8 Best San Diego Hiking Trails To Discover

Carey Oakes
Sunrise From The Summit Of Granite Mountain

8 Best San Diego Hiking Trails to Discover

Known for its beaches and beautiful greenery, San Diego is an oasis for outdoors enthusiasts.  From surfing and skating to biking and yoga, San Diego has it all.  The mountainous terrain even makes for the best hiking trails.  With trails along the coast or outside city limits, you will surely find a range of paths suited for all levels.  So to help you plan your next escapade, here are eight of the best hiking trails San Diego has to offer.

Sunset Cliffs

One of the most beautiful hikes for the nature and the ocean lovers. Sunset Cliffs hiking trails have been deemed a “post-card come to life”, and rightfully so.

10It is super popular with surfers and some of the locals, but if you want to join the hiking gang it’s a great location do so.  Even if you just want to hear waves crashing against the rocks and the cool breeze of the ocean, this spot is the perfect place to catch San Diego’s infamous sunset.

Torrey Pines State Park

You might be familiar with Torrey Pines as an infamous golf spot, but this La Jolla treasure is a great hike as well.  With eight miles of wilderness and hiking trails, Torrey Pines has five relatively easy hikes for those in search of a stunning ocean view.  The Guy Fleming Trail is easily the most popular and is more of a stroll than a hike, but it’s a great place to start for Torrey Pines newbies.  The park opens at 8 a.m. and has an entry fee of $10 per car.

Cuyamaca State Loop

Sitting pretty at the second highest peak in San Diego, Cuyamaca State Loop is a great place to check out if you want some good views over the city! The seven-mile out-and-back hiking trail starts from the Paso Picacho Campground and leads to the summit of the 6,500-foot Cuyamaca Peak. If the day is clear you got a good chance of also checking out the ocean.

Cowles Mountain Trail

We talked about the second highest peak, but now we’re on the highest mountain trail in San Diego. Cowles Mountain Trail is also one of the most, if not the most popular, hiking trails in the city.

If you are looking for a tranquil and quiet trail to go on, this will probably not be the best one for you to take on. Locals and tourist alike come to the trail often to walk and hike throughout the week.

Three Sisters Waterfall

Discover this gem of a hike near Julian, California. Easily one of the best waterfalls in Southern California, the spot get its name for its three separate tiers. This four mile trail leads you to a beautiful waterfall and basin, so if you’re coming on a warmer day, feel free to take a plunge.  This trail can get rather steep, especially when entering and exiting the canyon, so come prepared with good shoes and some water.

Cedar Creek Waterfall

Located in Ramona, Southern Californians are extremely fond of the Cedar Creek Waterfall. A nearly seven mile hike round trip, you’ll get a peak at San Diego’s back country and a natural watering hole.

Be weary when making the trek in Summer months.  Not only is the hike difficult, but the falls don’t often run in the Summer so the basin tends to fill with algae.  It’s best to visit in the Spring or Fall when you can take a refreshing dip in the fresh water.

El Cajon Mountain Trail

Right is the cut of El Cajon, the El Cajon Mountain Trail is one of the most strenuous and difficult that SD has to offer. If you’re more of an advanced hiker or you want a good challenge this may be good to check out.

Good thing to not is that the trail is available 365 days a year and is pretty dog friendly. So if you want to bring your fur buddy as a companion then it might serve as a great idea.

Balboa Park Trails

Finally we have arrived at my personal favorite, Balboa Park Trails! As we all know here on this blog, I am pro anything Balboa Park, including the trails; and for good reason.

If you are someone that doesn’t want to necessarily drive super far out or deal with desert-like heat and crazy incline then the Balboa Park Trails might be great for you. One of the things I love about the Balboa Park Trails is not only the beauty, but the convenience. It is right in the heart of Balboa Park and after, or even during, you want to take a rest under a nice tree or stop and see some of the beautiful flowers or animals and then head to get some food afterwards, all of that stuff available and within close proximity.

So congratulations Balboa Park Hiking Trails, you got my vote!

Anyways, no matter which trail you choose to take on, when you’re done, make sure you check us out at ITH Hostels for your cool down and accommodations!







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