While California is Reopening June 15 and Case Rates Are Encouraging, Day Hikes Provide the Perfect Alternatives to Crowds.
The hills of San Diego are alive with the sound of campers. Camping season is in full swing, and that’s just the thing for day-hike lovers. The variety of dramatic terrain here is amazing, and certain areas of San Diego are best seen on foot – not by car, but by foot. There are loads of places to go day hikes in San Diego, and I intend to share some favorite destinations, and profiles of specific hikes that are perfect for any month or time of year.
Even moreso this year when newly freed crowds will be out en masse.
Address: Stonewall Peak Trail, Julian, CA 92036
Cuyamaca Park's Stonewall Peak is one of San Diego's best day hikes. It's relatively close to Interstate 8 making getting to the park itself a breeze. Set off early and do the hike in the early mornings to avoid the cooling cloud cover spoiling your view.
And that view from the top is breathtaking and panoramic. Near the summit, some of the original stone stairways and railings from when the first trail was cut remain. This makes for a unique adventure among San Diego's peaks.
Parking at the park is $10 per car. The 4 mile trail is usually pretty busy owing to its ease of access, but that shouldn't stop you from taking in the views.
Address: 14847-14909 CA-67, Poway, CA 92064
It might not seem it at first, but the 5.2 mile Iron Mountain Trail in Poway is actually a more difficult hike than Stonewall Peak. It's not as impressive physically as Stonewall, but it does not disappoint for views either.
Iron Mountain used to be street parking only on a rather busy Highway 67. The speed and volume of traffic used to make this one problemsome to get to, but no more. The county recently put in a sizable parking lot that provides ample free parking for those visiting the site.
If you're able to catch Iron Mountain on a sunny day in the months of June or July, the views to the east are without rival.
Iron Mountain gets its eponymous name from the bits of raw iron ore scattered about. Bring a magnet with you on this trip because it's fun to see what's attracted.
Mission Trails Park and The Fortuna Peaks
Address: 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119
Mission Trails Regional Park makes for a great outdoor adventure. The park itself is crisscrossed with several hiking trails of varying difficulty. The Fortuna loop itself is roughly 6 miles that covers almost 1,600 feet in elevation.
If that's not your speed, or it sounds too dificult, there is a 1.4 mile loop around the visitor center that will give you a good idea what the park is about without being too physically taxing.
The park sits north of Interstate 8 and is bordered by Highway 52 on the North Side. That means it is only a short 20 minute drive from Downtown to the trail head. Perfect for a quick day hike to take in some views.
Because the hike is well within the city limits, once you've made it to the top, a favorite pastime is to sit back and watch the city go on about its day.
The trail is dog friendly, but they must be leased at all times for everyone's safety.
With the state opening up it seems likely the crowds are going to congregate to the west along the beaches and downtown. If you're not ready to brave the crowds, easing back into leisure with an outdoor day hike is a great way to go.
It's hard to go wrong with fresh air, exercise, and some of San Diego's best views.