Hiker enjoying coastal views

Things to do in San Diego: 5 Great Hikes in San Diego

This San Diego Visitors Blog article introduces you to, ‘Things to do in San Diego: 5 Great Hikes in San Diego.’ A coastal hike or mountain hike is just the thing you need during your next visit to San Diego.

Written by
Maria Mancuso

The beaches are beautiful in San Diego.  The nightlife in downtown San Diego is exciting.  But when you want to get back to nature and enjoy some amazing and breathtaking scenery, with waterfalls, tall trees or coastal views, a hike is just for you.

Our previous article ‘6 Great Hikes in San Diego’ highlighted some of the best hikes you can enjoy during your visit to San Diego. The following San Diego Visitors Blog article, ‘Things to do in San Diego: 5 Great Hikes in San Diego,’ features tips and information on 5 more great hikes, from easy to difficult hikes with ocean views, or desert mountain terrain and even a waterfall to reward your effort.

Lace up your hiking boots, grab your sunscreen, water and camera and let’s hike San Diego:

1. Cedar Creek Falls Trail to the Devil’s Punchbowl
Distance from The Keating: 40 Miles
Length of Hike:  4.5 Miles
Estimated Duration: 3 hours
Level of Difficulty: Difficult

If you are looking for a difficult hike, great scenery, a waterfall and a refreshing dip in a natural pool, then Cedar Creek Falls Trail is for you.  This difficult and sometimes dangerous trail is very popular after a good rain when the waterfall is freely flowing and the natural pool below is full.  

Seventy-five-foot cliffs surround the natural pool below where water from the waterfall flows after a good rain.  The pool, known as, ‘Devils Punch Bowl’ is popular among hikers who like to cool off in the water after a long hike.  

This hike is not for the out of shape crowd and those who tackle the hike need to be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, water and snacks.  Hikers are required to pay a $6.00 fee at the start of the hike.

Hiker enjoying beautiful views
Many of the hikes on our list provide beautiful, Instagram-worthy views.

2. Palomar Mountain – Observatory Trail
Distance from The Keating: 61 Miles
Length of Hike: 4 miles
Estimated Duration: 2.5 hours
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

One of the most well-maintained trails in San Diego County, Palomar Mountain offers great views and the beauty of the trail itself.  Hikers report rattlesnakes during the warmer months and there are Mountain Lions in the area as well although you are not likely to see them.  Just be aware.   The Palomar Observatory can be visited at the top of the trail and guests are welcome 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. except for Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Scenic hiking trail in California
San Diego County is home to many beautiful hikes, from Desert, to Mountains to Coastal Hikes...from easy strolls to the very difficult.  San Diego is sure to have a hike that is perfect for you.

3. William Heise County Park
Distance from The Keating: 15 Miles
Length of Hike: 10.50 Miles
Estimated Duration: 30 minutes to 4 Hours
Level of Difficulty: Difficulty varies depending on the trail

If you’re looking for a variety of hiking challenges during your outing, the William Heise County Park is a great choice.  The park offers a variety of trails within its 929-acres of mountainous and forested land.   This park also offers overnight stay privileges for campers/hikers as well as showers, restrooms and even cabins for rent.  

4. Los Peñasquitos Canyon
Distance from The Keating: 19 Miles
Length of Hike:  4.6 Miles
Estimated Duration: 4 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy

An easy and rewarding hike with a beautiful waterfall and river views as your reward.  Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail is an easy 4.6-mile hike great for families and kids alike.  Because of the water access, creek and coverage you may see some wildlife along the way, like wild Deer.

Hiker enjoying beautiful views
The nightlife in downtown San Diego is exciting, but when you want to get back to nature and enjoy some amazing and breathtaking scenery, with waterfalls, tall trees or coastal views, a hike is just for you.

5. Mission Trails Regional Park: Oak Canyon Trail
Distance from The Keating: 18 Miles
Length of Hike:  3 Miles
Estimated Duration: Up to 2 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy

This is another easy 3-mile hike that will take you about 3 hours to complete.  Mission Trails Regional Park: Oak Canyon Trail is an urban National park with 40 miles of trails near Kumeyaay Lake and Lake Murray, tall Oak Trees and Sycamore Trees that direct hikers to the Old Mission Dam. During the rainy season, hikers can enjoy a stream that drops down into the canyon.

We hope our San Diego Visitors Blog article, ‘Things to do in San Diego: 5 Great Hikes in San Diego,’ has provided you with enough information to choose the hike that is just right for you!

Should you have any questions about any of these great San Diego Hikes, transportation or any other San Diego activity, please just ask our Concierge and they will be happy to help you.

Check back to visit our San Diego Visitors Blog and San Diego Visitors Guide for more inspiration on all there is to do, see and experience on your next visit to San Diego!

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