Best of Mission Trails Regional Park

Discover the best routes and trails in Mission Trails Regional Park for hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers alike.

Greg Heil



by Shutterstock


by Shutterstock


by Shutterstock


by Shutterstock


by Shutterstock

View of Pyles Peak Summit.

by Shutterstock



Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the most popular trail systems in the San Diego metro area. This centrally-located park boasts over 65 miles of trails spread across 8,000 acres of land.

This complex trail system primarily consists of doubletrack and fire road, albeit incredibly scenic fire roads running through rugged hills and valleys. In between the stretches of fire road, you'll find some sweet stretches of sinuous singletrack that provide the true appeal for this beautiful regional park.

Mission Traiols protects a diverse and beautiful landscape that reflects the natural and cultural history of the region. The landscape here consists of rugged hills, valleys, and open areas that represent a San Diego prior to the landing of Cabrillo in San Diego Bay in 1542. The park also includes two lakes, a scenic stretch of the San Diego River, and the historic site of the Old Mission Dam, built by the Kumeyaay Indians in 1816. You'll also enjoy a variety of habitats and ecosystems, such as grasslands, oak woodlands, chaparral, riparian, and wetlands. From the highest points in the park, you'll enjoy stunning views of the city skyline, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding mountains.

Mission Trails Regional Park is conveniently located just 8 miles from downtown San Diego, and on any given day of the week, hundreds (if not thousands) of hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners use this trail system. Many of the trails are also open to horseback riders as well.

In this guidebook, you'll find a multi-sport roundup of the best trails and routes in the park for human-powered trail users. Use these recommendations to choose your next adventure, but don't be afraid to head off the beaten track and explore!



Oak Canyon Trail

Streamside hike with seasonal waterfalls and wildflowers—best in spring but good year round.

Pyles Peak

If simply summitting Cowles Mountain isn't enough of a challenge, tack on Pyles Peak for some bonus miles!

Visitor Center Loop

Experience the natural and cultural wonders of Mission Trails Regional Park on the Visitor Center Loop Trail, an easy and scenic hike that starts and ends at the park’s visitor center.