The Best Hiking Trails In San Diego

Springtime in California means fantastic weather for your favorite outdoor activities, including hitting some of the best hiking trails in San Diego! Grab your hiking boots and your playlist of favorite tunes and experience some of the best trails for hikers of all skill levels near our Shelter Island hotel, Humphreys Half Moon Inn, during your stay in San Diego. Here are some popular trails and their distance from our hotel!

Best Hiking Trails in San Diego

Balboa Park (4.9 Miles)

An unexpected experience visitors should know about is the hiking trails at Balboa Park. These hidden gems, located near the San Deigo Zoo, offer 5 unique hiking trails to explore. As one of the oldest parks in the U.S, this is a great place to visit with so much to see and do in addition to these hiking trails.

(Photo: @balboapark)

Cabrillo National Park (5.1 Miles)

Named for explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who was the first European to sail to the West Coast of the U.S., Cabrillo National Park is a unique place to explore during your time in San Diego. Spend the day hiking the park with a chance to see Old Point Loma Lighthouse and a variety of sea life in the local tidepools along the shore. If you’re looking for a history lesson and unique sights during your San Diego hike, Cabrillo National Park is an adventure you don’t want to miss.

(Photo: @tcfitnessandhealth)

Tecolote Canyon (5.2 Miles)

Rich with history and named for Tecolote (owls) that make the canyon their home, Telecote Canyon offers over 6 miles of hiking trails for jogging, walking, and mountain biking in San Diego. Guests can also tour the Tecolote Nature Center before or after their hike to explore a variety of exhibits on the plant and animal life of the Southern California Canyon.

Fortuna Mountain Trail (15.4 Miles)

If you’re looking for a less crowded trail with amazing water and peak views, Fortuna Mountain Trail is the perfect choice. Located in the Mission Trails Regional Park, visitors have eight miles of paths that include unmatched views including a waterfall! The trails are fairly shaded to keep you cool and there are good opportunities to see plenty of wildlife.

(Photo: @jessica_leigh25)

Torrey Pines State Park and Beach (16 Miles)

Beach lovers will enjoy spending the day at Torrey Pines State Park Reserve for a unique hiking experience you won’t soon forget. From the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and lush, tropical vegetation, this beachy trail offers miles of unspoiled beaches that attract guests from all over the world. Also, be sure to see the rare Torrey Pine on the property, which gives the park its unique name.

(Photo: @sandiego.mamas)

Mission Trails Regional Park (17 Miles)

There is so much to see and do at Mission Trails Regional Park which is why it is considered to be one of San Diego’s best hiking trails. The variety of trails offers glimpses of local wildlife as well as lush vegetation and water views. A bird-lover’s paradise, Mission Trails is the place to go to get an up-close view of the wildlife and natural beauty of Southern California.

(Photo: @alexanicoleannese)

Cowles Mountain (17.6 Miles)

Open year-round for runners, mountain bikers, and hikers, this popular trail is pet friendly and offers scenic pathways with amazing panoramic views of the San Diego skyline, North County, Orange County, and even Mexico on sunny days! Get there early or late afternoon to avoid crowds for this moderately challenging hike at Cowles Mountain.

(Photo: @abigail._la)

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve (20.4 Miles)

Definitely worth the drive, Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is a great mountain hike that offers spectacular scenery, natural resources, and even a history lesson from the remains of a prehistoric culture that existed 7,000 years ago. Unique canyon scenery includes a waterfall cascading through volcanic rock, California live oak forest, a year-round stream, a freshwater marsh with a variety of local birds, and other wildlife like deer, coyote, and raccoon can be seen during this popular San Diego area hike.

(Photo: @lindaminjukim)

Black Mountain Open Space Park (20.9 Miles)

With inspiring 360-degree panoramic views of the ocean, mountains, and downtown San Diego, Black Mountain is a must-hike during your Southern California adventures. This medium-level challenge trek is 2.5 miles and surrounds you with rolling terrain and lush plant life along the trail. Unmatched views on all sides of the peak make it one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego.

(Photo: @sandiegomag)

Iron Mountain Trail (28.5 Miles)

Known as one of the best hiking trails in San Diego, the medium-to challenging Iron Mountain Trail is a great choice for early morning and evening hikes. Enjoy breathtaking views of various mountains and the Catalina Islands during your visit to Iron Mountain and its 10 miles of dog-friendly trails. Bring plenty of sunscreen as you make your way through the open trail, as there is not much shade, but plenty of native vegetation, different terrains, and amazing views.

(Photo: @hike.sandiego)

Potato Chip Rock – Mt Woodson Summit (35.6 Miles)

This trail is definitely one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego. If you’d like to take this iconic hike to see the most unique rock formation in the area, it’s best to get there as early as possible (think 6am) to avoid crowds. Since fans all want a photo of the famous Potato Chip Rock, the wait can often be up to an hour if the weather is good. There are several trails here to explore, but the hike to Potato Chip Rock is the most popular. The park has restrooms, picnic areas, and plenty of parking.

(Photo: @sdbucketlist)

Are You Ready to Explore Some of the Best Hiking Trails in San Diego?

Make plans now to stay here at Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn in a premier location near all the best hiking trails in San Diego. Our onsite amenities, including a refreshing pool and hot tub, as well as in-room massages are the perfect way to relax after a day walking on the local trails. Book your deluxe suite now and plan your San Diego hiking adventure near Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn for a trip you won’t soon forget.