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Top 10 Beginner Friendly Hikes Near San Diego

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San Diego, California is a great area for seeing the outdoors and getting in some hiking. Whether you're just visiting on vacation or you’re from the area and looking for some new hikes, here are 10 hiking trails near San Diego that are perfect for both those new and old to hiking.

1. Guy Fleming Trail

Located near La Jolla, Torrey Pines State Reserve is home to a number of short yet stunning hikes. One of these is the Guy Fleming Trail, a level 2/3 mile loop trail that overlooks the ocean. Perfect for those looking for a quick hike, or a hike with fantastic views that isn’t too tricky, this trail is currently open. Local weather can sometimes effect status, however, so be sure to double check if planning a trip after rainfall.

Guy Fleming Trail

2. Black Mountain Open Space Park

Black Mountain Open Space Park is actually home to several trails of varying difficulty. Those looking for the San Diego hiking experience without too much difficulty can try Little Black Loop Trail, a 1.3 mile trail that connects into several other trails. Those looking for a bit of a challenge can try out Nighthawk Trail, a 3.9 mile trail up to the top of Black Mountain.

Black Mountain Open Space Park

3. Los Penasquitos Creek Trail

An excellent option for those looking for a longer, but still relatively level and easy hike, Los Penasquitos Creek Trail is a 6.4 mile loop trail featuring wooden walkways along the creek and ending in a waterfall. An incredibly scenic trail, this is also a great option for those looking to get some memorable photographs.

Los Penasquitos Creek Trail

4. Kumeyaay Lake Trail

A 1.3 mile trail located in Mission Trails Regional Park, this is a great option for families or those looking for a short yet scenic excursion. Offers views of Kumeyaay Lake, as well as some benches along the trail to rest or take in the scenery. Dogs are allowed on leash.

Kumeyaay Lake Trail

5. Sunset Cliffs Coastal Trail

As the name suggests, this trail is an amazing place to view the San Diego sunset. A 1.7 mile out and back adventure, the trail continues breathtaking views of the pacific ocean. Additionally, dogs are allowed, meaning your furry friend can experience this scenic trail with you!

 Sunset Cliffs Coastal Trail

6. Daley Ranch

For those looking for a bit of history along with gorgeous views, check out Daley Ranch. Home to a variety of fairly short trails – generally less than a mile – visitors have the option of checking out ponds, a lake, or the historic Daley Ranch House. Guided tours of the area are offered at least once a week, but tours inside Daley Ranch House are currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Daley Ranch

7. Torrey Pines Beach Trail

Another option at Torrey Pines, the ¾ mile Beach Trail begins on the cliffs overlooking Torrey Pines Beach. It winds though stunning rock formations, ending on The Beach. While the trail is fairly short and friendly to hikers of all levels and ages, it does have some steeper portions. Potential visitors should keep this in mind, especially if they will be returning to the top after enjoying the beach. Pets are not allowed.

Torrey Pines Beach Trail

8. Green Valley Truck Trail

Located in Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, this 4 mile trail offers a variety of options for a variety of hikers. The first 1.5 miles is level, shaded, and contains picnic tables, making it a great option for families looking to enjoy an outdoor lunch or nature walk. For those looking for a bit more of a challenge, they can continue to follow the trail up to Lake Ramona. Potential visitors should keep in mind that this latter section of the trail is fairly steep and lacking in shade, so ample water should be brought along.

Green Valley Truck Trail

9. Florida Canyon Trail

If you’re looking for a taste of nature without traveling too far, check out Florida Canyon Trail in Balboa Park. This 2.2-mile trail has stretches that feel like you are far from the nearest city. However, the trail actually winds through San Diego. A great choice for those looking to slip some hiking into their itinerary or get in a morning workout, the trail does have two spots where visitors must crossroads – something to keep in mind if bringing young children or dogs.

Florida Canyon Trail

10. Deer Creek and Tunnel 4 Trail

Deer Creek and Tunnel 4 Trail is a 3.7 loop trail at Del Mar Mesa Preserve. Offering a scenic, level tour of the preserve, this trail is open to dogs as well and features many gorgeous plants.

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