30 Finest San Diego Hikes (An Instagram Tour)


Ditch the flip-flops for laces and head out on considered one of these finest San Diego hikes that can take you alongside coastal trails, out to waterfalls and even to a potato-chip-shaped rock.

And who higher to point out you what these out of doors adventures are like than the individuals, mountain bikers, and pets who use them. For this, we flip to Instagram.

Balboa Park Trails

Balboa Park is residence to 19 mountain climbing and biking trails span 65 miles and supply various levels of problem. You possibly can obtain a PDF map of the paths.

Size: Various
Location: Balboa Park, San Diego

Batiquitos Lagoon (Carlsbad)

Benefit from the superbly preserved wetlands of Batiquitos Lagoon. The path is extensive and flat, which signifies that wheelchairs and strollers can be utilized right here. Leashed canines are welcome. You too can test the calendar for guided public walks like fowl watching.

Size: 3.2 miles
Problem: Straightforward
Instructions: 7380 Gabbiano Ln, Carlsbad

Massive Laguna Path (Mount Laguna)

The Massive Laguna Path (also known as the BLT path) has quite a few trailheads via pine, oak, and a lake with expansive meadows. The wildflowers are superb right here when in season. You’ll have to buy an Journey Cross ($5) to park at sure trailheads.

Size: 10-mile loop
Problem: Average — troublesome
Instructions: Take Dawn Freeway from I-8 (close to Pine Valley) and drive north 13.5 miles to only previous the second cattle guard on the freeway. Entry to the Massive Laguna path is by way of the Nobel Canyon path departing the western turnout, marked by a small signal. Observe the Nobel Canyon path about 100 yards to succeed in the Massive Laguna path junction.

Black Mountain Open House Park (Rancho Peñasquitos)

Black Mountain Open House Park has a number of mountain climbing and biking trails that wind via chaparral-covered canyons, native grasslands, and creekside areas. There’s a 360-degree view of San Diego from the highest of Black Mountain for individuals who get pleasure from a difficult hike.

Size: Various
Problem: Straightforward — troublesome
Instructions: From Interstates 5 or 15, take state Route 56 to Black Mountain Highway and head north.

Cardiff Seaside to Swami’s

Many walkers, runners, and cyclists get pleasure from beautiful views from this paved cliffside path from Cardiff State Seaside as much as Swami’s Seaside. You possibly can entry the seaside from the steps at Swami’s.

Size: 1.7 miles every manner
Problem: Straightforward to reasonable
Location: Encinitas

Cedar Creek Falls and Satan’s Punchbowl (Ramona)

This common path is for these of you who wish to chase waterfalls and continues to be thought-about a San Diego hidden gem. It’s essential to have a allow to hike this path ($6 for as much as 5 individuals). Observe that Cedar Creek Falls is much less strong in the summertime time which suggests the pool at its base (Satan’s Punchbowl) will get just a little funky with algae. It is strongly recommended that you simply deliver at the least a gallon of water per particular person for this hike as it’s normally extremely popular right here.

Size: 5.2 miles (8.5 miles if you happen to hike to the highest of the falls) spherical journey
Problem: Exhausting
Instructions: 15531 Thornbush Highway, Ramona. When you get to the tip of Thornbush Highway, the start of the path will likely be in your left.

Cowles Mountain (Mission Trails Regional Park)

The Cowles Mountain Path results in the very best level in San Diego the place you possibly can see Mexico and even Orange County. It’s significantly spectacular at dawn or sundown.

Size: Three miles out and again
Problem: Average
Instructions: Take Interstate Eight to the Faculty Avenue exit. Proceed north on Faculty Avenue to Navajo Highway. Flip proper and proceed on Navajo Highway to Golfcrest Drive. Flip left on Golfcrest Drive to enter the car parking zone.

Cuyamaca Peak Loop Path (Descanso)

The Cuyamaca Peak Loop Path presents spectacular views of mountains and valleys. It’s the second highest peak within the county and, sure, it does snow right here in winter. It’s a state park, however canines are welcome.

Size: 6.7 miles spherical journey
Problem: reasonable to troublesome
Instructions: From I-805S, take I-8W and exit CA-79N/ Japatul Valley Rd towards Julian. Proceed on CA-79N and park on the Paso Picacho Campground (every day parking charges apply).

Double Peak Path (San Marcos)

The Double Peak Path boasts views to the coast and inland. Leashed canines and horses are welcome to make use of it. You possibly can drive to the highest of the path the place there’s a pretty spot with picnic benches.

Size: 4.1-mile loop
Problem: Average
Instructions: Begin at Lakeview Park off Foxhall in Discovery Hills. Cross the spillway bridge and the Discovery Lake Dam, and proceed up the paved highway that winds up the hill.

El Cajon Mountain

El Cajon Mountain has steeply inclined trails with panoramic views. Leashed canines are welcome, and mountain climbing poles are beneficial.

Size: 10.9 miles
Problem: Exhausting
Instructions: I-Eight E from San Diego to Hwy 67 N to Willow Eastbound to Wildcat Canyon highway north-bound. In 3.2 miles, there will likely be a car parking zone on the nook of Blue Sky Ranch Highway. Parking is out there.

Guajome Regional Park (Oceanside)

The gorgeous loop path at Guajome Regional Park is appropriate for all ranges. There may be additionally a campground and outdated adobe home right here.

Size: 4.5-mile loop
Problem: Straightforward to reasonable
Location: 3000 Guajome Lake Rd

Iron Mountain Path (Poway)

The Iron Mountain Path presents magnificent views of Coastal San Diego. There are a couple of methods to get to the highest, however the primary path is the most well-liked and busy on weekends.

Size: 5.6-mile loop
Problem: Average
Instructions: From I-15, exit, and journey east on Poway Highway. After passing via town of Poway, Poway Highway will dead-end at Freeway 67. The trailhead will likely be on the alternative facet of Freeway 67.

Lake Calavera Trails (Carlsbad)

Do you know that Mount Calavera is considered one of three volcanic plugs in Southern California? Sure, it’s an extinct volcano. Lake Calavera is a human-made reservoir (chances are you’ll not swim in it) which has an virtually 2-mile loop path round it, however there are 4 different miles of trails right here for walks, mountain biking, and leashed canines. It’s a novel spot with 17 native vegetation communities.

Size: 6 miles
Problem: Average
Location: Have a look at the path map to find out the place you’d like to begin. On-street parking and parking tons are indicated.

Lake Hodges: Coast to Crest Path (Escondido)

The Coast to Crest Path is a part of a restoration mission that can ultimately attain 70 miles from Del Mar seaside to Volcan Mountain. The part close to Lake Hodges is especially pretty and has wonderful views of mountains and birds. The path is okay for mountain biking, leashed canines, and horseback driving.

Size: 7.5 miles out and again
Problem: Straightforward to reasonable
Instructions: Escondido Fwy & E Through Rancho Pkwy & I-15, Escondido, CA 92025

Lake Poway to Mount Woodson (Poway)

Snap a photograph on high of the “potato chip” rock hovering over the Earth. The path may be slender and steep in elements, however the views are price it. You possibly can obtain a path map.

Size: 6.Four miles spherical journey
Problem: Exhausting
Instructions: From Espola Highway, go to the Lake Poway entrance. Each day parking charges apply.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Path

The Los Peñasquitos Canyon Path is appropriate for all ages and abilities units as a result of it’s comparatively flat. Get pleasure from waterfalls and creeks along with 500 species of vegetation and 175 totally different birds. You may get on and off the path at varied factors.

Size: 4.7 miles
Problem: Straightforward
Instructions: Exit the 15 Freeway on Mira Mesa Blvd. Head west and switch proper on Black Mountain Rd. Head north and switch left on Canyonside Rd. Parking is out there right here. Examine the path map for different parking spots.

Moonlight Seaside to Beacons Seaside

Stroll alongside cliffs and previous pretty properties between Moonlight Seashores and Beacon’s Seaside in South Carlsbad. Beacon’s Seaside has a windy path right down to the sand, however that is a simple stroll in any other case.

Size: 1.Four miles every manner
Problem: Straightforward to reasonable
Location: Encinitas

Mission Trails Regional Park: Oak Canyon Path (San Diego)

At Mission Trails Regional Park, hike alongside a babbling stream that flows deep into the canyon. It’s referred to as the Oak Canyon Path, and although much less well-known than Cowles Mountain, it’s lovely, and you may cross the stream at particular factors.

Size: 1.7
Problem: Straightforward to reasonable
Instructions: The trailhead is accessible from the Previous Mission Dam car parking zone. Stroll down the pathway to the San Diego River and cross the bridge.

Pacific Crest Path: Penny Pines to Garnet Peak (Pine Valley)

The part of the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Path presents spectacular views of North County. You will have an Journey Cross to park as this part is situated within the Cleveland Nationwide Forest. In the event you intend to hike lengthy distances on the Pacific Crest Path (it spans from Mexico to Canada), you’ll want a distinct allow.

Size: 2.Three miles out and again
Problem: Average
Instructions: Take I-Eight E and exit at Dawn Freeway. Begin on the Penny Pines Trailhead about 27 miles up Dawn Freeway. Observe the Pacific Crest Path to Garnet Peak via Laguna Recreation Space.

Rancho Carrillo Trails (Carlsbad)

The Rancho Carrillo Trails in Carlsbad are nice for freshmen, households and mountain bikers. You possibly can stroll across the Leo Carrillo Ranch and see its peacocks, too.

Size: Four miles (two loop system)
Problem: Straightforward
Instructions: Take Palomar Airport Highway east to Melrose Drive. Proper on Melrose Drive south to Poinsettia Lane. Proper on Poinsettia Lane, proceed west to cease signal (Carrillo Elementary College will likely be on the left).
Left into Carrillo Elementary College car parking zone drive then instantly on the best is paved car parking zone on the trailhead.

San Elijo Lagoon (Encinitas)

The San Elijo Lagoon trails vary from straightforward to troublesome and wind round a really various coastal wetland. Examine the Conservancy’s calendar for family-friendly academic workshops, occasions, and guided excursions.

Size: Varies
Problem: Straightforward to reasonable
Location: The lagoon is on Cardiff Seaside to Swami’s lake, Encinitas

San Luis Rey River Path (Oceanside)

The San Luis Rey River Path is a family-friendly multiuse path that hikers, runners, Rollerblade, cyclists and canines on leashes can get pleasure from.

Size: 7.2 miles a technique
Problem: Straightforward
Instructions: You possibly can entry it from a number of factors. Examine the path map to see the place you want to enter.

Santa Margarita River Path (Fallbrook)

Fallbrook’s best-kept secret presents swimming holes and oak woodlands. The Santa Margarita River Path is appropriate for all mountain climbing ranges. Horseback driving and mountain biking are additionally allowed.

Size: 5.2 miles out and again
Problem: Average
Instructions: I-15 N to Fallbrook exit. Take Mission Rd. 5 miles east; flip north onto Pico Ave. (turns into De Luz Rd.). Proceed 2.Four mi.; go proper on the fork onto Sandia Creek Dr. North. The parking space is at 1 mi. (simply earlier than the bridge); the trailhead is east of the lot.

The Slot (Borrego Springs)

The Slot, a slender siltstone canyon path at Anza-Borrego State Park, is without doubt one of the distinctive hikes in all of San Diego County. It’s not marked and never close to most customer visitors, so it’s essential ask the place to go (get a map).

Size: 2 miles out and again
Problem: Straightforward
Location: Borrego Mountain Wash, Borrego Springs, (Anza-Borrego State Park)

Stonewall Peak Path

The Stonewall Peak Path has an excellent forest setting with quite a lot of terrain. Hike to the highest for a 360-degree view of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park via the final part is uncovered ridge with steps and a handrail.

Size: 3.Eight miles
Problem: Average
Instructions: It’s situated throughout freeway 79 from Paso Picacho campground. The trailhead is situated on the alternative facet of Paso Picacho throughout CA-79.

Three Sisters Falls (Pine Valley)

Steep inclines and rocky terrain make Three Sisters Falls appropriate for skilled hikers. You possibly can hike to the highest of the waterfall, however it’s strenuous, to say the least.

Size: 3.5 miles out and again
Problem: Extraordinarily laborious
Instructions: The trailhead is situated on Boulder Creek Highway the place Cedar Creek highway intersects. You possibly can park at this intersection, and observe the path west alongside a ridge till you see one other path intersect to the south.

Torrey Pines State Park (La Jolla)

Centrally-located on the coast, the paths of Torrey Pines State Park in La Jolla are common with households. Along with discovering uncommon Torrey Pines timber, it’s potential to identify dolphins and even whales throughout their seasonal migrations.


Size: 3.Three miles unfold out over a number of trails
Problem: Straightforward
Instructions: Heaps are situated on the South Seaside entrance and at North Seaside. Two small tons are on the mesa close to the Lodge.

Higher Otay Reservoir (Chula Vista)

The Higher Otay Reservoir path is a usually-quiet loop that wraps across the Higher Otay Lake. Leashed canines are welcome.

Size: 2.1-mile loop
Problem: Average
Instructions: 12151-12159 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista

Vista Conservancy Path

The ever-expanding Vista Conservancy Path takes hikers previous Native American grinding stones and native oaks. This community of trails was created in partnership with the Metropolis of Vista to protect creek beds and different elements of the in any other case dwindling pure surroundings.

Problem: Straightforward
Instructions: You possibly can enter on the bottom of Wildwood Park close to the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe. You might also enter at 751 E. Vista Method, and at Brengle Terrace Park.

Volcan Mountain Path (Julian)

There’s nothing fairly like a heat climate hike alongside the Volcan Mountain Path with spectacular views of the Salton Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Wildflowers are significantly lovely when in season. It’s possible you’ll even take a hike led by a docent or County Ranger.

Size: 5 miles round-trip
Problem: Average
Instructions: From Julian, go north from city on Farmer Highway about 2.2 miles. Flip proper on Wynola Highway for about 100 yards, then flip left, again onto the continuation of Farmer Highway. Proceed 100 yards extra and park on the shoulder of the paved highway by the protect signal on the best.

Suggestions for Heading Out to Finest San Diego Hikes

Wherever you intend to hike, it’s all the time a good suggestion to test for path closures as a consequence of climate and path rehabilitation.

And, there are so, so many San Diego trails that it’s robust to slender a listing. When you’ve got a favourite that isn’t talked about right here, please go away a remark!


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