Local Guide to San Diego – Walking & Hiking

Explore San Diego’s great outdoors and take advantage of our beautiful spring weather with this list of fun walking and hiking trails. We hope our Local Guides help you discover new local adventures and rediscover old favorites.

Walking

Liberty Station – Dirt and paved paths follow along a boat channel in the San Diego Bay offering views of Downtown and close up views of planes taking off from San Diego International Airport. The paths are flat and great for a casual stroll along the waterfront. Stop for lunch at one of the many shops in Liberty Station and take a peek at the USS Recruit, which was a landlocked US Navy training ship and is located at the southern end of the path. Dogs are allowed on leash. Park in any of the parking lots on Historic Decatur Road and walk east towards the water. Located at 2455 Cushing Road in Point Loma.

Lake Murray – Three miles of paved trail offering great scenic views of the lake. Walk, bike, or rollerblade alongside the lake on the mostly flat path, which is great for any skill level. Dogs are allowed on leash, and the wide path is great for strollers. We recommend bringing sunscreen since most of the trail is uncovered. Open seven days a week. Located at 5540 Kiowa Drive in La Mesa.

Seaport Village – Filled with over 50 shops and 17 restaurants, Seaport Village is a fun spot for many activities, including walking. Walk north along the Embarcadero to see the Victory Kiss statue and the USS Midway Museum, or walk south to the Marina Park and the Convention Center. Located at 849 West Harbor Drive in San Diego.

Hiking

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve – A beautiful park area with eleven miles of trails including a botanical trail and horse trails. The main hiking trail is a 1.4 mile trail called the Way Up Trail that climbs over 1,000 feet in elevation and offers some incredible views from the top. Enjoy a picnic at the several picnic areas overlooking the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir. Dogs are allowed on leash, and are allowed off leash at the top of the Way Up Trail on weekdays. Located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in Escondido.

Cowles Mountain – Situated inside Mission Trails Regional Park, Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the San Diego City limits. The trail starts at around 900 feet in elevation and climbs to the peak at about 1600 feet in elevation. The trail is about 1.5 miles from start to peak and the views from the top are spectacular with a 360 degree panorama view of the greater San Diego area. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Trail entrance located at the corner of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive in San Diego.

Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead – A very challenging hike but worth the effort. The trail starts at the top of a small peak and descends about 1,000 feet over the course of around 3 miles, ending at Cedar Creek Falls. The waterfall is over 75 feet tall and falls into a large pool of water, which is at varying levels throughout the year. The return hike is back up the same trail, and can be grueling at times as there is no shade and it is entirely uphill. We recommend hiking this trail in the cooler winter and spring months, bringing tons of water and conserving it for the uphill hike, and leaving your dog at home even though they are welcome on leash. Permits required before entering the trailhead. Located at 15519 Thornbush Road in Ramona.

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