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The Best Hiking Trails In San Diego

When thinking of outdoor activities in the beachy city of San Diego, the first things that come to your mind are usually water sports or beach activities. However, most people don't know that San Diego is home to some of the best hiking trails in Southern California. If you want to elevate your time while you’re in San Diego, below are a few hikes that we highly recommend.

 

1) Torrey Pines State Reserve

This hike is an all-around great hike. The difficulty level is very mild so people of all ages can enjoy this hike. The hike begins with a moderately steep incline, but once you reach the top you are met with beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific.

*Things to know - Try to get here early if you plan to go on a weekend. There is street parking, but once those fill up you will have to pay a $12 parking fee at the entrance parking lot. Also, be sure to check the tides before you go. There are many different trails you can take, including the beach trail, but if the tides are too high you will not be able to take the beach trail.

2) Cowles Mountain

Cowles Mountain is a San Diego favorite due to the fact that it is the highest peak in the county. It is a moderate level hike with a few steep inclines but the view from the top makes it all worth it.

*Things to know - This is a dog friendly hike so feel free to bring your pups, just make sure you bring extra water!

3) Mt. Woodson (Potato Chip Rock)

This infamous hike stems from Lake Poway and is probably one of the most photographed hikes because of a large potato chip shaped rock. It is a more difficult hike and takes a few hours from start to finish.

*Things to know - Because of the growing popularity of the potato chip rock, it is best to get there very early on a weekend or go on a weekday if possible as this hike does tend to get very busy.

4) Cedar Creek Falls (Devil’s Punchbowl)

This hike is pretty difficult but definitely worth it! If you’re looking for a great workout and beautiful views then this is definitely the hike for you.

*Things to know - This hike is best in the spring after the snow melts because it leads to a rocky waterfall and water hole. What better way to cool off after working up a sweat?

5) Elfin Forest Hike

This is such a great hike because the scenery is unlike anything else in San Diego. Located inland near Ecsondido, this hike is nestled in a woodsy part of the Elfin Forest full of running rivers, woods and lush trees.

*Things to know - This hike is dog friendly and great for kids and families!

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