Hiking in San Diego

San Diego | California
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go hiking in San Diego

  • Trip Highlight

    Known for its beaches, its canyons, woodlands, deserts, palm oases, and mountains 

  • Trip Highlight

    More trails, parks, coastlines, and national forests than almost any other county

  • Trip Highlight

    No matter when you visit, you’ll find hikes for your level of fitness and sense of adventure

Famous for miles and miles of unexplored nature and amazing weather, San Diego offers an abundance of trails for hikers of all ages. Join one of the hiking or bicycle tours in San Diego and let your guide show you the best hiking spots inside city limits as you discover the wide array of breathtaking landscapes and natural features this stunning city has up its sleeve. Hike along the sparkling beaches spreading for miles on end and climb the highest point in San Diego overlooking the entire city, with views reaching Mexico, Islas Coronados, and Orange County. Relax along the trails of Cowles Mountain or energize with a bike ride along La Jolla before exploring the wonderful nature hidden in Torrey Pines State Reserve! Say ‘yes’ to scenic hiking day trips in San Diego! Find out more about the best places to go hiking in and around San Diego from Liz Thomas, a professional hiker and guidebook author.

Season

Year-round

Nearest city

San Diego, CA, is half an hour away from all the trails

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Beginner to intermediate

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your day

The Torrey Pines Beginner Hiking Tour

Half-day

Join your guide on a truly remarkable beginner hiking tour of Torrey Pines State Reserve and discover San Diego’s hidden natural treasures. Torrey Pines has remained untouched by San Diego’s urbanization, still providing a refuge from the city lights and the crowds with its tranquil hiking trails. Start your hike with a walk along the most beautiful beach trails and enjoy the coastal landscapes. Visit the Torrey Pines State Beach, learn about the area’s history and wildlife from your professional guide, and enjoy the picturesque views along the way. If you’re looking for beginner-friendly day hikes in San Diego, Torrey Pines is your best bet!

The Cowles Mountain Trail Intermediate Hiking Tour

Half-day

Discover the Cowles Mountain and hike one of the best walking trails in San Diego! This moderate 2.9-mile trail features beautiful wildflower meadows and impressive 360-degree panoramic views. With an elevation of 1,593 feet, Cowles Mountain is the highest point within San Diego that doesn’t only overlook the city, but also Mexico and Orange County. Have fun and energize on this exciting hike while learning about this fascinating area from your expert guide, and see California from a whole new perspective!

The Torrey Pines Bike-to-Hike Intermediate Tour

Full-day

Let your professional tour guide from San Diego take you through the most spectacular area of Torrey Pines State Reserve. Use the first part of your tour to explore the magnificent architecture of La Jolla’s neighborhoods on bike! Continue your adventure and conquer a steep hill passing the Scripps Oceanography Institute on your way to Torrey Pines. Hike to the beach through hidden paths and discover everything about the Torrey pine and other gorgeous flora and fauna along the way. Enjoy the magnificent views overlooking Catalina Island and Islas Coronado, bike back to La Jolla, and finish the day off with a sunset dinner in Downtown La Jolla Shores. This is one of the most accessible and rewarding bike tours you can enjoy while staying in San Diego!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in San Diego

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in San Diego, please refer to The City of San Diego website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

  • A professional, knowledgeable, medically-trained, wilderness guide
  • Trail snacks and water on full-day hikes
  • Use of trekking poles

What’s not included:

  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Meals on half-day hikes
  • Entrance fees to Torrey Pines State Reserve and parks ($20)

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking in San Diego is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for two to four hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks.

For the Bike to Hike San Diego tour, you have to be an intermediate rider, familiar with biking hand signals, comfortable with riding on the road with vehicles and is in good physical health.

Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed — around a 40L bag
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder — 2L capacity
  • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
  • Spare clothes for layering
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

What about group sizes and pricing?

Group size and pricing:

  • For these San Diego hiking tours, the max client to guide ratio is 4:1.
  • Pricing is per person, and all tours require at least 2 participants to operate.

Hiking in San Diego can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this hiking adventure.
  • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If you plan to hike with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to San Diego, most people fly into San Diego International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to the city center.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the hiking ability of the group.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding
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