Did you know that hiking can burn up to 600 calories an hour? If you’re really hardcore, add a weighted pack to your back and you’ll be a BURNIN! Lucky for us, San Diego offers a plethora of trails – there are beach trails, mountain trails, uphill trails, and flat woodsy trails.
With so many to choose from, we thought we’d narrow it down to several that are worth checking out.
5 Scenic San Diego Hikes
Balboa Park Trail #1
Located at Sixth and Upas; 1.5 miles; Easy. Follow green circle markers. This is a running trail more than anything but it is worth mentioning for the location. This trail is great not only because it is located within feet of our Hillcrest boot camp but also because it avoids the more crowded parts of Balboa Park. Therefore, you can carry on in solitude, free of wandering eyes and stop signs. To add a mile to the trail, follow the loop just south of Laurel Street.
Located on the corner of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road; 3.0 miles round trip; Moderate. Located within Mission Trails Regional Park, this is the highest point within San Diego city limits. This San Diego hike is consistently uphill and will take you to an inviting, panoramic view of San Diego. It can get quite crowded so if that’s not your thing, be sure to go earlier in the morning, later in the day, or on a weekday. There is also a less used but maintained trail that starts at the intersection of Boulder Lake Avenue and Barker way; it meets the main trail at the summit. Regardless of which route you choose, you will not be disappointed at the top (not that you ever could be)!
Mt. Woodson via Lake Poway Trail
Located at Lake Poway entrance; 7.5 miles round trip; Difficult. Yes, this San Diego hike is rated difficult but with a good friend or two and a lot of mind power, it can be done! For those of you who have not attempted this trail, it is definitely worth gearing up and checking out. If you’ve ever heard of Potato Chip Rock or seen pictures of people sitting on a rock so skinny it looks like it could fall off at any moment, this is the trail. *Note that you do have to jump from one boulder to the rock. Along the sometimes very steep and strenuous trail are beautiful lake views and prehistoric looking boulders for much of the trail. The views, calories you’ll blast through, and Potato Chip Rock photos you’ll get make it all worth it.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Located off North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla; 0.7 mile loop (do it a couple times!) Easy to Moderate. If the woods just aren’t your thing, then this beach trail is perfect for you! This is a well-maintained trail, can get very busy, but most importantly it offers spectacular views of the beautiful California coastline we are so lucky to live by.
Start at Ocean Beach Dog Beach, run towards the OB pier, and run along Pescadero Drive to Sunset Cliffs Blvd until you get to the cliffs; 6.1 miles; moderate. Another trail that leads to the beach and offers maybe one of the best places to watch surfers and the sunset in San Diego. If you don’t feel like doing the full 6.1 miles, start closer to the cliffs. If you feel like extending your San Diego hike/run, there are plenty of dirt trails. All in all, very rewarding.
Important Things to Remember:
HYDRATION! Remember to drink fluids throughout your day and if you’re planning a long San Diego hike, bring more water than you’re expecting to drink. Lightweight food such as Cliff Bars or fruit/nut combinations are excellent sources of nutrients that your body will definitely be in need of by the time you reach the turnaround. If carrying a pack, a first aid kit is never a terrible idea. If you’re going on a longer, less traveled hike, carry a lighter, pocketknife, flashlight and some kind of noisemaker (loss of cell phone reception). Most importantly, bring your game face and a camera!
Remember hikers etiquette:
Stay on the trail, pass on the left, be aware of bikers who may be passing you, step off the trail if you are resting, give uphill hikers the right of way if you are coming back down (they are working harder), and TAKE OUT WHAT YOU BRING IN! It is quite disheartening to see trash on trails. Also, feel free to greet people as they pass – you’ll see there are a lot of awesome, friendly people that have also taken interest in this hobby!
Do you have any personal favorites that weren’t mentioned here? Tell us! We would all appreciate new spots to check out!