Top 5 Hiking Trails in the San Diego Area

March 21, 2021

San Diego is one of the most desirable vacation destinations in the world because of its ideal weather, beautiful beaches, top-tier restaurants, lively nightlife, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, a new and improved SeaWorld, the Gaslamp District, Old Town, and so much more. While those are all fun things to enjoy while vacationing in San Diego, most people traveling to San Diego don’t realize they’re missing what’s arguably the best part of the area, which is its natural beauty. If you’d like to experience this side of the San Diego region, below are five memorable hikes, recommended by the friendly team at Sunrise Inn San Diego, one of the most ideally located and budget-friendly hotels in San Diego. Choose the trails that suit you best.

1. Mission Trails Regional Park

There are three guided trails at this 8,000-acre park, all of which start at the visitor center. If you’re in shape, you can do all three in a day. If that’s not the case or you’re only interested in hiking one trail, keep reading to see which one is the best choice for you.

The Oak Grove Trail is 1.7 miles long. This is an easy and scenic trail featuring majestic coast live oaks. You’ll see a decent amount of people, but it’s usually not too crowded.

The Visitor Center Loop Trail is an easy 1.4-mile loop trail. You’ll walk by the river and see coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and riparian woodland habitats. This is a nice stroll, but it’s sometimes crowded.

The Riverside Grinding Site Trail is an easy 1.5-mile loop trail that can be extended to two miles if you take the side trip to the acorn-grinding area. Either way, when you’re back on the main trail, it will lead to an archeological site.

2. Mission Trails Kwaay Paay Peak Trail

This is a one-mile trek, but don’t be fooled—it’s steep, and there are steps toward the top. Most people underestimate this hike, but the effort is well worth the reward. The peak offers 360-degree views of the ocean and the three islands off the coast of Point Loma. It takes most people approximately 40 minutes to reach the peak.

3. Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail

This is a trail for adventurers. If you take the west route, you’ll find hills, a waterfall, and rocks to climb. If you take the east route, you’ll find flat land. Either way, you can spend an entire day here. If you’re an avid hiker and/or adventurer, you can go up to 12 miles. Just make sure to bring plenty of water.

4. Point Loma Tide Pools

This is a one-mile round trip, including stairs. When you reach the top of the cliffs, you’ll find breathtaking views of the ocean and a fresh cool breeze. You might also see whales and/or seals. It costs $20 to enter, since it’s a state park, but it’s worth so much more.

5. Sunset Cliffs Coastal Trail (Linear Park) 

This is what many locals think of as the best spot in San Diego, which is saying a lot. You only have to trek half a mile from the parking lot to experience unparalleled ocean views, crashing waves, and refreshing salty air. If you go at night, you’ll get the best sunset view in town. If you go early in the day, you can enjoy the morning mist. You also might spot whales from here if it’s the right time of year. 

If you’re searching for incredible hiking opportunities and glorious scenery, you won’t be disappointed when you visit San Diego. It will take several days to explore all the fantastic trails on this list, so reserve your room today at Sunrise Inn San Diego. When they’re looking for the most comfortable cheap hotels, San Diego visitors are amazed by our unbeatable rates as well as our spacious rooms, stunning views of the harbor, and proximity to the best tourist attractions in America’s Finest City. Call one of our friendly staff members today at (619) 223-5544.

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