Guidebook

Sunny California: The Best Hikes in San Diego

Explore the best hikes in the greater San Diego area, ranging from easy to difficult.

Description

San Diego, the second largest city in California, is famous for its temperate climate, beautiful beaches, and surf breaks. But in addition to amazing access to the ocean, the city is bounded on the opposite side by formidable mountains. Even in town, steep hills form beautiful parks and open spaces. Throughout all of this green space is spread a web of superb hiking trails.

This guidebook rounds up the best hikes in and around the San Diego metro area. Ranging from short hikes to secluded beaches all the way up to mountain climbs, this guidebook is guaranteed to send you to the perfect spot for your next hike!

Broken Hill Beach Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Broken Hill Beach Loop

0 - 1 hrs
4.0 km
115 m
115 m
Quieter trail, and the long way to reach the beach in Torrey Pines Reserve.
Moderate
Private
Razor Point Beach Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Razor Point Beach Loop

0 - 1 hrs
3.5 km
118 m
118 m
Connects some of the best overlooks and the beach in Torrey Pines Reserve.
Moderate
Private
Guy Fleming Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Guy Fleming Trail

0 - 1 hrs
1.1 km
17 m
17 m
Short loop with ocean views and fine specimens of the endangered Torrey pine tree.
Easy
Private
Iron Mountain
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Iron Mountain

2 - 3 hrs
9.0 km
334 m
334 m
Popular hike to a great view on one of San Diego's favorite local mountains.
Moderate
Private
Cowles Mountain Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cowles Mountain Trail

1 - 2 hrs
4.8 km
279 m
279 m
The short and steep approach to the highest point in San Diego.
Difficult
Private
Oak Canyon Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Oak Canyon Trail

1 - 2 hrs
5.2 km
78 m
77 m
Streamside hike with seasonal waterfalls and wildflowers—best in spring but good year round.
Moderate
Private
Mount Woodson Trail to Potato Chip Rock
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Woodson Trail to Potato Chip Rock

2 - 3 hrs
11.5 km
606 m
606 m
Photo-famous rock formation and expansive views atop Mount Woodson
Difficult
Private
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Waterfall Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Waterfall Loop

1 - 2 hrs
8.9 km
127 m
127 m
Oasis of water and nature with many trails in the metro area.
Moderate
Private
El Cajon Mountain
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

El Cajon Mountain

4 - 5 hrs
17.5 km
1,134 m
1,134 m
Grueling hike up one of San Diego's proudest peaks.
Difficult
Private
Cedar Creek Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cedar Creek Falls

1 - 2 hrs
8.8 km
316 m
317 m
Descend into a river gorge with a crisp waterfall and swimming hole.
Difficult
Private
Three Sisters Falls

Three Sisters Falls

1 - 2 hrs
5.7 km
306 m
306 m
Steep and exposed hike to a stack of three large waterfalls in a granite basin
Difficult
Private
Bayside Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bayside Trail

0 - 1 hrs
4.0 km
126 m
125 m
Explore the nature, wildlife, and history of Point Loma, with views over downtown San Diego.
Easy
Private
Coastal Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Coastal Trail

0 - 1 hrs
1.6 km
43 m
43 m
A beautiful path among wave-battered sea cliffs and tide pools overlooking the Pacific.
Easy
Private
Boucher Lookout Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Boucher Lookout Loop

1 - 2 hrs
5.4 km
244 m
244 m
Mountaintop views and colorful forest in a pleasantly cool, high-elevation corner of San Diego County.
Moderate
Private
Lower Doane Valley Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Lower Doane Valley Loop

1 - 2 hrs
5.3 km
129 m
129 m
Pleasant stroll through diverse subalpine forest with a good chance of spotting wildlife.
Easy
Private
Santa Margarita River Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Santa Margarita River Trail

1 - 2 hrs
6.9 km
150 m
150 m
Swimming holes, sandy shores, and uncommon nature along one of Southern California's last free-flowing rivers.
Moderate
Private