Hiking in San Diego

Gear Up: The Best Hiking in San Diego

(Photo: San Diego Magazine)

Take On the Hiking Capital of SoCal

San Diego thrives on fresh air, plenty of green, and a bit of dirt—although you can certainly keep it easy if you wish. From far-flung adventures in the wilderness surrounding the city to unhurried journeys through our lush parks, the best hiking in San Diego covers all skill levels. Find out what some of our favorites are, and choose where you’ll set off to next.

Balboa Park

Likely the easiest choice for novice hikers, Balboa Park’s winding trails, verdant beauty, and wealth of activities just off the path are impossibly enticing. Pick from the Golden Hills, Morley Field, Marston Point, Park Boulevard, and Sixth and Upas Trails, depending on the direction you’re coming from, and enjoy your outing.

Open 24 hours.  

Torrey Pines State Preserve

Rugged and ravishing, this is one of the most instantly-recognizable spots on the West Coast. Be sure to prep for this one: While the Razor Point and Guy Fleming Trails are not especially taxing, the sun can hit quite strongly here. A slightly steeper option, with access to the warm sands and gentle waves: the Beach Trail.

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Open 8:30-6 PM.

Cuyamaca Peak

As the second highest pinnacle in San Diego County, this 1700-foot peak with its paved trails affords panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. While little of the forest that once blanketed the region remains, chances are you’ll still spot deer and other wildlife.

Cuyamaca Peak Trail Head, 12551 CA-79, Descanso, CA 91916

Open 24 hours.

The Three Sisters

For the truly intrepid—and prepared—the Three Sisters is the ne plus ultra of hiking routes. Be warned: Rescues are called in here regularly, but if you take the proper precautions, pace yourself, and travel with skilled hikers, this should be more thrilling than treacherous.

Three Sisters Falls Trail Head, Descanso, CA 91916

Open 24 hours.

From beginners to experts, San Diego’s hiking options span a whole world of experience. Ask us about the best San Diego area hikes, and we’ll guide you in the right direction.