Hiking Trails in San Diego

As one of the most biologically diverse counties in the U.S., San Diego hiking trails are stunning and traverse through deserts, forests, mountains, and coastline, with distinct vegetation and wildlife. On a single trail, one minute you can can be walking through diverse desert brush and vibrant colorful desert flowers, and the next minute be trekking through what looks like a jungle before crossing right into a tranquil meadow. Although San Diego is sunny for over 260 days throughout the year, few periods of rain also provide enough water to create remarkable waterfalls on some of the San Diego hiking trails.

In regards to weather, one imperative note about hiking in San Diego is a lot of the trails should only be hiked in Spring, Fall, or Winter. Even with San Diego’s Mediterranean climate throughout the year, the summer heat can be extreme inland and heat stroke and exhaustion are a big concern. If you are visiting in the summer and wish to hike some of the inland trails that are exposed, plan for a very early start and bring WATER, WATER, and more WATER.

San Diego hiking trails offer easy through difficult level trails with lengths from 2 miles to 14+ miles roundtrip and various elevation gains for all levels of fitness. Navigate through the San Diego hiking trails list below to find the trail that best suites your fitness level and gives you views of the many picturesque landscapes in San Diego you wish to see.

Hiking San Diego

San Diego Hiking Trails

Trail Distance (miles) Difficulty Season
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Hellhole Canyon 5 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Anza-Borrego State Park: Calcite Mine 4 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Barker Valley 6.5 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Batiquitos Lagoon 3.4 Easy All
Bayside Trail at Cabrillo National Monument 2.8 Easy All
Bernardo Mountain and Lake Hodges 7.3 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Big Laguna Trail 10 Moderate-Difficult All
Black Mountain 4.1 Moderate All
Boden Canyon 6.5 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Borrego Palm Canyon 3 Easy Spring, Fall, Winter
Boucher Hill Loop 3.6 Easy-Moderate All
Bow Willow and Rockhouse Canyons 8.6 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Canyon Sin Nombre 5 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Cedar Creek Falls 5.7 Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Clevenger Canyon 4.75 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Corte Madera Mountain 7 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak 6.3 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Culp Valley Loop 2 Easy All
Cuyamaca Peak 5.6 Moderate-Difficult All
Daley Ranch 9.7 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Double Peak 4.7 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Eagle Rock 9.9 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
East Mesa in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park 9.1 Moderate-Difficult All
El Cajon Mountain 11 Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Engelmann Oak Loop 5.1 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Ghost Mountain and Pictograph Trail 14.7 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Gonzales Canyon 2.9 Easy-Moderate All
Guajome County Park 3.3 Easy All
Guatay Mountain 5.7 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Hot Springs Mountain 9.9 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Iron Mountain 5.3 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Kanaka Flat 7.4 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Kwaay Paay, Mission Dam, and Kumeyaay Lake 5.3 Moderate All
Lake Calavera 3.2 Easy-Moderate All
Lake Cuyamaca and the Stonewall Mine 2.75 Easy All
Los Peñasquitos Canyon 6.4 Easy-Moderate All
Lower Doane Valley and French Valley 3.8 Easy All
Monument Peak via Desert View Picnic Area 5.8 Moderate All
Mount Gower 8.2 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Mount Woodson 6.6 Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Mountain Palm Springs 3 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Observatory Trail 4.4 Moderate All
Palomar Mountain State Park 8.8 Moderate-Difficult All
Piedras Pintadas and Bernardo Bay 5.2 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Pinyon Ridge 9 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Rabbit Peak via Villager Peak 21 Very Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
San Onofre State Beach 6.1 Easy All
Santa Margarita River 6.8 Easy All
Split Mountain 10.9 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Stanley Peak 6.9 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Stonewall Peak 3.83 Moderate All
Three Sisters Falls 3.9 Difficult Spring, Fall
Thunder Spring and Chimney Flat Loop 3.9 Moderate All
Torrey Pines Reserve Extension 2.4 Easy All
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve 3 Easy All
Viejas Mountain 3.6 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Volcan Mountain 5.2 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
West Butte Borrego Mountain and The Slot 4.6 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Whale Peak 4.5 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Wooded Hill 1.5 Easy All

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