San Diego is spoiled with excellent hiking weather year-round. From easy hikes in San Diego to more challenging options outside the city, there is a hike for any skill level, too. Check out where to go for the best hiking trails in San Diego.
Balboa Park Trails
If you’re lucky enough to live near Balboa Park (or you wish you did!), you don’t need to drive outside of the city for some of the best San Diego hikes. Balboa Park has 65 miles of trails into the surrounding canyons and along its urban paths that will make you feel like you’re much farther out into San Diego County.
If you’re looking for a moderate trail, start with the 3.7-mile hike into Florida Canyon. Begin at the Park Boulevard Trails Gateway to get to this one. The best part is, you’ll be close to the best of Balboa Park from here, too.
Mission Trails Regional Park
From the popular hike up Cowles Mountain to the easy Oak Canyon Trail, Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the most convenient parks to get to in the San Diego area. If you want to escape the crowds, try climbing one of the peaks in the park. The Kwaay Paay Peak Trail is only 2.3 miles, but you’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment once you’re at the top of those scenic views on this mountain trail.
Potato Chip Rock
The endpoint of Potato Chip Rock is one of the most photographed spots in San Diego. The thin rock you’ll hike to resembles a potato chip, and it’s a favorite for locals and visitors alike to pose on. The trek to get there isn’t easy, though.
The traditional route is about 8 miles roundtrip, but there is a back route along a gravel road that cuts the hike distance in half. No matter how you choose to get there, you’re still ascending over 2,000 feet, so this is a challenging hike regardless of the route you choose. If it’s the classic photos you’re after, start your hike early. By mid-morning, lines begin to form for that photo opp!
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Head to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve if you want a variety of San Diego trails the whole family will enjoy. The most popular trail here is the Beach Trail, a descent of 300 feet down to the shore and excellent tide pooling possibilities. Just save some energy for the climb back up. The Guy Fleming Trail back at the top is an easy ⅔-mile loop trail to some of the reserve’s best viewpoints.
Black Mountain Open Space Park
Black Mountain Open Space Park in North County features a number of trails at all skill levels. The highlight is the summit of Black Mountain. Access the summit on the Nighthawk Trail, nearly 4 miles of moderate climbing to beautiful views. The easy Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail is another option if you’re traveling with the family. Watch for wildlife on this one, as the park is a favorite for all kinds of desert birds, even bobcats.
Three Sisters Falls
Three Sisters Falls is a fairly challenging 4.5-mile hike to one of San Diego’s best waterfalls. Many hikers take a swim at the end to reward themselves for getting there, especially on hot days. If you’re looking for more San Diego waterfall hikes, try Cedar Creek Falls or the Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail. Cedar Creek is more impressive, but Los Penasquitos is much more accessible at all skill levels.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Interested in a day trip? Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a less than two-hour drive from the city to some of the best hikes in Southern California. The 2.9-mile Borrego Palm Canyon trail is a fairly easy hike by San Diego hiking standards to a palm oasis. Adventurous hikers may prefer The Slot, a 2.3-mile trek to one of the most accessible slot canyons in the state. If you visit in the springtime, expect colorful wildflowers and blooming cacti along the way.
Ready to Hit the Best Hikes in San Diego?
Whether you’re ready for San Diego’s peaks or prefer a gentler desert walk, San Diego has it all when it comes to hiking trails. If you’re on the market for the best places to be for year-round outdoor activities, it doesn’t get any better than San Diego.
Contact us today at 619-736-7003 about buying your new home in this hiker’s paradise.