Hiking Trails

Exploring from south to north…

Otay Valley Regional Park | San Diego & Chula Vista | This day-use park provides access to hikers, bikers & equestrians to the area surrounding the Otay River from highway 805 to the east, to the South Bay National Wildlife Refuge at the southernmost end of the San Diego Bay. Future plans include multi-use areas & an extensive trail system. Leashed dogs are permitted in the park.
Sweetwater Regional Park | Bonita | This 540-acre regional park offers developed campsites for tents, trailers, and corrals for equestrian campers, along with 15 miles of trails throughout the Sweetwater Valley, river & reservoir. A mecca for naturalists, hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. A large covered Pavilion with kitchen is perfect for group campers.
Cabrillo National Monument | Point Loma | The 2½-mile Bayside Trail offers city & ocean views, 1800′s lighthouse & Visitor Center. Gray Whales pass by during their annual migrations. Call (619) 557-5450, for information on Ranger or volunteer-led walks. Leashed dogs are allowed only in the coastal and tidepool areas, not on the trails.
Balboa Park | San Diego | Trails (1.5 to 7 miles) for hikers & cyclists through hillsides of natural flora. Trail maps available in the Visitors Center & online. Leashed dogs allowed. Off-leash dogs only in select locations (a favorite is Nate’s Point on Balboa Drive at El Prado, just west of Cabrillo Bridge) Meander by gardens & ornate Spanish Revival architecture dating from 1935.
Mission Trails Regional Park | Miramar & San Diego | Located just 8 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, the Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the largest urban parks in the US. Covering nearly 5,800 acres, the park offers 40 miles of trails, mixed habitat, and picturesque Old Mission Dam. Leashed dogs are permitted on the trails.
San Diego River Park | San Diego County | From the headwaters of the San Diego River in Santa Ysabel to the Famosa Slough and the river mouth near Ocean Beach in San Diego, the parks vision is a ‘greenbelt’ linking the mountains to the ocean via the 52 mile long San Diego River. Diverse habitat, terrain & hiking/cycle trails. Volunteer opportunities. For places to go, click here!
Coast to Crest Trail – San Dieguito River Park | San Diego County | This natural open space park will someday extend from the ocean at Del Mar, to the Volcan Mountain, just north of Julian. Named the Coast to Crest Trail, it will span the 55 mile length of the San Dieguito River as it winds its way to the Pacific near the Del Mar Racetrack. Varied terrain. Dogs are allowed on most trails.
Torrey Pines Reserve | La Jolla | A collection of well traveled trails along towering bluffs or leading down to the beach. Includes the Beach Trail, Broken Hill, Guy Fleming, Razor Point, Yucca Point, and Parry Grove Trails, which range from .3 to 1.2 miles. All offer breathtaking coastline & Pacific ocean views all the way to La Jolla. Dogs are not allowed in the Reserve.
Crest Canyon Open Space Park | Del Mar | The Crest Canyon Trail in northern Del Mar overlooks the San Dieguito Lagoon at Coast. Easy to moderate trail. Features coastal bluffs while descending gradually into the canyon through coastal sage scrub and chaparral. Hiking only, about 0.4 mile one-way. Dogs are permitted on leash.
San Dieguito County Park | Del Mar & Rancho Santa Fe | This 125 acre park is home to Miracle Field, a fully accessible special needs baseball field, numerous well traveled trails, elaborate playgrounds, exercise stations, pavilions, a basketball court, expansive lawn & picnic areas, tall trees, BBQ’s, even a wedding gazebo! Several look-out towers take in the beautiful mountain vistas.
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve | San Diego & Mira Mesa | Spanning some 4,000 acres of both Peñasquitos and Lopez Canyons, Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve lies between Rancho Peñasquitos and Sorrento Hills to the north and Mira Mesa to the south. Trails are available for hikers, bikers, & equestrians. Leashed dogs are permitted.
San Elijo Lagoon | Solana Beach & Cardiff | Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west & Rancho Santa Fe to the east, over 7 miles of level & easy trails meander around this vibrant lagoon. At the Nature Center, weekly nature walks are often led by a San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy naturalist. Over 1000 acres & wide variety of flora & fauna. Leashed dogs are permitted.
Batiquitos Lagoon | Encinitas & Carlsbad | This picturesque tidal wetland nature reserve and lagoon sits between Encinitas (Leucadia) & Carlsbad, and consists of 610 acres, an easy two mile trail, ample parking, and a Nature Center. Rare birds, cool ocean breezes, serene views, and a multitude of flora make this a popular hike. Leashed dogs are permitted, no bicycles or horses.
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve | Olivenhain & Escondido | Trails are popular with hikers, bikers & equestrians. Picnic areas are available, and there are several viewpoints that take in Lake Hodges, located just to the east. Leashed dogs are permitted, and during weekdays only, there is an off-leash area at the top of the ‘Way Up’ trail.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park | Borrego Springs | The largest state park in California, Anza Borrego offers 500 miles of dirt roads & 12 wilderness areas. There are both developed & wilderness camping areas. Follow the Palm Canyon Trail or go off the grid. Dogs are not permitted on the trails, but are allowed in wilderness areas of the park, supervised.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park | Julian | Hikers, bikers, and equestrians can explore over 100 miles of trails. The most popular trails start from the Paso Picacho camp. There is the 2 mile hike up Stonewall Peak & the 3.5 mile hike up Cuyamaca Peak. Day use (fee) & campgrounds, tents to RV’s. Dogs in select areas only.
Palomar Mountain State Park | Palomar Mountain | A number of trails are available to hikers in this State Park, including the popular Scott’s Cabin Trail, where the diverse land evolves from meadows into thick coniferous or oak forests. RV and tent camping is available. Dogs and mountain bikes are not allowed on trails.
Cleveland National Forest | Covering 460,000 acres, the Forest stretches across Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties. Many of the Wilderness Trails are designated for hiking and equestrian use only. Leashed dogs are permitted on trails and in campgrounds. The Visitor’s Guide is a must, available on Cleveland National Forest web site. With a park this big, know before you go!
San Onofre State Beach | Oceanside | The Bluff Trails Campground area lies adjacent to I-5, just north of Camp Pendleton. Despite highway noise, it’s a popular no-frills camping location during peak season. Six trails find their way over the bluffs from camping areas to the secluded beach below. Gorgeous ocean views & ultra popular surf spot. Dogs permitted on trails 1 & 6 only.

TIP! Check out the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneer Nature Walk Schedule

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