Fall weather makes for primetime hiking in San Diego as summer’s warm kiss lingers just long enough for those willing to leave the house without a jacket. The cool seaside breeze and breathtaking mountainous scenery make for hikes well worth the trek. So grab a buddy and venture out to a few of our favorite local hiking trails. Be sure to keep hydrated and pack a snack because adventure surely awaits!
Nothing beats a hike with a picture-perfect ocean view. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve—located between La Jolla and Del Mar—is a sprawling 2,000 acres rich with chaparral terrain abutting the Pacific, towering Torrey Pines, and a lagoon teaming with wildlife and migrating birds. With eight trails to pick from, every visit to the reserve is an opportunity to discover something new. The Beach Trail—our favorite—is a windy hike that twist and turns down the cliffs to the sandy beach of Del Mar. Many of the trails intertwine, allowing for easy exploration throughout the reserve. All trails are approximately less than a mile long, which makes the hike more leisurely than challenging. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a school of dolphins or some seals splashing on the surface of the water. Regardless of which trail you take, you will be able to enjoy the incredible view of the ocean and rugged San Diego coastline. Follow the link to download a copy of the full trail guide.
Famous for its unique form, Potato Chip Rock rests atop Mount Woodson in Poway, a short drive from central San Diego. A sweltering challenge in the summer, this free of charge adventure hike requires an 8-mile roundtrip trek to the summit of Potato Chip Rock and back. The trail is all up hill with some parts steeper than others, but a grueling workout nonetheless. Remember to take frequent rests and soak in the views of Lake Poway’s sparkling waters and rolling countryside. Expect a line of people waiting to snap a selfie on this legendary rock. After all, everyone wants proof they actually made it to the top!
This one’s for the avid hiker who’s up for a challenge. Located in East San Diego County on the outskirts of the Cleveland National Forest, this four-mile hike is far from leisurely. Be prepared to get dirty, wet, and sweaty as you hike down steep cliffs that lead to the waterfalls. There is no trail near the falls, forcing you to squeeze through marginal paths and rocks. Once you reach the base of the falls, you will soon realize that all the effort was well worth it as the three waterfalls that beautifully cascade together to form the iconic “Three Sisters.” Before hiking this trail, be sure to check trail conditions since they are subject to change due to weather.