With summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to try out a new hike in San Diego! Luckily, San Diego has lots of great trails throughout the county, for all hiking levels to enjoy. Check out a few of my favorites that you can try this summer with family and friends. And be sure to check for park and trail closure updates during COVID-19 before heading on your hike!
Mt. Woodson | Poway
Mt. Woodson is more commonly known by locals as Potato Chip Rock- named for the unique rock formation that sits at the top of the mountain. This is an “in and out” trail totals 6.9 miles round trip and is a long and strenuous trail. Be sure you bring plenty of water, snacks, and are dressed appropriately for this hike.
Most people access this trail from the Lake Poway side. However, if you go on a holiday or weekend and you are not a resident of Poway, you will have to pay to park in the lot. For a shorter hike, you can also access Mt. Woodson from Highway 67 going toward Ramona.
I recommend arriving early to beat the heat and the crowds! There is usually a line at the top to take pictures on Potato Chip Rock. Once you’re there, you’ll see why!
Daly Ranch | Escondido
Daley Ranch offers some of the best hiking opportunities in San Diego County! The Ranch is open for hiking daily, from dawn to dusk and has trails available for beginning, intermediate, and advanced hikers.
The La Honda Drive entrance to Daley Ranch is the most popular starting point and offers the least-strenuous trails. This hiking trail allows dogs on leash on the trail, as well as horseback riders and mountain bikers; be sure to be alert for others as you hike!
Mission Trails Regional Park | San Carlos
Mission Trails Regional Park in San Carlos is the host of the 5-Peak Challenge in San Diego which encourages hikers to complete the trails at Cowles Mountain, Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna.
Mission Trails Regional Park covers more than sixty miles of trails to explore! The most popular trail in this park is Cowles Mountain, which has beautiful 360-degree views of the city of San Diego, mountains, Lake Murray, and the Pacific Ocean from its peak! This trail can get very busy, especially on weekends and holidays, so get there early to avoid the crowds and find a good parking spot.
Double Peak | San Marcos
If you enjoy a challenging trail, try Double Peak Trail in San Marcos! This hike offers beautiful views to enjoy from the summit. This hike a little over 4.5 miles roundtrip from the parking lot at Discovery Lake.
If you enjoy tails that are less crowded and offer a good workout, Double Peak will be great for you. Be aware that this trail does not offer any shade, so get an early start and bring plenty of water!
Blue Sky Ecological Reserve | Poway
Located north of Lake Poway, the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve offers access to the Mt. Woodson trail as well as Lake Ramona.
This is an “out and back” trail that only has one access point from Espola Road. Start on Green Valley Truck Trail, which will take you to a sign for the Ramona Dam. Turn left at the sign for the dam and go towards Lake Ramona. If you take this route, the trail is 4.8 miles round trip. Along the Green Valley Truck Trail you will also have the option to turn off for the Mt. Woodson Trail. If you go this way, it adds another mile onto the Mt. Woodson hike.
Finally, there is a third small trail called the Creekside Trail that branches off near the trailhead and parallels the Green Valley Truck Trail. If you take this trail, be aware that dogs and horses are not allowed.
Torrey Pines State Reserve | La Jolla
Nothing says San Diego like a hike by the beach! This hike offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, maritime chaparral, and the Torrey Pine. There are several trails you can take here, but the most popular is the Beach Trail, which offers beach access via a flight of stairs. This trail is ranked moderate. Once on the sand, you can climb in and around the rocks and explore the tide pools filled with their very own ecosystems.
For an easier hike, the Guy Fleming Trail or Razor Point Trail go through the coastal vegetation near the top of the cliffs where you can still take in the beautiful scenic views!
Which hiking trail will you try out this summer? Leave me a comment below!