Did you know that San Diego has the second richest biodiversity compared to any county in the continental United States? The 4,525 square mile border encompasses ocean bluffs, rugged inlands, studded peaks, and mountain ranges with oaks and pines. North San Diego holds a vast treasure of natural marvels for visitors and adventurous hikers.
The weather in San Diego is always a plus for hikers – a mostly mild sunny climate with an array of landscapes around, North San Diego is truly spectacular. You can hike to watch a sunrise or hike to watch a sunset with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop.
The best part about hiking in San Diego is that the routes are appropriate for hikers of all ages, ambitions, and skill levels. Also, there are routes specifically for dog lovers to take your pooch out for an adventure. San Diego experiences some of the country’s most beautiful natural events like the Wildflower Bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert and the arrival of birds after a long migration trip through the Pacific. The region also experiences fall colors and spring blooms where everything is vibrant and fresh.
Let us take you through some of North San Diego’s best hiking destinations:
Hanging on Potato Chip Rock.
The first and the foremost hiking point is Mt. Woodson Summit, commonly referred to as Potato Chip Rock. The hike begins at Lake Poway and climbs all the way up to Mt. Woodson, offering a breathtaking view of North San Diego the entire way. The hike gains its reputation from a peculiar rock formation that looks exactly like a potato chip; you can take some amazing photos while standing or posing on the rock. Although the hike is challenging, the surrounding view makes it worth the effort. Be sure to carry some extra bottles of water and light snacks on your way up. And a not so secret tip – if you need a shorter, road-paved hike, you can start at the Mt. Woodson trailhead in Ramona located right off Highway 67.
A real gem of a hike in North San Diego is Cedar Creek Falls
Spring time is the right time for Cedar Creek Falls, the trail that starts from a water tower and ends in a residential neighborhood. You will need good hiking or running shoes for a trail like this. There are straight roads, bumpy pathways, stream crossings where the falls and pool are tucked away behind trees, brush and rock. Once you arrive, it really is breathtaking.
William Heise County Park – A scenic loop
This loop is similar to a campground with a lot of different trails for every taste. There are cabins and tent grounds surrounded by trails of different lengths and experiences. In one word – it’s beautiful. Every trail is different and every experience is memorable. It’s a never ending beautiful loop.
Rounded slopes of Volcan Mountain Trails
Towards the north of the beautiful town of Julian, there are patches of ranch, apple orchards, oak trees and the smooth rounded slopes of Volcan Mountain. It occupies the space between the Laguna and Palomar mountains and consists of a beautiful hiking trail. This trail features pretty wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. There are Nature trail markers along the way that describe the wildfires that have hit the area and plants/trees. You can hike up the service road, or take the Five Oaks Trail off-shoot. Both offer great views, though the service road is fairly open to the sun. Parking is on the side of the road. It is dog (on-leash) friendly.
Combination of beautiful trails – Torrey Pines State Reserve Trails
Torrey Pines is very rare and unique to this area and a similar landscape cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This trail is a combination of six different trails and you can opt for one according to your interest. There is a huge map at the entrance of the trail educating you on what to expect in each trail and it points towards the entrances of different trails. It consist of Guy Fleming Trail, Parry Grove Trail, High Point Trail, Razor Point Trail, Beach Trail, and Broken Hill Trail. Whether you want to look at rare plants or hike around the water, these trails all have some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean on the entire west coast. We recommend visiting just before sunset on a full moon. The view is incredible and the weather is always comfortable.
Oasis at the Palm Canyon Trail
This is one of the best places in North County to look at the breathtaking oasis along with picnic areas near the creek. The trail has palm trees all along with incredible rock formations. It is considered one of the best hiking trails in the valley.
Zigzag through the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail
You can take this hike all the way down to the 805 freeway. You zigzag over a little river and the scenery changes dramatically the closer you get to the ocean. Our favorite part about this hike is the waterfall. It is about halfway down the trail and sort of tucked away. You can miss it if you’re not paying attention.
For adventure lovers and hiking fanatics, there is never a dull day in North San Diego. There are more than 40 breathtakingly beautiful trails for you to try and you will never be at a loss for an activity.