Top 6 Hikes in San Diego

1. Mt. Woodson (Potato Chip Rock)

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 6.9 Miles, out and back
Elevation Gain: 2,132 feet

Mt. Woodson offers a challenging trail that leads to one of the most photographed hiking spots in San Diego, Potato Chip Rock. The hike begins at the end of Lake Poway Road, with parking available at the Lake Poway parking lot. Parking is free on the weekdays, or for a $10 charge on weekends and holidays for non-Poway residents. The narrow and steep trail offers beautiful views of Lake Poway and the surrounding area. There is not much tree cover, so come prepared with sunscreen and plenty of water, especially during the summer months.

2. Torrey Pines

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.3 Miles, loop
Elevation Gain: 364 feet

Torrey Pines hiking is one of the most scenic beach hikes in San Diego. Pine trees and ocean views abound on this relatively easy hike. Parking is available along the street and in a small lot near the start of the trail. Part of the loop leads to a short beach walk, which makes this a great hike for visitors and locals alike.

3. Stonewall Peak Trail

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.4 miles, out and back
Elevation Gain: 813 feet

Stonewall Peak will take you out into the beautiful mountains of eastern San Diego. Popular with families and seasoned hikers alike, the partially shaded switchback trail summits at a lookout point with 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. Lake Cuyamaca, Anza Borrego desert, and the Salton Sea are all visible from this lookout point.

4. Three Sisters Waterfall Trail

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.9 miles, out and back
Elevation Gain: 1,207 feet

Three Sisters is a popular hike near Descanso, drawing many hikers during weekends and cooler months. The trail terminates near several waterfalls that flow rapidly after rainfall but become almost non-existent during hot, dry summer months. Swimming and cliff jumping are popular with hikers that make it to the falls via the strenuous trail. There is little shade on this hike, so bringing plenty of water is highly advised. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must remain on a leash.

5. Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 6.8 miles, loop
Elevation Gain: 147 feet

This scenic and shady trail is a relatively flat hike, popular with hikers of all ages, horse riders, runners, and walkers. The main well marked trail leads to a waterfall and several small pools of water; however, hikers have the option of taking several other smaller trails that branch off from the main path. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must remain on a leash.

6. Fortuna Mountain Trail

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 6 miles, loop
Elevation Gain: 1,332 feet

Mission Trails Regional Park offers a variety of hikes, one of the more difficult being Fortuna Mountain Trail. The trail loop can be taken in either direction, with steep stairs offering a challenge leading up to the South Fortuna Peak. A variety of plant and animal life, as well as a waterfall and views of the park draw hikers to this trail. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must remain on a leash.

Did we miss an awesome hiking trail?

Let us know! Have you been to any of the trails on the list? Comment below.