Best Summer Hiking Trails in San Diego

From surf to sun to sand, San Diego seems to have everything a summer adventure enthusiast needs to get pumped about spending time outdoors. Yet if you’ve wondered about other ways to enjoy your visit to the region, you’ll be thrilled to know that hiking is becoming increasingly popular in and around this gem of a Southern California town. Read on to learn about some of the best hikes in San Diego.

Is San Diego Known for Hiking?

While the Pacific Ocean and its myriad activities may grab all the headlines, the San Diego area offers plenty of trails for those who want to explore the great outdoors without donning a swimsuit. Because of the diversity of the region’s landscape, you can trek through desert scenery, around shimmering lakes and lagoons, and, of course, along the spectacular shoreline, all on the same day. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just want to take a walk to stretch your legs, San Diego has a host of trails awaiting you.

Easy to Difficult Hiking Trails

If you’re a novice hiker eager to take in some spectacular coastal views, check out Torrey Pines Beach Trail. It’s a flat and easy trek that even children can handle. Read up on how to spot whales from shore and keep your eyes peeled for blowholes that’ll tip you off that a pod is off the coast.

For a more moderate hike, head out to Escondido to Lake Hodges. On this trail, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the lake and dam, and you may even encounter horseback riders and mountain bikers during your climb.

The Split Mountain Trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is magnificent, but it’s best left to experienced hikers comfortable with following unmarked routes. The payoff is stunning mineralized metamorphic landscapes that feel otherworldly.

How To Cool Down After Your Hike

Fortunately, other activities in San Diego provide you with plenty of ways to cool off after a summer hike. Parking a towel on one of the area’s beautiful beaches is a great option, as is splashing around in your resort’s sparkling swimming pool. You can even visit the famed Gaslamp Quarter and imbibe in an icy, locally brewed craft beer.

If, instead, you’re keen to keep the adventure going after completing your trek, join a popular whale-watching expedition off the gorgeous coastline. An excursion on the water is another wonderful way to connect with nature during your visit to the area. Spotting everything from whales to dolphins to sea lions is the type of thrill that will make your Southern California trip a truly remarkable one.

While hiking may not be what put San Diego on the map, it’s yet another great reason to spend time in this beautiful region during the summer. Check online trail guides to find the perfect trek for your skill level, and while you’re at it plan another exciting outing by booking a San Diego whale watching tour before or after your hike. Your outdoor adventures will surely be the highlight of your SoCal sojourn!