We’re sharing 13 amazing San Diego hikes with the iconic trails and viewpoints America’s Finest City is known for. On this list we have the most popular trails like Potato Chip Rock and Devil’s Punch Bowl and we give lesser known hikes in San Diego that are equally as amazing with less foot traffic.
With so much coastline here you know we always included the best hikes in San Diego with oceanfront views and beach walks to dip your feet in the water.
We give the inside info on what to expect to see on the trail, difficulty levels and distances so you have all the information you need to plan your adventure.
To shop the hiking equipment we recommend in this episode clicks on the links below! Note: We may earn a commission from your purchase of these links. Thanks for supporting the Travel Squad Podcast!
Hikes in San Diego – Episode Transcript
2 (1m 0s):
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Get your hiking shoes on and double not those laces. Cause we don’t want you tripping out there on the trails. We’re hiking the best trails of San Diego, Hiking Poles, optional, but you know, the squad is bringing ours.
3 (1m 26s):
We wanted to bring to you more San Diego episodes. We already brought to you top 13 things you should do if you’re a newcomer to San Diego, but this is all about Hikes you should do in San Diego. There’s so many different kinds and you know what? This is especially close to my heart because I really started hiking and started enjoying hiking here in San Diego. And I don’t know if it was just because San Diego has so many cool places to hike, or if it’s because Brittany was dragging me on all these Hikes, but here we are.
1 (1m 56s):
I fell in love with Hiking in San Diego. When I moved to San Diego, it was a really good way and freeway to explore San Diego and also a great workout and of the 13 hikes that we’re talking about today. I’m the only one from the squad that has completed all 13 of these Hikes.
4 (2m 14s):
Well, kudos to you, Brittany. Thank you. I’m just kidding. No good for you. Well, with as much enthusiasm as Zayna brought in the intro, I’m equally excited about this episode because San Diego gets a lot of recognition for its beautiful beaches and its scenic coast. And even though we’re going to be telling you about a few Hikes along the coast, we are going to show you a different side of San Diego’s, natural beauty by taking you inland, kind of to the mountains and the Hills and the desert areas of San Diego with some of these hikes. And I just want to get a good little shout out to one of my favorite San Diego hiking partners.
4 (2m 55s):
And that’s going to be Emma Kim’s dog. She’s here recording with us right now. And I always enjoy our Hikes in San Diego because she usually comes on those since it’s a lot easier than when we traveled to further places. So shout out to Emma, can I get a little bark, Emma? I
2 (3m 10s):
Was just about to say, can I get a woo
1 (3m 12s):
4 (3m 14s):
She’s barking in spirit.
2 (3m 16s):
So I didn’t actually realize this because I don’t have a dog, but one of my friends had made the comment that sometimes she gets sad because she can’t take her dog on all of the Hikes. And I thought, why not? If you have a leash, but here in San Diego, we do have mountain lions and snakes out there. So, you know, some of the trails are dog friendly and some of them are not dog-friendly.
1 (3m 38s):
And we’ve tried to do our best to point out which ones are dog-friendly and not. So the first type we’re going to talk about is iron mountain and iron mountain is located in Poway and it happens to be dog-friendly.
3 (3m 51s):
Emma loves this
1 (3m 51s):
Trail. So it’s about a 5.2 mile round trip trail in San Diego elevation gain. You’re gonna get about 1,100 feet and this trail offers it beautiful valley views,
3 (4m 6s):
Really pretty like meadow walk the first like mile or two. And then it starts to get more steep as you go up. And it’s more challenging, more of like a moderate hike.
2 (4m 16s):
I have not done this hike, but I’ve heard a lot about this one. And I’ve heard that it’s challenging.
1 (4m 21s):
And when you get there, you’ll know that you’re there because there’s this really large iron gate with a big sign that says iron mountain. And when you start along the trail, the first portion is you hiking through a Grove of trees and that part is pretty flat. And then you go up into the higher elevations. This hike is really close to the famous potato chip rock, which we’re going to be talking about next. And so I feel like it’s a little bit less crowded when you’re at this hike. And there’s also a whole bunch of other trails if you’ve done this hike before to other lookouts. So it’s a great way to diversify your hiking portfolio
4 (5m 0s):
Because there’s a lot of branch offs from that trail to go other ones. Yeah. Very nice. Well, like you said, this is close to potato chip rock, which is actually our hike. Number two for San Diego that we’re going to talk about now, potato chip rock is its nickname. It’s really Mt. Woodson. It’s also located in Poway. And for any of you active hikers out there, I’m sure maybe you’ve actually seen this spot. Instagram. It’s very, very famous, not even just in San Diego, but definitely nationally. I don’t know, internationally on the Hiking level, but more particularly because of the formation that makes a rock look like a potato chip.
4 (5m 41s):
It looks like a thin little Pringle that hangs over the edge. So it’s very famous to go do your posing spots on it. And it’s looks so thin that you think the rock just might break.
2 (5m 51s):
It’s crazy. People take a whole bunch of stuff out there to do crazy pictures. Like I’ve seen with a vacuum on the rock or they’ve had picnics on the rock. And my first thought is, are people actually carrying all of this stuff? They got there just for the picture. Like that’s
3 (6m 8s):
Crazy people in suits, carrying vacuum.
1 (6m 11s):
We saw people in suits, carrying a vacuum. We’ve seen people do the like Simba pose on the rock where they’re holding their dog up.
2 (6m 19s):
And Kim, have you ever held a in the up there?
3 (6m 22s):
It’s a little scary when you get up there.
2 (6m 23s):
I did this one with Jamal and Brittany on new year’s Eve a few years ago. And I remember thinking, oh my gosh, how do you even get to the top of the rock? Because it is pretty scary.
4 (6m 33s):
Well, yeah, because the hike itself is 7.6 miles round trip. So I guess hiking up there doing about pretty much four miles carrying that vacuum, or I’ve seen barbecues too, and just random, random things that people want to go do, their photo shoots on. But the hike itself isn’t necessarily terrible. It is rather longer. I mean, it is a steep incline, but Yeah, but when you get to the climactic point of potato chip rock, you really do have to climb like several boulders to get to that potato chip formation. So that’s the difficult part that I think Kim was talking about, like putting Emma up there or anything like that because you’re struggling to even get yourself up there, you know, because you have to really Boulder over these giant rocks to get to
1 (7m 20s):
Yeah, the first Boulder you get to, isn’t hard to get on, but there is a crack between that Boulder and the next Boulder you have to get to. And so you either have to jump onto the next rock or lower yourself down in between the crevice Kim and I have gone alone and we’re both shorties and there was this guy there, like helping us get from rock to rock. Yeah. I don’t know if he would have been able to do it, if it weren’t for him.
3 (7m 42s):
It’s a nice thing about when you get there. Cause the line to take a picture. If you go anytime after 8:00 AM is probably going to be about an hour, wait, but you like hand your phone to the person right behind you and they take your picture and the person right in front of you helps you get down from the rocks. There’s like a little community vibe up there.
2 (7m 59s):
Can you imagine though, Hey, hold the vacuum while I jump. And then once I’m on the top, then you can pass the vacuum to me.
3 (8m 6s):
Well, I’ve done some crazy poses where it looks like they’re hanging on with one hand, like, and they are like hanging off the side of it. It’s crazy.
4 (8m 12s):
They are. But from the right photo perspective, it looks like it’s really hanging over a cliff edge and it’s steep. And in reality it is hanging over an edge, but it’s not a very far fall. Like if you fell worst case scenario, if you land wrong, you might like twist an ankle. But even then it’s not even that big of a fall. Maybe I would say like eight to 10 feet right before you’re at another rock layer below. Not very far. I don’t think
2 (8m 36s):
I saw a kid once doing pull ups on the ledge of the rock and I just got super jealous and I thought, oh, I wish I was able to do some pull-ups off that.
4 (8m 45s):
Pull up games Ana.
2 (8m 46s):
I, you know, I’m working on it.
4 (8m 47s):
Not as good as that kid doing it off the edge though.
2 (8m 50s):
1 (8m 51s):
I just imagine having to swing your leg over to get up onto the rock after doing ups off of it,
4 (8m 56s):
Worst case scenario, he drops himself down. Like if you’re hanging your body, you’re not that far of a drop. Like I said, truly, you know, from the perspective it looks like it really is hanging over an edge, which it is, but it’s not like an edge fall. That’ll kill you. That’s for sure.
1 (9m 9s):
So Emma has gone on this hike with us before, so it is dog friendly. And the elevation gain you’re going to gain is about 2,100 feet. Another few tips as it gets really, really hot. If you don’t go first thing in the morning and there’s very limited shade. And again, if you’re not there, first thing, there is going to be a line to take a picture on the rock. So just keep that in mind. Like how much do you really want to wait in that line when it’s really hot and there’s no shade.
4 (9m 35s):
And another thing that I do want to mention is the trail head of this hike is from a Poway city park. So you do have to pay for parking, which is $8. Now, if you’re listening to this and don’t live in San Diego, it is free. If you are a resident of Poway, but most people listening to this, you are not a resident of Poway. So just be ready to pay the $8 for parking.
2 (9m 59s):
We aren’t even residents of Poway
4 (10m 0s):
San Diego residents. So we have to pay.
1 (10m 3s):
So the next hike we’re going to talk about is El Capitan and a Lakeside. This is Dana’s favorite hike in San Diego
4 (10m 11s):
Or known as El cap. Zana says El cap all day, every day, let’s hike. It let’s hike it. I hear her all the time. Say I wanna hike El Capitan the most more than anything else. Yeah.
2 (10m 20s):
Yes. Brittany is not kidding. When I say this is my favorite hike. This is also the most challenging hike in San Diego. And I did it for the first time, maybe about four years ago before we did Machu Picchu. And Brittany said, you know, I know that you run a lot Zana, but running and hiking are two different things. So we
1 (10m 37s):
Shouldn’t have scoffed at me.
2 (10m 38s):
I did, you know, I was like, whatever dude, like same thing. So anyways, Brittany said, let’s have you try out a hike. And I said, give me the hardest one. So she said, okay, let’s do El cap. And she hadn’t done it at that point yet either. So I was like, oh, okay. And it is about 10.6 miles round trip. And the night before Brittany and I were looking at it online, everyone was saying that it is very, very, very challenging and it around mile three, you’re just going to be like, oh my gosh, this is mile three. It is the most steepest portion of the hike. It’s so hard, blah, blah, blah. So the next day when Brittany and I were out doing it, we were walking up a steep cliff and Brittany and I were huffing and puffing.
2 (11m 18s):
And Brittany made the joke that this has to be my all three. And we look up and we see a trail marker saying mile three. It’s no joke. It don’t play.
1 (11m 27s):
It doesn’t play. And you know, we’ve talked about the other Hikes. They’ve been like 1000, 2000 feet in elevation gain. El Capitan is 3,576 feet in elevation gain.
2 (11m 39s):
And it’s all up and down. So it’s not like you’re just Hiking to the top of the mountain and then you’re coming down. It is up and down. So there was no reprieve on your way back. And there’s also no shade on the trail. Now take as much water as you think you’re going to need and double it. It will take you some time. It is challenging and there is no shade. And sometimes there is a park ranger out there passing out water just because it’s such an intense hike.
1 (12m 7s):
I also recommend bringing Hiking Poles and a lunch. So when you get to the top, you can just sit down and take a break and eat before heading back, because it’s just as challenging on the way back as it is on the way there. And then lastly, the parking lot that you get to it doesn’t open till a certain hour. So if you get there early, you can park along the street, but the parking lot also closes at a certain hour. So there are signs saying, if you go past 1:00 PM, you shouldn’t go past a certain point because your car is going to locked in the parking lot. If you had parked there.
4 (12m 39s):
One other thing I just want to make a note of is when they’re talking about there being really no shade and it’s really hot, a lot of people again have that misconception. San Diego has perfect weather. It’s nice and cool, which for the most part of the year, it truly, truly is. But this is that different side of San Diego. I was talking about. This hike is a lot more inland, kind of in the desert mountain areas. So it’s really, really Rocky, no shade with trees, more kind of a desert arid area. So be mindful when we say it’s hot, it’s definitely hot. I mean, you’re more than 20 miles inland from the coast at this point. And it’s definitely warm out there.
4 (13m 20s):
So don’t think we’re just saying it’s hot for San Diego. It’s hot, like a hundred degrees hot.
1 (13m 25s):
I’d love to see you do this trail with us Jamal. Cause I feel like the Zena and I have invited both you and Kim.
3 (13m 31s):
I want to try this trail, but the way you just described it is a little scary, you know?
2 (13m 38s):
Oh, well, you know what? I’m not trying to scare anyone. No, no, no, no, no. It’s a great trail. This really is my favorite.
4 (13m 42s):
I’m going to call your bullshit Kim. Cause what’s your motto. If it’s not hard and over five miles, I don’t want to do it. And here you are talking about a good one and then you don’t want to do it, but we have, we’ve all made points to go do it. But then when we have, it’s either had a really heavy rain and then would be muddy or certain circumstances has taken it away from the entire squad, completing it together, but definitely a recommended hike for you guys. And El Capitan is more closely located to the city of Lakeside on the outskirts of San Diego.
2 (14m 15s):
So Jamal, why have you not done it? And you’re giving Kim shit because there are plenty of times where it’s not raining and I’m like, Hey, let’s go do it.
4 (14m 22s):
Well, I know we’re talking about a San Diego one, but I’ll say this all the time. I love to hike more when it’s further away from San Diego, like national parks and other things like that, it gets my juices flowing more than local ones, but I’m giving Kim shit specifically because she’s always talking about wanting to do hard hikes and apparently scared her with its difficulty.
3 (14m 43s):
Our fourth hike is devil’s Punchbowl. This is one of my favorite Hikes in San Diego. It’s also known as Cedar Creek falls trail. And this is a bout a five mile out and back kind of a trail when you hike into it, you’re hiking down into the watering hole where they have a beautiful little waterfall, depending on what time of year you go and how much rain we’ve had. It could be flowing pretty well or it could be kind of dried up. So just kind of depends on when you go. But the hard part about this trail where it becomes a moderate trail is on your way, hiking out because whatever you’ve gone in is what you have to go out, which is about a thousand feet.
1 (15m 25s):
I’m not really a big fan of hiking down first and then Hiking back out. Like that just seems counterintuitive to me. But I do like this trail a lot and pretty it’s really pretty. The highlight is definitely the devil’s Punchbowl, which is the waterfall going down into this enclosed rock area. And in the summertime, you can swim in that Punchbowl as well. If there’s a good amount of water. And one thing to note is you do need a permit and you actually have to print the permit. You can’t just show it on your phone. You actually have to print it and put it in your windshield. So the website, if you need it is recreation.gov. And it’s about six bucks.
3 (16m 2s):
And there are people there sitting out in a tent at the trail head. So when we say you need a permit, you really do need a permit. They’re going
1 (16m 10s):
3 (16m 10s):
Ya. This one is dog friendly. Can bring Emma,
4 (16m 16s):
You ladies ever swam out there when you’ve done it.
3 (16m 18s):
No, I’ve only done it once we did it. And it was very early in the morning. Like I think before the permit, people were even out there for some reason, Brittany likes to wake up at like 4:00 AM and hit the trail.
4 (16m 31s):
And that’s Brittany for
1 (16m 32s):
You. That is me.
3 (16m 33s):
Yeah. We have a funny story about hiking through Bella park Early in the morning, but it was, it was that early in the morning that we started and I think it was winter. So it was kind of cold when we went,
1 (16m 46s):
It was kind of cold. And we do say that there’s really not a lot of shade along the way when you’re hiking down. But when you get near the Punchbowl, it is shaded and kind of like in a valley. So the temperature drops quite a bit. Hey travelers, let’s break for a quickly over to talk about our San Diego itinerary we created for first time visitors. This full day guy takes you on an epic day down the San Diego coast,
3 (17m 8s):
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1 (17m 42s):
So HighQ number five is Cooya maca peak. It’s located in a state park called Coogee maca state park, and it’s an east Diego south of the mountain town. Julian. I’ve done those hike twice. I’ve gone with Kim and I’ve also gone with my friend, Valerie. So I’ve done it both times via the Azalea Glen loop. And the time I did it with my friend, Valerie, there was still snow on the ground. We went in February and it was so beautiful. Kim, when we went, was there
3 (18m 10s):
Snow? There was snow.
1 (18m 12s):
3 (18m 12s):
This is not really a dog-friendly trail. The dogs are not actually supposed to be allowed on the trail, but there is a service road you can take up to the peak and it gets you to the same place as the trail dogs are allowed on that, which is mostly meant for the campers that are there. But Emma did go on this trail.
4 (18m 32s):
Whoa, rebel. That doesn’t surprise me, Kim.
3 (18m 36s):
No, this until we got there. So we’re passing this info on to you, so you don’t bring your dog, but we already had the dog. So we had to kind of stuff her down and get her in there, but
2 (18m 47s):
It’s tougher down and get her in there.
1 (18m 51s):
No, she didn’t stop her in the backpack. He, Kim had her between her feet on the ground versus on her lap when we rolled through the campground and you do have to pay to park there. So just FYI, it’s $10. You have to pay to park at the campground. The trail itself is like 5.6 miles out in back. And it’s the second highest peak in San Diego.
3 (19m 11s):
4 (19m 13s):
And when I say stuff or down on it was the backpack. We’re not torturing Emma. There’s been cases where she’s liked a little bit too much and I’ve opened my backpack and she’s peeking out the edge of it and I carry her. So that’s what I mean by that. And that’s what I thought you were talking about on the trail, but
2 (19m 26s):
Because she is your favorite Hiking partner,
4 (19m 29s):
Of course, that’s why I said it love Emma.
1 (19m 31s):
I do recommend because there are several trails that intersect along the way. Do you get a map when you pay for your, the parking and use that as a guide, cause you don’t want to get lost up in those mountains and the way that I’ve done it is I have taken the Azalea Glen loop to the top and then I’ve taken the fire road down and it’s been a really nice hike.
4 (19m 51s):
So HighQ number six is going to be Stonewall peak. And this is also located in Kuya, maca state park. And I really love this hike. And when I went to it, it was really exciting for me because Brittany and I love to camp. It’s been a while since we did it. And it got me just really thinking, okay, look at this, this, the beautiful hike is here, there’s campgrounds. And it would be just amazing to go out on a weekend on a Friday, do your camping wake up in the morning, do some morning hiking out in nature, be out there in the pine trees and in the forest. And this one was a really, really fun hike that I enjoyed a lot. And it is only a 3.4 mile round trip and not too much of an elevation gain only about 813 feet.
4 (20m 35s):
But you are in Eastern San Diego and the mountains already as it is. So you’ve got a lot higher elevation, but in terms of the hike up itself, not too much in elevation gain,
1 (20m 46s):
What I really like about hike is you get really great views of the valley and there’s a railing at the top of the mountain and it gets super, super windy and you kind of have to hang on to get up there, but it’s worth the view. It’s a right across the street from Quia maca peak. So if you are camping in the area during that camping weekend, you can hit both peaks in one weekend. If you wanted to, I’ve known people to do both Hikes in one day. That’s a little extreme for me. Wouldn’t do that, but it’s a great hike.
4 (21m 14s):
And again, this is in KU maca state park. So just like KU maca peak, you will have to pay the $10 entrance into the park if you come on separate occasions.
2 (21m 25s):
So number seven is definitely a hike that has a special place in my heart. And it is Mount Gower located in Ramona, which is definitely north east of us. So reason being is, this is one of the Hikes that we use to prep prior to Hiking the Inca trail. And this is one of the first times that I met Kim. This is, you know, pre squad days. And I just remember Kim being really quiet. And I was like, huh, pretty always said that Kim is a pretty talkative person.
4 (22m 2s):
Was it a classical Kim’s hung over in the morning, but still Hiking the next day situation.
2 (22m 6s):
Well, not going to throw that out there. I’m
4 (22m 9s):
Throwing it out there. I’m throwing it out there.
3 (22m 12s):
Let it hang over. Keep you down
4 (22m 13s):
Before her 30 year old days,
2 (22m 15s):
Right. Kim showed up with her roommate and a big ass burrito
3 (22m 21s):
Got to get a breakfast burrito. I need, if you’re going to be hung over, that’s really the only thing that gets you through. And that’s like a so-called secret right there.
2 (22m 29s):
Boom. So yeah, so we went out and we did that trail and the saving grace on this hike was I always use Runkeeper, which is an app not sponsored, but it helps me track my miles when I do run. And it also traces your steps. So at one point we got super lost because
1 (22m 47s):
Super loss, we got lost.
3 (22m 50s):
We got lost big time.
4 (22m 52s):
Well, we got lost at the top of the trail. And just before we get any further, this is a nine mile loop. So when we were at its peak, there’s a couple other ways down. And when we were at the top, we were trying to find the appropriate way down. And that’s where we miscalculated our steps and Zena’s Runkeeper came into play.
2 (23m 11s):
I pulled it out, gave it to Britt and Britt was able to retrace our steps. But yeah, it is a little bit of an intense hike. I remember at one point we passed by some people and we asked them about how much farther we have left. And they pointed at someplace
4 (23m 27s):
Pretty far away,
2 (23m 28s):
Kind of in the clouds,
4 (23m 31s):
Pretty much in the clouds,
2 (23m 32s):
Not even joking about that. Right? So we all look to the distance to where she’s pointing at. And every single one of our faces, it’s just like, you gotta be shitting me and Jamal’s face dropped. And then in a split second, as soon as his face dropped, he just goes excellent with a huge smile on his face. So props to Jamal for having a good attitude when everyone was like, you gotta be shitting.
4 (23m 55s):
You know, everyone says, sometimes I have a negative attitude. I do not. I was getting us through that rough hike with my positive attitude. I mean, to
2 (24m 3s):
The clouds, to
4 (24m 4s):
The clouds we go,
1 (24m 5s):
It was a really nice hike. I haven’t done it again. I’d like to do it again. Cause it was a good workout. And just keep in mind that because you’re out in the middle of nowhere and Ramona, it does get really hot, there’s extreme heat. And this trail’s actually closed in the month of August due to that heat. But this is also the trail we realized I could read a map. Well, and I am often our navigator when we’re on trips together.
4 (24m 29s):
One thing I really like about mountain Gower also is there’s a lot of beautiful wild flowers that are out in that area and Ramona, and you see a lot of them on this trail. I remember when California had its heavy rains a while ago and we had those super blooms and everyone was going out and seeing the wild flowers that were growing. It wasn’t obviously at that level, but just any normal time of year when the flower season isn’t bloom, there are a lot of them out there. And it just reminded me of that when I saw the super flu and I was like, everyone’s going to see these ones close by. And it’s like Mount Gower has it themselves.
3 (25m 3s):
Our eighth hike on the list is cows mountain. This one is definitely one of my favorites in San Diego because it’s easy to get to it’s right in that central area of San Diego, it has several different ways. You can go up. It there’s a front of the trail where there’s a parking lot and bathrooms. There’s several different neighborhood access points where you can go up in different sides of the mountain. Keep it interesting. It has a summit of about 1600 feet and it is dog friendly. There’s lots of dogs and lots of people usually always,
4 (25m 38s):
Well, this hike is always really, really crowded. And like you were saying, there’s multiple ways up from the front side to the backside. Doesn’t matter what way you go. There’s always going to be a lot of people on it. And we are talking about San Diego Hikes in this episode, obviously, but Cowles mountain is actually the tallest within official city limits of San Diego. So this one for that fact is really popular. And you would think a lot of people do it in the morning, which they do, but I feel like it’s a lot more crowded sometimes at night because a lot of people will go up there to watch the sunset because it gives you amazing, amazing views, 360 degrees of all of San Diego.
4 (26m 19s):
And on a clear day, you could see into Mexico, you can see the ocean, watch the sunset. It’s just absolutely amazing up there at Cal’s mountain.
1 (26m 26s):
It’s one of my favorite Hikes because it’s short and sweet and it’s challenging round trip. It’s only about three miles, but you gain about a thousand feet in that three miles. And the panoramic views are great right below this mountain is lake Marie. So you get great views of that. And then at the top of the mountain, Jamal said, you can see all sorts of places in San Diego, including the ocean and also into Mexico. And they have like a little board at the top that points out other structures or other mountains to help orient you. And it’s really nice to see while you’re up there.
3 (26m 57s):
I really like this one too, because it’s so easy to get to. It’s not that far from central San Diego and quick and dirty,
1 (27m 5s):
Quick and dirty, just like you like it.
3 (27m 7s):
That’s how I like it.
1 (27m 9s):
My favorite trail getting to this mountain is actually from the backside. It’s a service road. I feel like it’s a little bit steeper and harder and a bit more challenging. And at one point it splits off. So you can either hook up to the front of the mountain, go up that way or continue on this trail and just go up the back, which continues on as a service road. And just like a quick little shout out. If you continue through this trail to the next mountain, it’s called piles peak. So you can do two for one if you want. Yeah.
3 (27m 37s):
That’s a great way to add it on, make it a little bit longer. And those two trails are actually part of San Diego is five peak challenge. It’s those two, the next two we’re about to talk about. And then one more
1 (27m 50s):
Correct. And so if you want to participate in the five peak challenge in San Diego, you get to the top of the peak and you take a picture in front of the sign and once you’ve completed all five and you guys didn’t get like a little honorary mention or something.
4 (28m 3s):
So then Kim, why don’t you tell us about number nine, which you said is part of the five peak challenge. What do we got next?
3 (28m 12s):
This is a twofer because it’s north and south Fortuna mountains. They’re connected. You can do both of them. And it’s really cool. They have like stairs that go up one side and it’s kind of a set of rolling Hills. This is a dog friendly trail, but be aware because in the summer there are a lot of rattlesnakes here.
1 (28m 30s):
There are, we actually got scared. I saw her lizard that looked like a snake. And I freaked out because I was afraid for Emma. We had brought her on the trail, but it happened to be a lizard.
3 (28m 41s):
It looks like a snake. Jamal, did you protect Emma? He wasn’t,
4 (28m 44s):
I wasn’t here on this one, but on another beautiful San Diego hike, Brittany and I have come across a massive five foot long rattlesnake, five foot long rattlesnakes are abnormally large. So good point. Any trail that you do kind of out in the mountain desert area, San Diego has a lot of snakes. So do keep that in mind that you can see them. But north and south for tuna, it is, as Kim said, dog friendly and roundtrip, it is about 7.6 miles. So definitely a little bit longer of a hike. And it gives you a good elevation change of about 2,500 feet.
1 (29m 16s):
Yeah. And I would recommend doing a north Fortuna first, then south. And that was the way that we did found it to be a great challenging hike. And you know, when you’re between the two mountains, because you’re literally in the saddle and you have just gone down one mountain and you see the next mountain right in front of you,
4 (29m 31s):
The south Fortuna portion of the mountain is also known as the stairway to heaven. And is there a particular reason why that is
1 (29m 38s):
Yeah. All the stairs that Kim talked about going down, if you wanted to do south Fortuna first, you can go hike up that stairway to heaven if you wanted to.
4 (29m 47s):
So it’s specifically because of the stairs and that gets that name
1 (29m 51s):
Again. These two hikes are in mission trails, regional park, which is where Cal’s mountain is and piles peak is as well.
4 (29m 58s):
So number 10 on our must Hikes in San Diego is going to be Torrey Pines. Now Torrey Pines is located in LA Jolla, which is a little bit more north of downtown San Diego area. And Torrey Pines is known as Torrey Pines specifically because of the Torrey pine trees that are unique specifically to this spot and portion of California. And these trees are endangered. So it is a long the coast, but there’s a bunch of different trails in that area that you can choose from. But either way, you’re going to come across the Torrey pine trees, beautiful views of the sea.
4 (30m 38s):
And it’s just so amazing being along the coast for the Torrey Pines trails.
1 (30m 43s):
Zina, have you done this site?
2 (30m 44s):
I have not. No. I’ve been out to Torrey Pines, but I’ve never actually done this hike. I
1 (30m 49s):
Definitely recommend it for our listeners. And for
2 (30m 51s):
You. I know, I know I have not personally done the Torrey Pines trail. I would like to, I have been out to Torrey Pines. I’ve kind of hiked around, but never on an actual trail, but really what I really want to do is complete the five peaks trail challenge. And I know Torrey Pines, isn’t a part of the five peaks, but that’s whoa. That’s what I want to do.
1 (31m 15s):
Okay. Well, I love this hike because there are so many different trails you can choose from, you can add on and she was kind of how much you want to hike. And if you do one of the longer portions, it actually gets you beach access. And if you’re at the top before you descend down to the beach, sometimes there’s a views into the water and you can see whales in the distance. Do you remember when we saw the wheels? Yeah, it was amazing to see that out in the distance. So really cool to see really scenic hike. And it’s your one chance to really see Tory pine trees.
3 (31m 47s):
Our next hike on the list. Number 11 is the Hoshi men trail. It’s not far from Torrey Pines. So I like to park at the trail head, which happens to be in a residential neighborhood of LA Jolla. And then you kind of go through like a slot type canyon. There’s a little bit of treacherous areas you have to walk through, but it’s short. I found that it’s actually better to hike this one barefoot than to even, or if you’re not wearing tennis shoes, it’s better to do it barefoot than say in sandals. But at the end of the trail, you kind of repelled down into the ocean and to the beach sand. And then you can walk over to Torrey Pines, which is just a couple more miles north through the blacks clothing optional beach.
4 (32m 30s):
I was going to say, that’s the, is that your highlighter, this trail is that it runs you through Black’s beach, which is the nude beach in San Diego.
3 (32m 38s):
It might get a toasty when you’re doing that hike. And if you would like to just bear it all, then go for
4 (32m 45s):
It. Clothing optional, huh?
1 (32m 47s):
Yes it is.
3 (32m 48s):
So I have expressed my option before,
1 (32m 53s):
So it’s only pretty much like half a mile round trip on the actual trail to the beach. But you can add on at the beach as much walking as you want to do.
3 (33m 2s):
It’s a very good workout. If you do, walk all the way to the beach, to Torrey Pines, walk around Torrey Pines and walk back. That is a good day.
1 (33m 11s):
Yes it is. So I actually have a little story for you guys while we were on this trail. Kim said that there was a few treacherous parts and she is correct. At one point there was a little bit of water on the trail and it’s like a steep cliff edge and I slipped on it and I fell and I didn’t know if I was going to have sliding. I kept sliding. I didn’t know if I was going to stop or not.
3 (33m 32s):
I was like reaching out to grab her, grab onto me and she kept going.
1 (33m 37s):
And then, so I landed hard and then we had to repel down and because what I landed in was wet and muddy. I had this big ass mud spa on me. I was wearing yoga pants. So when we got to the actual beach, I got into the water to get the mud out of my yoga pants. And I had a big ass bruise, probably the size of a cantaloupe on my leg for a few weeks.
2 (34m 3s):
You know, what happens to the best of us? Because if you back up to the mountain Gower trail, I remember that you guys were all a little bit ahead of me. And what I’m talking about is we’re going down to switch back and you guys are already on the next one and I’m finishing it up, right? So not too far ahead, but in any case I’m going down. And all of a sudden I lose my footing and I don’t know what happened, but I’m about to trip. So I start to run down the trail because I can’t stop myself. And my hands are kind of flailing. And I’m like, I’m finally, like, I I’m able to get myself to a stop. And there are two people who are coming up the switch back. And one of the guys looks at me and he’s like, are you okay?
2 (34m 44s):
Was there a B you know, because of the way that I was flailing around and I just kind of laughed in a little bit embarrassed and I’m like, no, I just, you know what? I lost my footing and I couldn’t stop. And I don’t know why. I didn’t just say yes, there was a B It happens,
1 (34m 60s):
I guess it does. So the next hike we’re going to talk about number 12 on our list is the three sisters hike it’s located in desk can’t. So my biggest tip for this hike is bring a good car, preferably with like four wheel drive, don’t bring your tiny little Honda civic. Like I did
3 (35m 19s):
About a mile, or maybe more than a mile up until the Trailhead. It turns into a gravel pathway that you’re driving down. So you can’t drive fast and it gets a little bumpy.
1 (35m 30s):
It does. It’s very hard on a tiny car. So go out with a truck or a Jeep or any other four wheel vehicle. So in terms of hiking round trip, it’s only about 4.2 miles out in back. And you only gain about a thousand feet. And this trail is one of the trails where you hike down into the falls. And then on the way back, you have to hike out
3 (35m 51s):
Immediately. When you start the trail, you go straight down. It’s like so steep. I remember starting this and thinking, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this. I know we just drove all the way out here, but like, I don’t want to do it, but I did it
1 (36m 3s):
’cause I would’ve killed him. If I drove all of that way and my car had trouble and she backed out,
3 (36m 10s):
It was scary.
4 (36m 12s):
This is also a dog friendly park. Did Emma come with you on this one? And so how did she handle the steepness?
3 (36m 18s):
You know, she was okay. And there’s a lot of places where you have to bolder. So it doesn’t seem like a lot, right? 4.2 miles thousand feet gain, not that big of a deal, but it takes so long because it’s not really a pathway. You have to Boulder over things. The only way you can kind of realize the right way to go sometimes is for a mess, spray, paint, an arrow on a rock.
1 (36m 38s):
3 (36m 39s):
It’s not a legit trail.
1 (36m 41s):
So I wouldn’t recommend it for large dogs. Cause there’s one part where you do have to repel down a rope. And Kim and I had to pass Emma down. Once one person got down there and then same thing on the way back. So it’d be a little bit more difficult for a larger dog, I think. And even for a smaller dog. So although it’s dog friendly, probably not the easiest to do with the dog
2 (37m 1s):
Of all the Hikes in San Diego. This is the one that I always hear being the most dangerous in terms of people passing out and having medical assistants come out.
1 (37m 11s):
Yeah, because there’s not a lot of shade on your way down. And then, you know, even if you start early in the morning, let’s say you start at eight and it takes you an hour to get down there and you stay for a little while near the falls because the end of the trail is at three waterfalls into an area. Hence
3 (37m 28s):
It’s names, three sisters.
1 (37m 30s):
Exactly. And the waterfalls make it worth it. But a lot of people go down there, eat. Sometimes people drink and they stay down there for a while and then you have to hike out and then the hike out is steep. So by this point, it’s typically later in the day, let’s say anywhere from like 10:00 AM to like 2:00 PM.
4 (37m 48s):
I love how 10:00 AM is late in the day on Britain, the scale of 5g,
1 (37m 52s):
Like the sun comes out during those hours,
3 (37m 55s):
No December. And it did rain on us. But even when we got to the falls, it was hot. It was,
1 (37m 59s):
It was hot. Yeah. It’s literally in the middle of a desert San Diego. So anyways, that’s why you hear people have had to be rescued and it’s so steep,
4 (38m 9s):
But definitely be mindful when you go out there. It is a very nice hike and definitely worth doing, for sure. Just know your precautions and don’t be silly when you’re down there and drink a lot to where you’re already dehydrated and it’s difficult to get out.
1 (38m 24s):
4 (38m 25s):
So our last type that we’re going to talk about is going to be number 13, tech Elodie canyon, located in the bay park region. Now I like loaded canyon for two reasons. One the hike, but two, I like to golf and they have a lovely golf course out there, but we’re not talking about golf. And this one we’re talking about hiking. So why don’t you, one of you ladies, tell us a little bit more about .
3 (38m 49s):
This is one of my favorite Hikes, because it’s really easy to get to. It’s super close to mission bay, very central part of San Diego. And there’s parking always. And it’s a set of rolling Hills. So total, anywhere between six to seven miles, but you can make it shorter or longer because it’s along a canyon that it stretches on for a long time. But when we do it, we normally start at the Tecolote trail head and then we hit about five or six rolling Hills before we turn back and do the exact same thing coming back to super steep, up, super seep down. And it’s just like another quick and dirty one.
1 (39m 26s):
4 (39m 26s):
I asked him those quick and dirty.
2 (39m 30s):
I have not done this one, but this is one that Brittany tells me that I should do because it’s near my house and I can go out and run up and down the Hills. It
3 (39m 38s):
Was a nice one to do before work.
2 (39m 39s):
1 (39m 40s):
It’s yeah, you can do it before work. And what’s great is the first two miles before you hit the Hills, it’s pretty flat. So like you could run up until you get to the hill to get to the Hills.
3 (39m 49s):
There’s a lot of runners.
1 (39m 50s):
Yeah. Run up, run down. And like Kim said, these are sets of rolling Hills. So you’ve gone one way. Now you have to turn around and the backsides are just as, or even more steep than the front side.
2 (40m 4s):
Are there a lot of coyotes?
1 (40m 6s):
3 (40m 7s):
One, never seen a coyote out there. Okay.
4 (40m 9s):
Would it be surprised those Zeno Mountain lions, but probably some, probably some coyotes.
1 (40m 18s):
Yeah. It’s a really good local city hike. Just wear shoes with good grip because it does get steep. I remember Kim wore tennis shoes once and she was just like inching down the little Hills when we were going down the lip
3 (40m 31s):
It inside In.
2 (40m 32s):
So I have a question for you guys. It’s not on here, but you guys were talking about doing an early morning bell boa hike. I think I know the story, but share it with our listeners.
3 (40m 44s):
So like Jamal was saying, I don’t like to do a hike unless it’s difficult. Even moderate Hikes. I’m like, mm. Waste of time because I wanted to workout too. Just as much as nature,
4 (40m 55s):
Unless it’s El Capitan at which point it’s too much for
3 (40m 58s):
2 (41m 1s):
Unless it’s 16 in Kings canyon.
3 (41m 5s):
So Brittany found a new hike for us to try. It was a little difficult, right?
1 (41m 10s):
No, you actually sent me the wildly.
3 (41m 12s):
Oh, it was me. Yeah. This one on me.
1 (41m 15s):
You sent me a, The link to difficult Hikes in San Diego and we were going to go down the list and that was one listed on there. The Balbo a hike. Was
3 (41m 26s):
It, was it five miles or was it more,
1 (41m 28s):
I think it was actually more than five miles. Yeah.
3 (41m 30s):
Nine miles maybe. So it’s a pretty long hike. So we started the crack of Dawn. The sun has not even rose for the day. Is
2 (41m 39s):
This 5:00 AM 6:00 AM.
1 (41m 41s):
5:00 AM, dang.
2 (41m 43s):
Get those nine miles and
3 (41m 44s):
Believe this. So we show up, we literally start in Balboa park and it’s a walk through the park. So we’re walking next to a bunch of passed out homeless people, snoring
1 (41m 55s):
On the park grounds, like on the grass. And we’re just like
3 (41m 58s):
Everywhere we turn like whoa. And the sun is not up. We’re just, just psychos wearing Hiking. You’re walking through a Bubba park Before Dawn.
2 (42m 10s):
Did you complete the nine miles?
1 (42m 12s):
3 (42m 12s):
We do like, oh, I wonder if it’s going to start getting hard and we’re like six miles in like, ah, is it going to start getting hard yet? It must’ve just been the length that made it difficult. Yeah.
1 (42m 23s):
I think it was just the length around the park that was labeled it difficult, but it was definitely a walk in the park. And we did not need to get up at 5:00 AM before the sun rose to complete it.
2 (42m 35s):
So there you have it. There’s a bonus hike for you guys.
4 (42m 39s):
If you even want to call it a hike. Yeah.
3 (42m 41s):
Bellville a park has a lot of nice walking trails,
4 (42m 45s):
Walking trails Real quick before we get to Kim’s favorite part of the episode, which I’m excited about, but why don’t you ladies tell us what your favorite hike is of these 13 that we mentioned?
2 (42m 58s):
I would have to say El cap. I love that one. It’s so challenging. And I just, I get off on challenges.
3 (43m 6s):
I like it. My favorite is Cal’s mountain because it’s quick, dirty, easy, challenging, fun.
4 (43m 14s):
I was going to say exactly the same thing. Cows mountain would be mine. There are some more challenging ones obviously. And challenging ones are always fun. But what I like about this one the most is it’s so centrally located to San Diego and it really gives you those amazing views that we talked about. I mean, I love just going up there and watching the sunset or even if not during sunset, you can see amazing 360 degree views. So Cal’s mountain is definitely a nice quick one, but definitely challenging at the same time. Love it.
1 (43m 44s):
It’s really hard for me to decide on just one. And I don’t know if it’s because I’ve done all 13, so I’m like, which one do I choose? But I’m going to have to pick two pals because it’s quick and easy and dirty. And I would also have to say probably iron mountain. I love the valley views iron mountain has. And I feel like it’s a lot less crowded than potato chip Brock. So I really enjoy that hike.
4 (44m 7s):
All right. I think it is time
7 (44m 10s):
Of the week.
4 (44m 22s):
2 (44m 22s):
Us know what you think about our jingle guys,
4 (44m 24s):
Because we clearly love our acapella. We hope you do too.
3 (44m 29s):
This is a good question. Somebody wrote in and asked, what do you keep in your hiking backpack?
2 (44m 34s):
Well, if it’s snacks, take it out. I’m just kidding. That’s an ode back to our Inca trail episode. But yes, we actually do have snacks in our Hiking backpacks. The reason
3 (44m 46s):
We need snacks is because if you go back and listen to our Sequoia national park episode, when you accidentally get lost in a seven mile, hike turns into a 16 mile hike and you have to ration a banana and a banana flavored stale bagel, half you’re gonna wish you had snacks.
1 (45m 2s):
I always keep snacks and your hiking backpack water. I always make sure to keep some toilet paper in a plastic bag in my backpack. You never know when you’re going to have to go out in nature.
3 (45m 13s):
Toilet paper is crucial.
1 (45m 14s):
4 (45m 15s):
And some baby wipes.
1 (45m 17s):
I also pack in that little bag, a disposable bag so that you can put your trash in it and carry it out. Yeah.
2 (45m 25s):
Yes. Please. Don’t be an animal. Take your trash out. Yeah.
3 (45m 29s):
We like to bring hand sanitizer in case you, you know, eat or you have to use the bathroom on the trail
2 (45m 35s):
And then also important are gloves
4 (45m 41s):
2 (45m 44s):
I am. And I’m just like, I don’t know why we have gloves on
4 (45m 48s):
’cause. I’ll tell you what Zena. I remember a couple of Hikes where I’ve had to give you my gloves cause you’ve come unprepared. And I just didn’t want to hear you bitch. So loves is a mental note for you to take on. Okay.
1 (45m 58s):
I think I actually put them on the show notes. I always keep an extra pair of gloves and socks in my hiking backpack. You never know when you’re going to cross the stream when you’re hiking and maybe your socks get wet. It’s nice to have a change. And also you never know if it gets super cold, you don’t want to have your hands get freezing and the weather
2 (46m 16s):
Well, yes, gloves are very important, but in the context of San Diego, maybe not so much, but socks. Yes you are correct. Because remember when we were in Lebanon and on our first day, while lead took us out to the mountains, I was not prepared with shoes. My socks were soaked. And then at one point we were going to get out and go someplace. And I said, I’m going to stay in the car because my socks are soaked and Waleed had an extra pair of socks and he gave me his socks to wear
1 (46m 42s):
Exactly. You gotta be prepared for all situations.
2 (46m 45s):
And then those socks got wet too,
1 (46m 48s):
Probably because your
4 (46m 48s):
Shoes, she had some dryness for a little bit.
2 (46m 51s):
4 (46m 52s):
Our next question is when we go hiking, how much water should we take or do we take? And for me, I have a specific hiking backpack that has a Water Bladder and that Water Bladder holds one and a half liters of water. So I usually fill the one and a half liters depending on the hike that we’re doing and the weather, I may bring additional water bottles as potential backups and carry it within the backpack itself. Cause it won’t obviously fit in the bladder if I have it full, but usually the one and a half liters is sufficient. But again, it all depends on what hike you’re going to be doing, what time of year. So just keep that in mind. There’s no true or try to answer to that.
2 (47m 33s):
My hiking backpack also has 1.5 liters. And when I’ve done L-CAP cause it’s not a one and done thing. I’ve done it many times and I always need at least double that because it’s hot out there and it’s steep.
1 (47m 47s):
Yeah. I was going to say my Water Bladder has done me well for every hike, except for L-CAP. We have fallen short on water supplies on that hike before Zena.
4 (47m 56s):
And that’s why, if you remember when we were talking about, when you said even sometimes ranges are out there giving people water.
2 (48m 1s):
Oh yeah. When we were out on El cap, once Brittany and I still had a little bit of water left and as the Rangers going by, he’s like, do you guys want some water bottles? And Brittany was like, no, I’m good. And I took one, even though I didn’t need it. And then pretty soon we needed that last bottle of water because Brittany and I both went through everything that we had because it goes so quickly because it’s just so unexpected. And so Brittany and I shared that bottle of water. We were laughing about it and we’re like, maybe Brittany should have gotten one, but you just, you don’t think you do because you have plenty. So that’s why we say stock-up
1 (48m 33s):
Our last question is if you only have time to hike a one of these Hikes while in San Diego, which should you do.
4 (48m 40s):
And I guess we maybe kind of answered this when I asked earlier of the ladies and we talked about which ones our favorites were, but not even the fact that this one is my favorite. I will say again, Cal’s mountain. Just because if you’re in San Diego, it’s centrally located. You don’t have to go far. You don’t have to invest a lot of time. So again, if it’s a time question of you only have one, I would say cows and the view is an amazing payoff. So short and simple and definitely easy on your time.
2 (49m 8s):
I dunno. You know, I think that whoever is asking this question, it really should come down to what do you value more? So like Jamal mentioned time or are you out there for the view? Cause Torrey Pines is a really nice view. Are you out there for the Instagram? Because potato chip rock is iconic for that. So it just really depends on what it is that you want to do.
1 (49m 31s):
I had to choose just one and I was visiting San Diego. I would probably say I would pick Torrey Pines
3 (49m 37s):
Too, because it really is the most beautiful one. The ocean is so pretty down below it and it’s not a hard Hikes, so you can park pay the 10 bucks and then walk the trails and enjoy the beach. And it’s really, really pretty part of San Diego.
2 (49m 49s):
And that’s one thing.
1 (49m 51s):
Yeah, you can hit up black speech. But one thing that we didn’t mention while we talked about Torrey Pines is you do actually have to pay to park in their parking lot. They do have unpaid spots along the way, but they do fill up really fast. If you’re not there early, you’re going to have to pay to park.
2 (50m 6s):
So there you have it hikers. Those are the 13 trails that we brought to you today. But obviously these are the honorable mention ones that we wanted to talk about because there are a lot more than 13 trails in San Diego. You could spend forever exploring the vast terrain that is the 609 area code.
4 (50m 26s):
Yeah, Brittany and I, as a matter of fact, just found a new hike close to our place that I had no clue even existed. And I liked it a lot. So, but these ones are definitely the highlights.
3 (50m 36s):
Thank you guys so much for tuning into this week’s episode. Please keep the adventures going with us. Follow us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, and subscribe to our new YouTube channel Travel Squad Podcast on YouTube.
2 (50m 48s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please share it with a friend that would enjoy it too.
4 (50m 56s):
As always please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.
1 (51m 2s):
Make sure to pack your bags and grab your passports. Because next week we are taking you with us to Tokyo, Japan. Woo