Ditch the flip-flops for laces and head out on certainly one of these greatest San Diego hikes that will take you along coastal trails, out to waterfalls, and even to a potato-chip-shaped rock. On this record, I’ve included 30 of many popular trails that locals and visitors love along with their lengths, areas, and ranges of issue.
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Balboa Park Trails
Balboa Park is residence to 19 hiking and biking trails span sixty five miles and supply varying degrees of issue. These are sometimes considered some of the best hikes in San Diego. One of the more in style hikes in Balboa Park is a 6.5-mile loop referred to as the Seven Bridge Walk.
Another is the Florida Canyon Trail, a 2.1-mile trail that leads you through lovely wildflowers. Balboa Parks Gardens Loop, Morley Field Trail, and Balboa Park Loop are three different stunning trails for individuals who wish to cease and odor the California wildflowers. You can obtain a PDF map of the trails.
Difficulty: Easy to average
Location: Balboa Park, San Diego
Batiquitos Lagoon (Carlsbad)
Lake and trail paths at the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad, CaliforniaEnjoy the superbly preserved coastal wetlands of Batiquitos Lagoon. The trail is wide and flat, which means that wheelchairs and strollers can be utilized right here. Leashed canine are welcome.
You can also verify the calendar for guided public walks like chook watching. There are additionally guided walks that teach you about the conservation efforts being made to guard chook, plant, insect and animal habitats. This is a great choice for those seeking to be taught a thing or two while hiking in San Diego. Apart from beautiful views of the lake, you’ll additionally be capable of maintain a lookout for California wildlife while you’re on the transfer.
Length: three.2 miles
Directions: 7380 Gabbiano Ln, Carlsbad
Big Laguna Trail (Mount Laguna)
The Big Laguna Trail (often referred to as the BLT trail) has numerous trailheads by way of pine, oak, and a lake with expansive meadows. Take all of it in on this trail while hiking near San Diego. You’ll must buy an Adventure Pass to park at certain trailheads.
Length: 10-mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate to troublesome
Directions: Take Sunrise Highway from I-8 (near Pine Valley) and drive north 13.5 miles to just previous the second cattle guard on the freeway. Access to the Big Laguna trail is through the Nobel Canyon trail departing the western turnout, marked by a small signal. Follow the Nobel Canyon trail about one hundred yards to succeed in the Big Laguna trail junction.
Black Mountain Open Space Park (Rancho Peñasquitos)
Black Mountain Open Space Park has a number of hiking and biking trails that wind by way of chaparral-covered canyons, native grasslands, and creekside areas. There is a 360-degree view of San Diego from the summit of Black Mountain for those who get pleasure from a extra strenuous hike.
While strolling San Diego trails, be positive to maintain your eyes peeled for movement, as there are plenty of animals to be spotted. Mule deer, desert woodrats, and bobcats are among the many mostly noticed animals within the space.
Difficulty: Easy to difficult
Directions: From Interstates 5 or 15, take state Route fifty six to Black Mountain Road and head north.
Cardiff Beach to Swami’s
Swami’s Point in Encinitas, CAMany walkers, runners, and cyclists get pleasure from attractive views from this paved cliffside path from Cardiff State Beach as much as Swami’s Beach. You can access the seaside from the steps at Swami’s.
This is a kind of easy hikes in San Diego. Although it may be short, don’t underestimate it as it could be somewhat bit of a steep stroll at times. The coastal views make it a popular place to take photographs, especially if you’re heading there during golden hour (sunrise or sunset).
Length: 1.7 miles every method
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Cedar Creek Falls and Devil’s Punchbowl (Ramona)
This in style trail is for these of you who prefer to chase waterfalls and it is still thought of a San Diego hidden gem. It’s essential to have a allow to hike this trail.
Note that Cedar Creek Falls is much less strong in the summertime so the pool at its base (Devil’s Punchbowl) gets slightly funky with algae. Be certain to deliver at least a gallon of water per individual.
Length: 5.2 miles (8.5 miles should you hike to the top of the falls) round journey
Directions: Thornbush Road, Ramona. Once you get to the end of Thornbush Road, the beginning of the trail will be on your left.
Cowles Mountain (Mission Trails Regional Park)
Vistas of the pacific coast and the town of San Diego are seen within the trek up the mountain which is in the metropolis of San Diego.The Cowles Mountain Trail leads to the highest summit in San Diego where you’ll be able to see Mexico and even Orange County. It is especially spectacular at sunrise or sunset. You’ll definitely wish to have your camera with you for this as it’s top-of-the-line hikes in San Diego with breathtaking panoramic views.
I suggest packing a lightweight, durable digicam just like the GoPro Hero eight, for high quality view footage and images, without the trouble of lugging around a heavy camera and multiple lenses.
Length: three miles out and back
Directions: Take Interstate 8 to the College Avenue exit. Proceed north on College Avenue to Navajo Road. Turn proper and proceed on Navajo Road to Golfcrest Drive. Turn left on Golfcrest Drive to enter the car parking zone.
Cuyamaca Peak Loop Trail (Descanso)
Cuyumaca peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California is a great day hike with nice views on the summit.The Cuyamaca Peak Loop Trail presents spectacular views of mountains and valleys. In fact, this could be thought of probably the greatest hikes near San Diego for these who recognize an excellent view. On a clear day, you probably can count on to see pretty Southern California vistas and even to so far as Mexico and over the ocean to the Channel Islands.
It’s the second-highest peak within the county and, sure, it does snow right here in winter. It’s a state park, however dogs are welcome.
Length: 6.7 miles round journey
Difficulty: moderate to troublesome
Directions: From I-805S, take I-8W and exit CA-79N/ Japatul Valley Rd towards Julian. Continue on CA-79N and park at the Paso Picacho Campground (daily parking fees apply).
Double Peak Trail (San Marcos)
Aerial view of Double Peak Park in San Marcos. The Double Peak Trail boasts views of the ocean and inland. This is likely certainly one of the prime hikes in San Diego as it boasts a big selection of attainable actions. Hiking, backpacking, and even horseback riding are permitted. Leashed canines are also welcome to join their homeowners on the trail.
You also can drive to the height of the trail where there is a beautiful spot with picnic benches if you’re looking for an beautiful view with out all the onerous work.
Length: four.1-mile loop
Directions: Start at Lakeview Park off Foxhall in Discovery Hills. Cross the spillway bridge and the Discovery Lake Dam, and proceed up the paved street that winds up the hill.
El Cajon Mountain
El Cajon Mountain has steeply inclined trails with panoramic views. The trails are mainly used for hiking, biking, nature journeys, and horseback using. Leashed canine also are welcome, and hiking poles are recommended. This is as a outcome of the trails are often strenuous and steep. Having a helping hand (or pole), never hurts.
There’s very little shade on this mountain, so pack a hiking hat that may maintain your face out of the sun.
Length: 10.9 miles
Directions: I-8 E from San Diego to Hwy 67 N to Willow Eastbound to Wildcat Canyon road north-bound. In 3.2 miles, there shall be a parking zone on the corner of Blue Sky Ranch Road. Parking is out there.
Guajome Regional Park (Oceanside)
The lovely loop trail at Guajome Regional Parkis suitable for all ranges. There is also a campground and old adobe house right here.
The trail will lead you thru wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, so your environment is consistently altering throughout the stroll. Hiking in San Diego doesn’t get more diversified than this. Unfortunately, there is little or no signage alongside the trail, so downloading an app like AllTrails before you take on the challenge is a nice way to ensure your security.
Length: 4.5-mile loop
Difficulty: Easy to average
Location: 3000 Guajome Lake Rd
Iron Mountain Trail (Poway)
Iron Mountain is well-liked inland hike east of San Diego. Signed trail ascends ~450m vertical and 4.5 km to the summit granting fantastic panoramic views of San Diego County.The Iron Mountain Trailoffers magnificent views of Coastal San Diego County. It’s a great place to see wildflowers in season and supplies greater than only one activity.
Apart from being residence to some of the best hiking in San Diego, running, biking, and ice-climbing are also nice fun. There are a quantity of methods to get to the summit, however the principle trail is the preferred and busy on weekends.
Length: 5.6-mile loop
Directions: From I-15, exit, and journey east on Poway Road. After passing through the town of Poway, Poway Road will dead-end at Highway sixty seven. The trailhead might be on the other side of Highway 67.
Lake Calavera Trails (Carlsbad)
Did you realize that Mount Calavera is one of three volcanic plugs in Southern California? Yes, it’s an extinct volcano.
Lake Calavera is a human-made reservoir (you could not swim in it) which has an nearly 2-mile loop trail round it, however there are four different miles of trails right here for walks, mountain biking, and leashed canine. It’s a unique spot with 17 native vegetation communities and pretty views.
Length: 6 miles
Location: Look at the trail map to determine the place you’d like to begin. On-street parking and parking heaps are indicated.
Lake Hodges: Coast to Crest Trail (Escondido)
The Coast to Crest Trail is part of a restoration project that will finally reach 70 miles from Del Mar beach to Volcan Mountain.
The part near Lake Hodges is especially lovely and has wonderful views of mountains and birds. The trail is okay for mountain biking, leashed dogs, and horseback driving. The great variety makes this probably the greatest San Diego hikes within the space.
A rear view of a 6 12 months old boy riding through yellow flowers in the mounatins,Length: 7.5 miles out and again
Difficulty: Easy to average
Directions: Escondido Fwy & E Via Rancho Pkwy & I-15, Escondido, CA Lake Poway to Mount Woodson (Potato Chip Rock — Poway)
Snap a photo on top of the “potato chip” rock hovering over the Earth. Potato Chip Rock is considered one of the most iconic features of San Diego hiking trails. The trail could be narrow and steep in parts, but the views are price it.
Brave young grownup lady hiker stands on prime of Potato Chip Rock in San Diego CaliforniaYou can obtain a trail map before you go.
Length: 6.four miles spherical trip
Directions: From Espola Road, go to the Lake Poway entrance. Daily parking fees apply.
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Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail
Aerial view of Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve with vacationers, hikers, and bikers on the trails.The Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail is suitable for all ages and skillsets as a outcome of it’s a relatively flat hike. Enjoy waterfalls and creeks along with 500 species of crops and 175 different birds.
You can start on and get off the trail at numerous factors which makes it straightforward to tailor-make the hike to your explicit health degree.
Length: 4.7 miles
Directions: Exit the 15 Freeway on Mira Mesa Blvd. Head west and switch right on Black Mountain Rd. Head north and turn left on Canyonside Rd. Parking is out there right here. Check the trail map for other parking spots.
Moonlight Beach to Beacons Beach
Walk alongside cliffs and previous beautiful homes between Moonlight Beach in Encinitas and Beacon’s Beach in Leucadia. Beacon’s Beach has a windy trail right down to the sand, but that is a simple walk otherwise.
Enjoy stunning views of the coastline and breathe in the salty ocean air as you go. If you’re in search of some of the enjoyable places to hike in San Diego County, that is sure to be it. The picturesque layout of the shoreline makes it additionally a great place to take some travel pictures.
Length: 1.four miles each means
Difficulty: Easy to reasonable
Mission Trails Regional Park: Oak Canyon Trail (San Diego)
At Mission Trails Regional Park, hike along a babbling stream that flows deep into the canyon. It’s known as the Oak Canyon Trail, and though much less famous than Cowles Mountain, it’s stunning, and you can cross the stream at specific points.
No matter what time of year you decide to go hiking alongside this trail, you’ll get the chance to see old oak timber which were growing on this San Diego area for years.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Directions: The trailhead is accessible from the Old Mission Dam parking lot. Walk down the pathway to the San Diego River and cross the bridge.
Pacific Crest Trail: Penny Pines to Garnet Peak (Pine Valley)
This part of the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail offers spectacular views of North County. You will need an Adventure Pass to park as it’s located in the Cleveland National Forest.
If you intend to hike long distances on the Pacific Crest Trail (it spans from Mexico to Canada, by way of California), you’ll want a unique allow and to verify other info necessities.
Length: 2.3 miles out and back
Directions: Take I-8 E and exit at Sunrise Highway. Start at the Penny Pines Trailhead about 27 miles up Sunrise Highway. Follow the Pacific Crest Trail to Garnet Peak by way of Laguna Recreation Area.
Rancho Carrillo Trails (Carlsbad)
The Rancho Carrillo Trails in Carlsbad are great for beginners, families, and mountain bikers. You can stroll across the Leo Carrillo Ranch and see its peacocks, too.
You’re sure to see loads of wildflowers and massive cactus plants alongside the greatest way. This San Diego hike reveals you suburbia and nature in equal proportions, so prepare for a wholesome dose of variety on this well-liked hiking trail.
Length: 4 miles (two-loop system)
Directions: Take Palomar Airport Road east to Melrose Drive. Right on Melrose Drive south to Poinsettia Lane. Right on Poinsettia Lane, continue west to stop signal (Carrillo Elementary School shall be on the left).
Left into Carrillo Elementary School car parking zone drive then immediately on the best is paved car parking zone at the trailhead.
San Elijo Lagoon (Encinitas)
A San Elijo Lagoon trailThe San Elijo Lagoon trails vary from easy to difficult and wind round a really diverse coastal wetland. Check the Conservancy’s calendar for family-friendly instructional workshops, events, and guided San Diego hiking excursions.
The trail will lead you through saltwater and freshwater marsh, in addition to coastal scrubs. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of shorebirds and ducks that absolutely thrive in the marshlands. This makes it one of the best hiking places in San Diego for households.
Difficulty: Easy to reasonable
Location: The lagoon is on Cardiff Beach to Swami’s lake, Encinitas
San Luis Rey River Trail (Oceanside)
The San Luis Rey River Trail is a family-friendly multiuse trail that hikers, runners, rollerbladers, cyclists, and dogs on leashes can get pleasure from.
It starts near the seashore after which heads inland supplying you with a variety of beach and neighborhood views along the greatest way. The trail is smooth many of the method, so feel free to take a set of wheels with you for whenever you get tired.
Length: 7.2 miles a technique
Directions: You can access it from multiple points. Check the trail map to see where you wish to start.
Santa Margarita River Trail (Fallbrook)
Fallbrook’s best-kept secret presents swimming holes and oak woodlands. The Santa Margarita River Trailis suitable for all hiking ranges. Horseback driving and mountain biking are also allowed.
There is a superb number of photo opportunities along the best way, so be sure to pack a digicam. You’ll get some epic California hike photographs for Instagram and achieve some severe likes with all of the applicable travel hashtags.
Length: 5.2 miles out and back
Directions: I-15 N to Fallbrook exit. Take Mission Rd. 5 miles east; flip north onto Pico Ave. (becomes De Luz Rd.). Continue 2.four mi.; go proper at the fork onto Sandia Creek Dr. North. The parking area is at 1 mi. (just before the bridge); the trailhead is east of the lot.
The Slot (Borrego Springs)
The Slot, a narrow siltstone canyon trail at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is considered one of the distinctive hikes in all of San Diego County. You’ll make your means via a slender passage in the canyon which might make for an excellent picture.
If you’re up for somewhat journey with out the pressure of taking on a really lengthy hike, this is the trail for you. The trailhead just isn’t marked and never near most visitor traffic, so you should ask the place to start out (get a map) or try these very detailed directions.
Length: 2 miles out and back
Location: Borrego Mountain Wash, Borrego Springs, (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park)
Stonewall Peak Trail
The Stonewall Peak Trail has a great forest setting with a variety of terrain. The starting of the trail is lined with oak timber making for a truly picturesque setting.
Hike to the summit for a 360-degree view of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park through to the last section which is an exposed ridge with steps and a handrail. You’ll get pleasure from spectacular Southern California views of Anza Borrego, the Laguna Mountains, as nicely as the Salton Sea.
Length: 3.8 miles
Directions: It’s situated throughout highway seventy nine from Paso Picacho campground. The trailhead is situated on the other aspect of Paso Picacho across CA-79.
Three Sisters Falls (Pine Valley)
Steep inclines and rocky terrain make Three Sisters Fallssuitable for knowledgeable hikers. You can hike to the highest of the waterfall, however it’s strenuous, to say the least.
But if you’re up for the challenge, the gorgeous San Diego area views are well well price the effort. Especially when the waterfall is cascading at full drive.
Length: three.5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Extremely hard
Directions: The trailhead is located on Boulder Creek Road where Cedar Creek highway intersects. You can park at this intersection, and follow the trail west along a ridge until you see one other trail intersect to the south.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (La Jolla)
Centrally positioned on the coast, the paths of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla are popular with families. In addition to finding rare Torrey Pines trees, it’s potential to spot dolphins and even whales during their seasonal migrations.
This was an early morning hike in La Jolla, CaliforniaThere are many various trails that snake themselves by way of the realm, so you’re positive to get an excellent dose of variety and a few stunning views. Meet at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Visitor Center for data and free public guided walks for households and small groups on weekends and holidays at 10 a.m. and a couple of p.m., and on Fridays at 10 a.m. (summer only) when the trails are open.
Length: three.three miles unfold out over a quantity of trails
Directions: Lots are situated at the South Beach entrance and at North Beach. Two small lots are on the mesa near the Lodge.
Upper Otay Reservoir (Chula Vista)
The Upper Otay Reservoir trail is a usually-quiet loop that wraps around the Upper Otay Lake. A number of useless trees stand up out of the lake and make the proper perch for the birds that frequent the world. This makes it the right trail for chook watching. Leashed canine are also welcome, so be happy to bring your furry good friend to hike along this San Diego County hiking trail.
The gates to the reservoir are solely open from February by way of to October as a end result of extreme weather conditions. However, pedestrians are allowed on the trail all year-round.
Length: 2.1-mile loop
Directions: Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista
Vista Conservancy Trail
The ever-expanding Vista Conservancy Trail takes hikers previous Native American grinding stones and native oaks. This community of trails was created in partnership with the City of Vista to protect creek beds and other parts of the otherwise dwindling pure setting.
Snaking its method through the leafy suburbs, that is a type of San Diego trails that provides you with an area expertise not fairly like many others.
Directions: You can enter on the bottom of Wildwood Park near the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe. You may also enter at 751 E. Vista Way, and at Brengle Terrace Park.
Volcan Mountain Trail (Julian)
There’s nothing quite like a warm-weather hike along the Volcan Mountain Trail with spectacular views of the Salton Sea to the Pacific Ocean. California wildflowers are notably stunning here when in season.
The trail follows an old mining road up into the mountains and provides spectacular vistas alongside the means in which. If you’d like a more tailored experience, you’ll have the ability to even take a hike led by a docent or County Ranger.
Length: 5 miles round-trip
Directions: From Julian, go north from town on Farmer Road about 2.2 miles. Turn proper on Wynola Road for about one hundred yards, then turn left, back onto the continuation of Farmer Road. Proceed 100 yards extra and park on the shoulder of the paved highway by the protect signal on the right.
Tips for Heading Out to the Best San Diego Hikes
Wherever you plan to hike, it’s always a good idea to check for trail closures as a result of weather and trail rehabilitation.
And, there are so, so many San Diego County trails that it is tough to slender a listing. If you may have a favorite that isn’t talked about here, please depart a comment!