Entertainer’s Favorite San Diego Hikes

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It’s January, which means your New Year’s resolutions are still kicking and motivation hasn’t run out yet, right? In between days of rain and high winds, the sun returns to the skies and beckons San Diegans to get out of their thermal cocoons. Winter brings a different vibe to our neighborhoods and jumping into the ocean might seem a little too daunting, so we have compiled a list of local hikes to get your body moving without getting wet.

Photo Credit: Martha Jimenez, Creative Commons

The 5-Peak Challenge

On November 7th, 2015, The 5-Peak Challenge was launched as an initiative to get people outdoors and to view San Diego from different angles. Since then, over 4,000 hikers have participated and completed the challenge, and more participate every day. Although the guidelines let you “go at your own pace” to  complete the Challenge, some have dared to complete all 5 peaks in one day. No matter how quickly or slowly you decide to go, a pin, certificate, and $10 coupon to Adventure-16 awaits you at the other end. How do you qualify? Simply take a picture with the peak’s sign and email all 5 pictures to the administrators, and once approved you will be notified to come pick up your winnings. Due to the high volume of hikers in December, a new shipment of pins will arrive early February. So what peaks are included?

Cowles Mountain

This 3-mile hike is challenging, but can be climbed by hikers of all skill levels. If you are looking for something leisurely, this may not be the best mountain to climb, but there are different entrances to the mountain that  make it enjoyable to climb more than once. Cowles is known for providing the highest peak in the county, offering a great view of San Diego.

Pyles Peak

Continue the journey from Cowles Mountain for another 4 miles to reach the top of Pyles Peak. This 7.7 mile trail offers more intense inclines than Cowles Mountain and is also a great hike for dogs. It is less crowded than Cowles, so can offer more privacy for those looking to spend a little more time with the sounds of nature.

Kwaay Paay

For a shorter trail that isn’t quite as steep, consider climbing the Kwaay Paay. At 2.5 miles, this trail offers an incredible view of Mission Trails. The trail can be tricky to follow and the top of the peak is covered in brush, making it difficult to notice, but once you are able to climb through, you can enjoy a place to sit and look at the neighboring mountains of Cowles and Pyles Peak.

South Fortuna

If you are looking for a longer hike, consider the 6-mile journey of South Fortuna. This trail is known for its wild flowers and nature trips, and is rated as “moderately strenuous”. One suggestion: bring a map with you. The signs can be a little hard to follow, but with a map this hike is sure to be enjoyable.

North Fortuna

Biking allowed! At 5.2 miles, North Fortuna is another “moderate” level hike in Mission Trails. It’s accessible year round and is great for mountain bikes, road bikes, dogs, and hikers. There are a few different trail entrances that can provide you with a more thorough workout, depending on your hiking preferences.

If you are wanting to complete the 5-Peak Challenge but don’t have anyone to hike with, the Challenge’s facebook page connects single hikers with other companions.

Other great San Diego Hikes include:

North Lake Hodges 

Different trail heads with a total distance of 14.8 miles, these trails around Lake Hodges are great for beginners and are accessible by horse, bike, and foot. The best part about this hike? The top of the peak offers incredible views of Lake Hodges, giving your eyes an extra dose of beauty to look at.

Potato Chip Rock in Poway

Photo Credit: m01229, Creative Commons

You’ve probably guessed it by its name, but this hike is a photo favorite for many who have had the chance to climb it. At 7.5 miles, the climb to the top of this potato chip looking rock is a local favorite. Due to its popularity, it tends to be heavily populated, but the views of Lake Poway and the photo opportunities make it worth it.

Don’t let the cold of winter discourage you from stepping outside. Make your own challenge and enjoy as many new San Diego hikes as possible in 2017.

Katrina is an OBcean that spends her time drinking quality coffee and engaging in the community that she lives in.

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