Mount Soledad Cross and Park in San Diego

Sep 06, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Nestled high above the hills of La Jolla’s Mount Soledad Mountain, is the “Mount Soledad Cross.“ 

Mt. Soledad is about 820 feet high, and its western orientation overlooks the La Jolla coastline; its eastern vantage point view proffers views of Interstate 5 and surrounding communities; and the gentle south side includes the sights of the opposite side of the mountain, where Pacific Beach is located.

When I first entered Mount Soledad Park, I was consumed by its sheer beauty, depth of symbolism, its Latin cross, and the memorial plaques built to honor our Veterans. Although there’s been some controversy about the Cross, and whether it mixes religion and state, I’m only mentioning it because it’s been an ongoing issue. Personally, I feel it’s a whole lot of hullaballoo about nothing.

Luckily enough, my visit was during sunset, so the translucent beauty of the sky, sun, fog, ocean, Cross, lights and views afforded me the rare luxury of experiencing both place and time that such a landmark deserves.

Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial

Along with the Mt. Soledad Cross, meant to honor the fallen Veterans and active duty servicemen, the Mount Soledad Veterans Association has been building several Memorial Walls, as pictured below.

Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial

The Veterans Memorial Walls at Mt. Soledad comprise

  • Six concentric walls will ultimately hold 3,200 black granite plaques purchased by donors and engraved with the names and photos of war veterans – currently more than 2,700 are in place
  • Each plaque ‘tells the story’ of a veteran’s military service or that of a group’s military service
  • Unique memorial that honors U.S. veterans – living and deceased – that have been honorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. military
  • Includes uniformed members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard also Merchant Marine veterans who served during WWII
  • Originally dedicated as Korean War Veterans Memorial in 1952
  • Large American Flag proudly flies over the Memorial
  • 23 bollards honor community and veteran organizations (sold out)
  • Brick pavers honor veterans and supporters of Mt. Soledad (pending replacement of walkways by 2010)
  • Open to the public Source: Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial

Restoration of the Cross

In December 2008, a local San Diego painting contractor, Bay Cal Painting donated time and material to restore the cross. "Workers used a 60-foot boom to power-wash the monument and re-weld parts of the steel interior. They used 25 gallons of paint on the cross and applied another four to eight gallons to the fence and green base around the cross. [Jim] Codde, [co-owner of Bay Cal painting], said the project, done by his company and several others, could have cost $40,000 at market prices. That’s excluding the maintenance the company has said it will handle for the next 20 years. Source: Wikipedia

Starting at the mountain’s base at the bottom, which is at the intersection of La Jolla Scenic Drive and Torrey Pines Road, here is the route to get to the top of Mt. Soledad:

View Road to Mt. Soledad in a larger map

The winding road up the hill is narrow and hilly, but there is parking at the top. Most of the houses on Mount Soledad are among the most expensive and modern in the country–with most homes starting price at or around 3 – 5 million dollars. Their views are of the Pacific Ocean and much of the architecture of the area is hyper post-modern, sleek, and elegant.   Mount Soledad Park has a grassy area surrounding the Cross, with several benches and vantage points to take advantage of the view, or to just sit down and relax with a friend.

Sunset on Mount Soledad

The sun is setting upon the ocean; and the skies and clouds become one with the Soledad Cross and Park. In an upcoming story, I’ll feature photos of the various vantage points during my sunset visit, because when Travelin’ Local in Southern California, some days it feels like you’re literally in Paradise.

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Culture, San Diego

3 Responses to “Mount Soledad Cross and Park in San Diego”

  1. Kevin says:

    I’ve always been in favor of having memorials for those that serve our countries. I’m not a big “war” person and would prefer that we keep out of many situations but the least we can do is remember.

    What a fantastic view as well. I’ll be down there this spring and will try and make the trip up. Don’t think I’ll be buying one of the houses however!
    Kevin´s last blog ..Camping at Gordon Bay Provincial Park, Cowichan Lake My ComLuv Profile


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kevin, It’s definitely worth the drive. Looking at the soldier’s plaques really brings home the idea of each soldier.

    Oh, and you’re right, the views are great.


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