11 Hikes Close to San Diego

I started really hiking last January, about a year ago, when the weather got too cool for the beach, but I still wanted to be outside.  San Diego has a very different landscape than I am used to in the Northeast but I figured it would be a great way to see some new places.  I started hiking  pretty much every weekend!  I started off doing some small, popular hikes, and then starting venturing further and looking for more of a challenge.  I got myself a lime green Camelbak to stay hydrated and have used it every hike since.  I also got some Adidas trail running shoes with rubber spikes on the bottom; helps you not to slip, which I have done!  When the summer hit, it was WAY too hot for me…

So now it is “Winter” here in California.  Too cold for the beach, but perfect for hiking!  We have done a couple bigger hikes (about 8 miles) and then the popular smaller Cowles, a bunch of times.  It really is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air and get a work out!  Below are a bunch of hikes that I have done in San Diego.  Always looking for more!

Cowles Mountain – San Carlos – San Diego, CA – Yelp

3 Miles: Quick hike and probably one of the most popular in San Diego.  Definitely a little workout though!

Bernardo Mountain Trail – California Trails | AllTrails.com

7-8 miles (depending on where you start):  Pretty flat in the beginning, then some twists and turns.  The top gets steep!


Iron Mountain – Poway, CA

6 Miles: One of my favorite hikes in San Diego!  Great views from all around and definitely manageable.


Mount Woodson Trail – Poway, CA

7 Miles: Potato chip rock is the place to hike to here!  Looks like you are floating.  To me, this is one of the tougher hikes that I have done.

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Three Sisters Falls – Pine Valley, CA

4 Miles: Down on the way to the falls (need to use a rope that they have there).  Very pretty, but since inland, not recommended for when it is hot.


Cedar Creek Falls – Julian, CA

5 miles: Hike is downhill along the edge of a mountain first, then flat until you get to the falls and swimming hole.


Clevenger Canyon South | San Diego Reader

4.4 miles: Brings you to the two metal chairs stuck to the top of a boulder; great view of valley and citrus farms


Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve – Torrey Hills – San Diego, CA

7 miles: Mostly flat, leads you to a waterfall which isn’t anything too exciting.  Good for bikers

Torrey Pines State Reserve – La Jolla, CA

Various: A lot of different trails depending on how far you want to go.  BEST views!

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Blue Sky Ecological Reserve – Poway, CA

5 miles:  Flat for awhile, then somewhat steep on the way up.  I think we walked around the lake for a mile or so once we were up there


Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve – Escondido, CA

9 miles:  That’s how long we went, but you don’t have to go that far.  If you hike to the top where the reservoir is, there are a lot of trails you can take

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So there you have it.  Some hiking adventures I have had while in SD.  Definitely hope to add some new ones this Winter/Spring so will post about that as it comes!

Also, I keep up with the distance with the Map my Hike App and/or my Fitbit.

Xo K

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