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Top Best Trails in San Diego

Discover the best trails in San Diego, where outdoor enthusiasts can embark on unforgettable adventures. The diverse options cater to every preference, from the picturesque coastline to scenic mountain landscapes. Hike along the Pacific shoreline, explore challenging mountain paths, or wander through tranquil desert trails. San Diego’s renowned trails offer breathtaking views and an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. Whether you’re seeking a stroll or a heart-pounding ascent, the best trails in San Diego provide a perfect escape for both locals and visitors alike. Experience the beauty and variety that make these trails truly exceptional.

Fortuna Mountain Trail

Explore the Fortuna Mountain Trail, a captivating 6.2-mile loop near San Diego, California, offering a moderate challenge with an average completion time of 3 hours and 11 minutes. Ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and running this popular trail is open year-round, welcoming leashed dogs. Nestled in Mission Trails Regional Park alongside Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park, it ascends both North Fortuna and South Fortuna peaks, providing a rewarding urban nature escape.

Access the trail’s start at the end of Clairemont Mesa Blvd, though early arrival is recommended for weekend visits due to high traffic. The loop can be tackled clockwise for a gradual climb up North Fortuna and descending South Fortuna’s stairs. Alternatively, a counterclockwise approach leads to stairs ascending from South Fortuna and gradually descending from North Fortuna. Bring ample water and sun protection.

For a shorter loop, opt for the Fortuna Saddle trail between the North and South peaks. Enjoy panoramic city views and Pacific vistas, with vibrant wildflowers in spring—a perfect respite from city life for a few rejuvenating hours.

Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

Explore the charm of Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, a delightful 6.8-mile loop near San Diego, California, known for its ease, with an average completion time of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and running, the trail is a year-round favorite, welcoming leashed dogs. A short drive north of downtown San Diego, the trail resides in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, attracting outdoor enthusiasts for its well-maintained, primarily flat paths with a blend of sun and shade. Visitors can relish the picturesque landscapes, whether sticking to the main trail or venturing onto single-track paths. Perfect for families and those seeking a serene escape, Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail offers a blissful retreat under San Diego County’s azure skies. Please check for trail conditions with park rangers at (858) 538-8066, and note the parking fee at the lot off Black Mountain Road.

Oak Canyon to Grasslands Trail

Embark on the scenic Oak Canyon to Grasslands Trail loop, a condensed showcase of Mission Trails Regional Park spanning 1.8 miles. Commencing at the Old Mission Dam parking lot, visitors are greeted by the historic dam, an architectural marvel crafted 200 years ago with hand tools by Spanish Mission San Diego de Alcalá and Kumeyaay laborers. Follow the Oak Canyon Trail, experiencing a mix of level terrain and steeper sections leading to the Grasslands Loop Trail fork. Traverse the rolling hills of Grasslands Loop, encountering diverse birdlife and glimpses of Kwaay Paay Peak. Opt for the Grasslands Crossing Trail for a mountain biker-favored route, reconnecting with Father Junipero Serra Trail, concluding with a stroll through chaparral to the parking area. Throughout this adventure, leashed dogs are welcomed on all trails, adding to the enjoyment of this historical and picturesque journey in Mission Trails Regional Park.

Seven Bridge Walk

Discover the Seven Bridge Walk, a delightful 5.7-mile loop in San Diego, California, offering an easy yet invigorating experience with an average completion time of 1 hour and 58 minutes. Popular for road biking, running, and walking year-round, this urban trail provides a scenic exploration of the city. Optimal enjoyment is often reported by traversing the loop counterclockwise. While some sections share the road with vehicles, ensuring safety with reflective materials, lights, or flagging is recommended.

This accessible trail accommodates various mobility needs, with paved surfaces and an estimated average width of 6 feet. While the majority of the route boasts a mostly gentle grade, there are stairs at the Spruce Street Bridge and Quince Street Bridge, marked with waypoints. Leashed dogs are welcome to join the adventure. Accessible parking, including designated spaces and van-accessible areas, is available at the trailhead with a paved surface. The Seven Bridge Walk is not just a journey through captivating urban landscapes; it’s a blend of accessibility, safety, and recreational enjoyment for all who explore this vibrant trail.

South Fortuna Trail and Fortuna Saddle Trail Loop

Explore the 6.0-mile South Fortuna Trail and Fortuna Saddle Trail Loop near San Diego. It’s moderately challenging, taking around 3 hours and 18 minutes to complete. Open year-round, the trail is popular for hiking. Start with a steep climb to South Fortuna, with most elevation gain in the first 2 1/2 miles. Well-defined paths, wildflowers in spring, and sunny weather make it enjoyable. Remember sunscreen and water. Leashed dogs are welcome.