San Diego Outdoor Adventures

Lissa
San Diego Outdoor Adventures

Hiking

San Diego is known around the country as a beach haven, and for good reason: the county does, after all, have more than 70 miles of pristine, world-class coastline. However, those who actually live in the city know that its natural splendor extends far beyond its shores -- the county is also home to some spectacular hiking. While San Diego’s mountains might not attract the same level of fame as its beaches, they provide a world of opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts looking to hike, mountain bike, climb, or simply get away from the masses, so long as you know where to look. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the best hikes in San Diego into one comprehensive guide. Strap on your boots and leave the sandals at home -- these are the hikes you need to try, with difficulty rankings, with one being a simple stroll and 10 being a mountaineering menace. Now go hit the trails.
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Joshua Tree National Park
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Location: Mount Woodson, 5 miles northeast of Poway Difficulty: 7 Best for: Instagram junkies, bucket listers, anyone who loves steepness Potato Chip Rock is probably the single most Instagrammed hike in the county and, as such, is hardly a secret. If you go, expect crowds -- particularly at the top, when you get to the titular potato chip granite diving board. Wait times of 15 minutes or more to actually step out onto the rock for a photo aren’t unheard of. Still, the hike to Potato Chip is a good one, particularly if you’re into steep climbs. There are two routes to get to Potato Chip: an 8-mile out-and-back along Mount Woodson Trail that starts at Lake Poway, and a paved, straight-up, straight-down four-mile out-and-back hike from Highway 67. The former provides more of a traditional hiking experience, while the latter is steep from start to finish on paved roads. Regardless of which route you choose, you’re going to feel the burn if you want to get that Instagram shot.
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Potato Chip Rock
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Location: Mount Woodson, 5 miles northeast of Poway Difficulty: 7 Best for: Instagram junkies, bucket listers, anyone who loves steepness Potato Chip Rock is probably the single most Instagrammed hike in the county and, as such, is hardly a secret. If you go, expect crowds -- particularly at the top, when you get to the titular potato chip granite diving board. Wait times of 15 minutes or more to actually step out onto the rock for a photo aren’t unheard of. Still, the hike to Potato Chip is a good one, particularly if you’re into steep climbs. There are two routes to get to Potato Chip: an 8-mile out-and-back along Mount Woodson Trail that starts at Lake Poway, and a paved, straight-up, straight-down four-mile out-and-back hike from Highway 67. The former provides more of a traditional hiking experience, while the latter is steep from start to finish on paved roads. Regardless of which route you choose, you’re going to feel the burn if you want to get that Instagram shot.
Location: Roughly 5 miles east of Poway Difficulty: 6 Best for: Breaking a quick sweat, midweek hikes, bouldering, getting well-acquainted with the UV Index Just outside Poway, Iron Mountain can -- fittingly -- feel a lot like a hot iron skillet when you’re on it due to the lack of shade on the peak. That said, the roughly 6-mile loop is a perfect hike for those looking to get in a good, quick workout that still packs some technical hiking. As it's manageable for hikers of most any skill level (as long as you pack sunscreen and water), the dusty trail can get pretty busy on the weekends, so you should try to hit the hike midweek, early morning, or late afternoon if you can. With mostly stable, easy footing, the trail offers fantastic running opportunities, while the granite boulders that line it make up some of the better bouldering terrain in the county. The trail itself starts off flat before gradually gaining pitch as it builds into the eastern mountains and finishes with a wonderful, 360-degree view of the surrounding hills and San Vicente Reservoir. It’s a great way to sneak in an outdoor workout, while still feeling like you’re truly out in nature.
Iron Mountain
Location: Roughly 5 miles east of Poway Difficulty: 6 Best for: Breaking a quick sweat, midweek hikes, bouldering, getting well-acquainted with the UV Index Just outside Poway, Iron Mountain can -- fittingly -- feel a lot like a hot iron skillet when you’re on it due to the lack of shade on the peak. That said, the roughly 6-mile loop is a perfect hike for those looking to get in a good, quick workout that still packs some technical hiking. As it's manageable for hikers of most any skill level (as long as you pack sunscreen and water), the dusty trail can get pretty busy on the weekends, so you should try to hit the hike midweek, early morning, or late afternoon if you can. With mostly stable, easy footing, the trail offers fantastic running opportunities, while the granite boulders that line it make up some of the better bouldering terrain in the county. The trail itself starts off flat before gradually gaining pitch as it builds into the eastern mountains and finishes with a wonderful, 360-degree view of the surrounding hills and San Vicente Reservoir. It’s a great way to sneak in an outdoor workout, while still feeling like you’re truly out in nature.
Location: Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Difficulty: 2 Best for: Ocean views, casual strolls, the occasional visit to the nude beach Again, this one is far from a hidden gem, but Torrey Pines is iconic for a reason. Truly one of the most beautiful locations along the entire California coastline, the Natural Reserve has multiple miles of adjoining trails within it -- none of which rate higher than moderate difficulty -- that allow you make your day on the trails a lot longer than this 3-mile loop, if you feel so inclined. As for the Beach Trail loop, it’s a breeze of a hike, with a gradual trek up a well-maintained (and at times, paved) road that leads into crisscrossing dusty trails through the wildflower bushes atop the Reserve, before driving down the bluffs that the Reserve sits upon to the wide, beautiful beaches of Torrey (all of which can be hiked in reverse order). The views are jaw-dropping, even if you’re sharing them with scores of others, and when you get to the beach, you can head over to Blacks Beach to enjoy some surfing and clothing-optional suntanning, steep ascents up trails like Ho Chi Minh, and vistas of hang-gliders launching off the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
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Torrey Pines State Reserve
12600 North Torrey Pines Road
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Location: Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Difficulty: 2 Best for: Ocean views, casual strolls, the occasional visit to the nude beach Again, this one is far from a hidden gem, but Torrey Pines is iconic for a reason. Truly one of the most beautiful locations along the entire California coastline, the Natural Reserve has multiple miles of adjoining trails within it -- none of which rate higher than moderate difficulty -- that allow you make your day on the trails a lot longer than this 3-mile loop, if you feel so inclined. As for the Beach Trail loop, it’s a breeze of a hike, with a gradual trek up a well-maintained (and at times, paved) road that leads into crisscrossing dusty trails through the wildflower bushes atop the Reserve, before driving down the bluffs that the Reserve sits upon to the wide, beautiful beaches of Torrey (all of which can be hiked in reverse order). The views are jaw-dropping, even if you’re sharing them with scores of others, and when you get to the beach, you can head over to Blacks Beach to enjoy some surfing and clothing-optional suntanning, steep ascents up trails like Ho Chi Minh, and vistas of hang-gliders launching off the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Location: 20 miles north of Campo Difficulty: 7 Best for: Hiking purists, backcountry enthusiasts, those looking for a real challenge No other hike in San Diego county really offers the true “backcountry” feel that Corte Madera Mountain does. Located in the southernmost part of the Cleveland National Forest, it’s a pain in the ass to get to -- it will take you an hour-and-a-half to drive there from downtown on a good day. That said, the mountain’s secluded nature makes it great for those looking to get, well, into secluded nature. The roughly 7-mile out-and-back trail gains in steepness and difficulty as you travel along it, and by the time you get halfway through it you’ll likely find yourself needing to break occasionally to catch your breath and fill up on water. But with live oaks, manzanita, and granite slabs galore along the path, you’ll truly feel like you’re out in the wilderness for the entirety of the hike and get rewarded with an astonishing view of Corte Madera Mountain -- often called the Half Dome of San Diego -- for your efforts.
Corte Madera Trailhead
Location: 20 miles north of Campo Difficulty: 7 Best for: Hiking purists, backcountry enthusiasts, those looking for a real challenge No other hike in San Diego county really offers the true “backcountry” feel that Corte Madera Mountain does. Located in the southernmost part of the Cleveland National Forest, it’s a pain in the ass to get to -- it will take you an hour-and-a-half to drive there from downtown on a good day. That said, the mountain’s secluded nature makes it great for those looking to get, well, into secluded nature. The roughly 7-mile out-and-back trail gains in steepness and difficulty as you travel along it, and by the time you get halfway through it you’ll likely find yourself needing to break occasionally to catch your breath and fill up on water. But with live oaks, manzanita, and granite slabs galore along the path, you’ll truly feel like you’re out in the wilderness for the entirety of the hike and get rewarded with an astonishing view of Corte Madera Mountain -- often called the Half Dome of San Diego -- for your efforts.
Location: El Cajon Mountain near Lakeside Difficulty: 10 Best for: Hiking extremists, people looking to recreate a Yosemite feeling in San Diego El Cajon Mountain -- also known as El Capitan, for its resemblance to the Yosemite peak of the same name -- is regarded by many as the toughest hike in San Diego, and is a great option for anyone really looking for a long, challenging hike. An 11-mile out-and-back trail that covers almost 3,600 feet of elevation gain amidst the El Capitan County Preserve, it’s an extremist's dream: wildly steep ascents, multiple up-and-down sections, and little to no shade throughout the hike. If you’re going to give it a try, make sure to bring copious amounts of snacks and water to keep from feeling faint, and prepare to spend five hours or so on-trail. Once you get to the peak, though, all that suffering will be worth it -- the panoramic views from atop El Cajon mountain are sprawling, expansive, and second-to-none.
El Cajon Mountain Trailhead Parking
12777 Wildcat Canyon Rd
Location: El Cajon Mountain near Lakeside Difficulty: 10 Best for: Hiking extremists, people looking to recreate a Yosemite feeling in San Diego El Cajon Mountain -- also known as El Capitan, for its resemblance to the Yosemite peak of the same name -- is regarded by many as the toughest hike in San Diego, and is a great option for anyone really looking for a long, challenging hike. An 11-mile out-and-back trail that covers almost 3,600 feet of elevation gain amidst the El Capitan County Preserve, it’s an extremist's dream: wildly steep ascents, multiple up-and-down sections, and little to no shade throughout the hike. If you’re going to give it a try, make sure to bring copious amounts of snacks and water to keep from feeling faint, and prepare to spend five hours or so on-trail. Once you get to the peak, though, all that suffering will be worth it -- the panoramic views from atop El Cajon mountain are sprawling, expansive, and second-to-none.
Location: 14 miles north of Descanso Difficulty: 5 Best for: Waterslide enthusiasts, anyone who enjoys a good valley view, lovers of wildflowers Three Sisters Falls is perhaps the most unique hiking experience in San Diego. A fairly simple 4-mile, out-and-back, the hike actually starts as a descent. After 2 miles of an easy downhill approach, you get to the waterfalls -- and, simply put, they're unlike anything else in the county. With a naturally occurring waterslide that feeds off the main fall, Three Sisters is like nature’s waterpark allowing you plenty of opportunities to beat the summer sun by getting wet. When you reach the falls from the initial descent, you’ll be greeted by amazing valley vistas and copious opportunities to go scrambling on the rock faces and boulders strewn throughout the canyon. Make sure to stay dry while scrambling, as the rocks are very smooth (particularly on the east side of the falls) and slipping on them can mean sliding 10-20 feet. When you’re finished at the falls, the 2-mile climb back to your car will certainly be more difficult than the initial descent. Take your time and make sure of every step, and you’ll be fine.
Three Sisters Falls Trailhead
Boulder Creek Road
Location: 14 miles north of Descanso Difficulty: 5 Best for: Waterslide enthusiasts, anyone who enjoys a good valley view, lovers of wildflowers Three Sisters Falls is perhaps the most unique hiking experience in San Diego. A fairly simple 4-mile, out-and-back, the hike actually starts as a descent. After 2 miles of an easy downhill approach, you get to the waterfalls -- and, simply put, they're unlike anything else in the county. With a naturally occurring waterslide that feeds off the main fall, Three Sisters is like nature’s waterpark allowing you plenty of opportunities to beat the summer sun by getting wet. When you reach the falls from the initial descent, you’ll be greeted by amazing valley vistas and copious opportunities to go scrambling on the rock faces and boulders strewn throughout the canyon. Make sure to stay dry while scrambling, as the rocks are very smooth (particularly on the east side of the falls) and slipping on them can mean sliding 10-20 feet. When you’re finished at the falls, the 2-mile climb back to your car will certainly be more difficult than the initial descent. Take your time and make sure of every step, and you’ll be fine.
Location: 10 miles south of Julian’s downtown Difficulty: 3 Best for: Late night stargazing, via ferrata feels, short hikes followed by warm apple pie If you want to feel like you’re getting into the backcountry but don’t have the time (or hiking abilities) to take on Corte Madera or El Cajon Mountain, give Stonewall Peak a go. The out-and-back trail is under four miles roundtrip and just cracks 800 feet of vertical gain, meaning hikers of any skill level can take it on. Plus, with tons of shade granted by the lush vegetation around the trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, you won’t have to worry about overheating on it. The hike summits via a fairly exposed stairway that is protected by a metal railing, giving hikers a chance to replicate the wonderful feeling of hanging off the side of a mountain on a via ferrata with no danger. Then, it finishes on a wide open granite plateau that gives tantalizing 360-degree views of Lake Cuyamaca and makes for an awesome stargazing locale. Follow up the easy hike with a slice of apple pie from one of the famous shops in Julian for a sweet, easy day on the trail.
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Stonewall Peak Trailhead
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Location: 10 miles south of Julian’s downtown Difficulty: 3 Best for: Late night stargazing, via ferrata feels, short hikes followed by warm apple pie If you want to feel like you’re getting into the backcountry but don’t have the time (or hiking abilities) to take on Corte Madera or El Cajon Mountain, give Stonewall Peak a go. The out-and-back trail is under four miles roundtrip and just cracks 800 feet of vertical gain, meaning hikers of any skill level can take it on. Plus, with tons of shade granted by the lush vegetation around the trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, you won’t have to worry about overheating on it. The hike summits via a fairly exposed stairway that is protected by a metal railing, giving hikers a chance to replicate the wonderful feeling of hanging off the side of a mountain on a via ferrata with no danger. Then, it finishes on a wide open granite plateau that gives tantalizing 360-degree views of Lake Cuyamaca and makes for an awesome stargazing locale. Follow up the easy hike with a slice of apple pie from one of the famous shops in Julian for a sweet, easy day on the trail.
Location: 10 miles south of Julian’s downtown Difficulty: 3 Best for: Late night stargazing, via ferrata feels, short hikes followed by warm apple pie If you want to feel like you’re getting into the backcountry but don’t have the time (or hiking abilities) to take on Corte Madera or El Cajon Mountain, give Stonewall Peak a go. The out-and-back trail is under four miles roundtrip and just cracks 800 feet of vertical gain, meaning hikers of any skill level can take it on. Plus, with tons of shade granted by the lush vegetation around the trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, you won’t have to worry about overheating on it. The hike summits via a fairly exposed stairway that is protected by a metal railing, giving hikers a chance to replicate the wonderful feeling of hanging off the side of a mountain on a via ferrata with no danger. Then, it finishes on a wide open granite plateau that gives tantalizing 360-degree views of Lake Cuyamaca and makes for an awesome stargazing locale. Follow up the easy hike with a slice of apple pie from one of the famous shops in Julian for a sweet, easy day on the trail.
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Volcan Mountain Trailhead
1107 Farmer Rd
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Location: 10 miles south of Julian’s downtown Difficulty: 3 Best for: Late night stargazing, via ferrata feels, short hikes followed by warm apple pie If you want to feel like you’re getting into the backcountry but don’t have the time (or hiking abilities) to take on Corte Madera or El Cajon Mountain, give Stonewall Peak a go. The out-and-back trail is under four miles roundtrip and just cracks 800 feet of vertical gain, meaning hikers of any skill level can take it on. Plus, with tons of shade granted by the lush vegetation around the trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, you won’t have to worry about overheating on it. The hike summits via a fairly exposed stairway that is protected by a metal railing, giving hikers a chance to replicate the wonderful feeling of hanging off the side of a mountain on a via ferrata with no danger. Then, it finishes on a wide open granite plateau that gives tantalizing 360-degree views of Lake Cuyamaca and makes for an awesome stargazing locale. Follow up the easy hike with a slice of apple pie from one of the famous shops in Julian for a sweet, easy day on the trail.

Cycling

I take pride in my guidebooks but this one is out of my expertise so outsourcing to an authority via Element Cycles (see link below with route maps): San Diego has something for every rider—challenging road routes, leisurely trails, rides that will push your limits, and rides that prioritize the microbrews over the microbursts. It’s easy to see why plenty of pros train in San Diego during the offseason. Cycling-friendly, gorgeous-beach-boasting, better-weather-than-yours San Diego! Seriously, how much are flights right now? From South Bay to Oceanside, here’s some of our favorite routes we love to ride when we’re in “America’s Finest City.” Source: https://www.elementcycles.net/blog/best-san-diego-bike-trails/
The Bayshore Bikeway is an iconic 24-mile ride through downtown, Coronado, and South Bay. The route includes about 13 miles of car-free bicycle paths and wraps around San Diego Bay, through Silver Strand State Beach and the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s an easy, mostly flat ride, full of sightseeing, shopping, and dining opportunities. While you can make the trek in either direction, we suggest taking a water taxi across the landing and starting your ride at Coronado Ferry Landing—plus, parking is easier that way. There are plenty of places to eat and drink at the beginning and the end but not much in the middle, so bring water and a few snacks.
Bayshore Bikeway (Silver Strand Bikeway)
The Bayshore Bikeway is an iconic 24-mile ride through downtown, Coronado, and South Bay. The route includes about 13 miles of car-free bicycle paths and wraps around San Diego Bay, through Silver Strand State Beach and the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s an easy, mostly flat ride, full of sightseeing, shopping, and dining opportunities. While you can make the trek in either direction, we suggest taking a water taxi across the landing and starting your ride at Coronado Ferry Landing—plus, parking is easier that way. There are plenty of places to eat and drink at the beginning and the end but not much in the middle, so bring water and a few snacks.
Looking for the spot locals go to train and get away from the whiney tourists? Welcome to the polar opposite of the Bayshore Bikeway—State Route 56 Bike Path. Running along (you guessed it) State Route 56 for much of the way, this traffic-separated, 14-mile connection between inland and coastal San Diego features a gradual incline going west to east. The scenery is a little drab in the eastern section and picks up as you ride west and follow the river bed. It should be noted that there aren’t any bathrooms or water on the path itself, but there is a convenience store and gas station next to the trail at Camino Del Sur, near the halfway point.
California 56
Looking for the spot locals go to train and get away from the whiney tourists? Welcome to the polar opposite of the Bayshore Bikeway—State Route 56 Bike Path. Running along (you guessed it) State Route 56 for much of the way, this traffic-separated, 14-mile connection between inland and coastal San Diego features a gradual incline going west to east. The scenery is a little drab in the eastern section and picks up as you ride west and follow the river bed. It should be noted that there aren’t any bathrooms or water on the path itself, but there is a convenience store and gas station next to the trail at Camino Del Sur, near the halfway point.
How does a 13-mile ascent up a 6,000-foot peak sound? If you answered “invigorating” or “what memories are made of”—we like your style—and you’ll love Mount Palomar. During the opening 5-mile stretch, you climb about 1,500 feet at an average grade of 6.3 percent—then the fun really starts as you power through 20 switchbacks and reach 4,100’. Here, you can either end the climb at the Sound Grade Road or continue onto Crestline Road up to the summit. In terms of places to stop, the taco shop at the beginning is a decent spot for lunch after you come back down, and there’s a general store and great cyclist cafe (Mother’s Kitchen) near the top of the climb.
Palomar Mountain
How does a 13-mile ascent up a 6,000-foot peak sound? If you answered “invigorating” or “what memories are made of”—we like your style—and you’ll love Mount Palomar. During the opening 5-mile stretch, you climb about 1,500 feet at an average grade of 6.3 percent—then the fun really starts as you power through 20 switchbacks and reach 4,100’. Here, you can either end the climb at the Sound Grade Road or continue onto Crestline Road up to the summit. In terms of places to stop, the taco shop at the beginning is a decent spot for lunch after you come back down, and there’s a general store and great cyclist cafe (Mother’s Kitchen) near the top of the climb.
Saturday Swami at Solano Beach... If you’re looking for some group motivation and you’re in pretty good shape, you have to check out Saturday Swami’s club ride. The group ride starts in Solana Beach and, while the route can vary each weekend, generally the pack heads through the Elfin Forest to Escondido then back along Del Dios and through Rancho Santa Fe to the coast, returning to Solana Beach—a total distance of 38 miles. There are two groups that head out shortly after 8 a.m. each Saturday, both very fast, but only group A is for, as the website puts it, “any hardware (medals) from States, Nationals, Olympics, Worlds or make your living riding a bike really fast . . . if you’re ‘reconnecting’ with your bike fitness, or you want to ride at a pace less than full on OMG this hurts . . . race pace, the B ride is for you.” As a note, if you’re looking for a less intense group ride, North County Cycling Club hosts a number group rides on the weekends for varying levels of riders, including shorter routes around the Lake Hodges area.
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Solana Beach
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Saturday Swami at Solano Beach... If you’re looking for some group motivation and you’re in pretty good shape, you have to check out Saturday Swami’s club ride. The group ride starts in Solana Beach and, while the route can vary each weekend, generally the pack heads through the Elfin Forest to Escondido then back along Del Dios and through Rancho Santa Fe to the coast, returning to Solana Beach—a total distance of 38 miles. There are two groups that head out shortly after 8 a.m. each Saturday, both very fast, but only group A is for, as the website puts it, “any hardware (medals) from States, Nationals, Olympics, Worlds or make your living riding a bike really fast . . . if you’re ‘reconnecting’ with your bike fitness, or you want to ride at a pace less than full on OMG this hurts . . . race pace, the B ride is for you.” As a note, if you’re looking for a less intense group ride, North County Cycling Club hosts a number group rides on the weekends for varying levels of riders, including shorter routes around the Lake Hodges area.
The PCH Ride. You can’t talk San Diego routes without mentioning the Pacific Coast Highway. Obviously, the old highway stretches all the way up the California coast, but locals like to start their route in Del Mar, head through Camp Pendleton above Oceanside before turning back south again. The route offers a good variety of rolling hills and flat stretches and includes many stopping points along the way.
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Del Mar
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The PCH Ride. You can’t talk San Diego routes without mentioning the Pacific Coast Highway. Obviously, the old highway stretches all the way up the California coast, but locals like to start their route in Del Mar, head through Camp Pendleton above Oceanside before turning back south again. The route offers a good variety of rolling hills and flat stretches and includes many stopping points along the way.
We know, we know—this is a list of road routes. But we couldn’t resist. Just take a short 10-mile drive northeast of downtown, and you’ll wind up in Mission Trails Regional Park—6,000 acres of mountain biking trails for nearly every type of rider and experience level. Split by the Fortuna Mountains, the eastern portion is home to leisurely, sightseeing rides, while the west attracts more experienced cyclists.
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Mission Trails Regional Park
1 Father Junipero Serra Trail
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We know, we know—this is a list of road routes. But we couldn’t resist. Just take a short 10-mile drive northeast of downtown, and you’ll wind up in Mission Trails Regional Park—6,000 acres of mountain biking trails for nearly every type of rider and experience level. Split by the Fortuna Mountains, the eastern portion is home to leisurely, sightseeing rides, while the west attracts more experienced cyclists.

Surfing

Although I am looking forward to learning next summer, I am not a surfer but my family is! I deferred to Thrillist for their recommendations in this department... I'm more a food and drink expert but San Diego is making an outdoor girl out of me more every day! Source: https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/san-diego-surf-spots
Experience level: Intermediate/advanced only Best seasons to go: Summer and fall Advertisement When you're talking San Diego surf, La Jolla -- literally, the Jewel -- is the star of the show. As such, it demands care. With the days of wild beach parties, vandalism, and riots now behind us, the area remains steeped in lore and tradition. As a kid growing up on these beaches, I was taught to respect the locals from the jump. The parking lot at Windansea was, and still is, packed with scrutinizing older locals -- and, today, with their kids, who hold down the lineup to make sure they get the best waves. The wave itself breaks far off the beach. It packs a surprising wallop, and every year seriously injures dozens of people. Both the quality and the danger make locals quick to sniff out beginners and kooks, so if that sums up your ability, maybe give this one a pass. If you're already a skilled surfer, you'll have a great time on this south swell magnet that produces rippable waves year-round. If you're not surfing, this is still the finest beach in town. By all means, visit for the rock caves, the tide pools, and the beautiful, scantily clad people who flock to this beach in the summer months. And if you only want to watch surfing, this is your spot. The bluffs that overlook the tight surf zone create something like a natural arena, giving you a better vantage than you'd have on a flat beach. On busy days, it's the best free show in town.
Windansea Beach
Experience level: Intermediate/advanced only Best seasons to go: Summer and fall Advertisement When you're talking San Diego surf, La Jolla -- literally, the Jewel -- is the star of the show. As such, it demands care. With the days of wild beach parties, vandalism, and riots now behind us, the area remains steeped in lore and tradition. As a kid growing up on these beaches, I was taught to respect the locals from the jump. The parking lot at Windansea was, and still is, packed with scrutinizing older locals -- and, today, with their kids, who hold down the lineup to make sure they get the best waves. The wave itself breaks far off the beach. It packs a surprising wallop, and every year seriously injures dozens of people. Both the quality and the danger make locals quick to sniff out beginners and kooks, so if that sums up your ability, maybe give this one a pass. If you're already a skilled surfer, you'll have a great time on this south swell magnet that produces rippable waves year-round. If you're not surfing, this is still the finest beach in town. By all means, visit for the rock caves, the tide pools, and the beautiful, scantily clad people who flock to this beach in the summer months. And if you only want to watch surfing, this is your spot. The bluffs that overlook the tight surf zone create something like a natural arena, giving you a better vantage than you'd have on a flat beach. On busy days, it's the best free show in town.
Experience level: Beginner/intermediate Best season to go: Summer A sensational spot for the novice. During the summer months, south swells wrap into the beaches on shifting sandbars, offering everything from playful waves to double overhead dumping barrels. But the best reason to hang around this one-time military area? It's by far the coolest beach community in our city, it's a working man's beach town. The salt-of-the-earth local surfers are likely to be musicians, skaters, and fishermen. They don't accept everyone at first, but once you make a friend, you'll find they're the real deal. Surfers run some of the exciting restaurants popping up, like the Beach Break Cafe and The Privateer. If you want to get to know more about the surf spots in town, you can strike up a conversation with one of the friendly owners over a cup of coffee.
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Oceanside
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Experience level: Beginner/intermediate Best season to go: Summer A sensational spot for the novice. During the summer months, south swells wrap into the beaches on shifting sandbars, offering everything from playful waves to double overhead dumping barrels. But the best reason to hang around this one-time military area? It's by far the coolest beach community in our city, it's a working man's beach town. The salt-of-the-earth local surfers are likely to be musicians, skaters, and fishermen. They don't accept everyone at first, but once you make a friend, you'll find they're the real deal. Surfers run some of the exciting restaurants popping up, like the Beach Break Cafe and The Privateer. If you want to get to know more about the surf spots in town, you can strike up a conversation with one of the friendly owners over a cup of coffee.
Experience level: Beginner/intermediate Best seasons to go: All year This is where [the author] grew up and learned to surf back in the '80s, a glorious time to be a surfer in this town. The beaches were uncrowded, as surfing had yet to become a trend. We even had our own resident surfing legend, Skip Frye, a pillar of the sport who still surfs Tourmaline Surfing Park every day. Yes, PB as it's known, has a surfing park that none other than Richard Nixon dedicated to the city. The spot is a mecca for beginners as the wave breaks soft and mushy, perfect for kids and adults to learn on. There's even parking and bathrooms. It's the perfect place to catch your first waves. Just down the beach to the south is Crystal Pier, which has bigger and more lined-up waves that break off the end of the pilings. If you want to stay somewhere cool, you can rent a cottage on the pier and sleep over the crashing waves. Once a sleepy little beach town, PB has morphed into a full-on college party town, with bars and tattoo parlors dotting the main strip, Garnet Ave. Longtime residents slowly moved from the area as apartment buildings went up. PB now feels run by temporary out-of-towners who ignore the history of the area. Maybe I'm just a salty old bastard, but that stuff matters to me. If you're 21, this will seem like heaven on Earth. If you're over 40, you just might leave and never come back. Local tip: Eat at Kono's Cafe at the foot of Garnet Ave for a great breakfast overlooking the ocean (although I personally don't prefer their coffee at all). Check out Pacific Drive Skateboard Shop, one of the nation's most legendary skate shops.
290 penduduk tempatan mengesyorkan
Pacific Beach
290 penduduk tempatan mengesyorkan
Experience level: Beginner/intermediate Best seasons to go: All year This is where [the author] grew up and learned to surf back in the '80s, a glorious time to be a surfer in this town. The beaches were uncrowded, as surfing had yet to become a trend. We even had our own resident surfing legend, Skip Frye, a pillar of the sport who still surfs Tourmaline Surfing Park every day. Yes, PB as it's known, has a surfing park that none other than Richard Nixon dedicated to the city. The spot is a mecca for beginners as the wave breaks soft and mushy, perfect for kids and adults to learn on. There's even parking and bathrooms. It's the perfect place to catch your first waves. Just down the beach to the south is Crystal Pier, which has bigger and more lined-up waves that break off the end of the pilings. If you want to stay somewhere cool, you can rent a cottage on the pier and sleep over the crashing waves. Once a sleepy little beach town, PB has morphed into a full-on college party town, with bars and tattoo parlors dotting the main strip, Garnet Ave. Longtime residents slowly moved from the area as apartment buildings went up. PB now feels run by temporary out-of-towners who ignore the history of the area. Maybe I'm just a salty old bastard, but that stuff matters to me. If you're 21, this will seem like heaven on Earth. If you're over 40, you just might leave and never come back. Local tip: Eat at Kono's Cafe at the foot of Garnet Ave for a great breakfast overlooking the ocean (although I personally don't prefer their coffee at all). Check out Pacific Drive Skateboard Shop, one of the nation's most legendary skate shops.
Experience level: Intermediate/advanced only Best seasons to go: All year Even among La Jolla's dozens of world-class spots, Black's Beach is a cut above. Roughly perpendicular to the towering cliffs lies the undersea Scripps Canyon, a gorge that drops quickly to 120 deep and, further out, wanders to depths of 1,600ft. Waves coming in through the gorge bend and shift as they hit the shallow sandbars. Black's has many faces, from fun, high-performance peaks to scary "canyon" sets that break up to 25ft. It's unpredictable, though, and not recommended to anyone who's not a strong surfer or swimmer. For as good as the surfing is, Black's is most famous as a nude beach. Take note, though, that the people most likely to be wearing the least clothes tend to be old men playing volleyball. While that image sets in, let me put it to you this way: In 30 years of surfing there, I've only seen hot babes laying out a couple of times. Maybe it has to do with the aforementioned old, naked men standing around everywhere. Anyway, leave the kids at home for this day trip. Local tip: Park at the Torrey Pines Gliderport and take the groomed trail down the cliff. Avoid other trails, as they often leave people stranded on the steep cliffs. Pack a bag with plenty of water -- there are no amenities on the beach.
75 penduduk tempatan mengesyorkan
Black's Beach
75 penduduk tempatan mengesyorkan
Experience level: Intermediate/advanced only Best seasons to go: All year Even among La Jolla's dozens of world-class spots, Black's Beach is a cut above. Roughly perpendicular to the towering cliffs lies the undersea Scripps Canyon, a gorge that drops quickly to 120 deep and, further out, wanders to depths of 1,600ft. Waves coming in through the gorge bend and shift as they hit the shallow sandbars. Black's has many faces, from fun, high-performance peaks to scary "canyon" sets that break up to 25ft. It's unpredictable, though, and not recommended to anyone who's not a strong surfer or swimmer. For as good as the surfing is, Black's is most famous as a nude beach. Take note, though, that the people most likely to be wearing the least clothes tend to be old men playing volleyball. While that image sets in, let me put it to you this way: In 30 years of surfing there, I've only seen hot babes laying out a couple of times. Maybe it has to do with the aforementioned old, naked men standing around everywhere. Anyway, leave the kids at home for this day trip. Local tip: Park at the Torrey Pines Gliderport and take the groomed trail down the cliff. Avoid other trails, as they often leave people stranded on the steep cliffs. Pack a bag with plenty of water -- there are no amenities on the beach.