this year and are suspected to be preparing to nest in the Paul Bunyan Wall area.  The CNF has issued a closure from Mar 1 through Jul 31, 2012.


Corte Madera is a multi pitch back-country crag where routes are accessed from the base (approach of 1 to 1-1/2 hours), or rappelled into (approach of 3/4 to 1-1/4 hours). Approach times vary depending on the use of four-wheel or two-wheel drive vehicles to access separate trail-heads (a high-clearance vehicle with four wheel drive is recommended). Many climbs top out; rap-descents are required—unless you first hike to the bottom (via a separate approach trail), climb to the top, and hike back to your car via the ridge trail. Corte Madera is located within the Descanso District of the Cleveland National Forest.

When to Climb:

Most of the crag faces South and gets sun all day, but a number of routes on the satellite crags (El Nino, Video Dome, Rest Home) get morning or afternoon shade.  Fall through Spring is generally the best, but since the crag sits at 4,000′, even cooler Summer days can be climbable.


From San Diego, take I-8 east, exit at Buckman Springs, turn right and head south. Turn right at Corral Canyon Road and go approximately 5 miles to the first parking area (for two-wheel drive low-clearance vehicles), located on your left at a hairpin left turn near the gated entrance to Heartland Ranch. Four wheel drive vehicles can continue to Corral Canyon, turning right at four corners toward the Los Pinos fire-lookout tower. Go past the turn off to the tower and head down hill through a Forest Service gate on a dirt road until you come to a large saddle. You can park here for both the base-trail and ridge-trail approaches (the two-wheel drive parking area trail also converges here).  Beware – if the road is especially wet from recent rains, even the burliest 4WD rigs may not make it when the clay road turns into a slimy mess.

Guidebook Info: