Top day hikes around San Diego

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San Diego in the summer is much like the desert … it is so hot that most locals and visitors sprint toward the nearest body of water. I love the beach, but I love the beach more when there are 75 percent fewer people than there are currently seated on a lush beach towel down by the shores at this very moment.

What is a girl to do? Think. What else does lovely San Diego have to offer me that will entertain me and help me avoid the flocks of people?

One word: Hiking.

Activity is very important to me. I love to go running and lift gigantic weights to get my guns ready for the show, but what I love most is being outside using my body naturally. Surprisingly enough, San Diego has tons of trails throughout the county ranging from super easy to ridiculously challenging. Here are the places that I have explored or want to explore soon:

View from the peak Cowles' Mountain

#1 Cowles’ Mountain

This is one of those local hikes that gives you a wonderful workout and a great view of California at the top! Loaded with switchbacks and heavy inclines, this is for intermediate runners/hikers.

It is about 2.5 miles round trip. Wear sunscreen because there is no shade.

Where: Just past SDSU on the left. From I-8 take the College Blvd exit and head North. Turn right on Navajo and follow it down a couple of miles. The trail head is on the left-hand side of the road.

When to Go: This is East County, so I suggest going early in the morning or right before sunset.

#2 Razor Point Trail- La Jolla

La Jolla is La Jolla- expensive boutiques, lush dining, and the great Pacific Ocean pouring its heart out onto the sand. It also boasts an amazing reserve … Torrey Pines. Sort of the Eden away from the Eden, Torrey Pines is loaded with forest-like trails, as well as almost on the water treks.

Razor Point Trail offers a beautiful ocean view and it is suited for any level hiker. Great place for a romantic sunset too. It is approximately 1.5 mile round trip.

Where: Traveling North on I-5 exit onto Genesee and then take a right onto Torrey Pines Road … after passing the golf course and seeing the badlands on the left, turn into the park. Simple.

When to Go: Anytime. The weather is very temperate because of the coastal breeze. Another opportunity for a romantic sunset!

#3 Cuyamaca Peak Loop

The Lake in the winter!

Cuyamaca Peak Loop is 6.7 miles and is best suited for intermediate hikers. The scenery is beautiful and the crowd is small. I love coming here to get away from the sprawl of San Diego. Don’t forget to back a snack, some sunscreen, and a camera!

Where: It is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and the trailhead starts at Azalea Glen Loop.

When to go: Anytime is perfectly fine, but I love doing this hike early in the morning before the sun gets to high.

#4 Father Junipero Serra Trail

I wouldn’t consider this a hike, so much as it is a nice leisurely walk(however, there are tons of trails that branch of from it, so you could make an adventure out of it). On warm nights I like to run this paved trail which is in the Mission Regional Park. It starts at the visitor center and follows the river up to the Old Dam. It is a great place to go and have a picnic and read a book!

Where: Take I-8  to Mission Gorge- head north. Follow Mission Gorge for a couple of miles, and the entrance to the visitor center will be on the left.

When to go: Afternoons are good. There are trees that provide ample shade throughout the trail.

Now that you have some hikes in your arsenal, I don’t expect to see you at the beach anytime soon. If you get bored of hiking, may I suggest I nice weekend camping trip?

A creative and health conscious journalist pursuing dual degrees in nutritional biochemistry and literature.


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