After being in San Diego for almost 8 weeks, we clocked up some serious hike mileage. We tried to get out at least once a week to explore the area surrounding San Diego and it's amazing hiking trails. Below is a selection of four that we tried, each with something a little different. Next time you're in San Diego, give one of these a try, escape the city for a few hours and take in the beautiful views.
Not all hikes are steep and mountainous, and Torrey Pines offers a gentler walk than some of the other trails in this post. The Torrey Pines State Reserve trail is located near La Jolla and is just under 4 kilometres in total. After parking up next to the beach (it costs $15 to park there) you walk up a relatively steep hill to the top of the cliffs. From there you can take your pick from the different trails on offer that take you out to the edge of the cliffs and eventually down to the beach, which is nice to walk back along to your car.
We spotted a whale and a pod of dolphins from the cliff tops, which was pretty cool, and the walk back along the beach was a nice change from the other, steeper hikes.
There are some beautiful cacti and wildflowers to be enjoyed too on this route in the Spring, but any time of year is fine to enjoy a breezy but relatively easy hike here.
The Potato Chip rock is famous in San Diego and is considered a favourite hike by many locals we spoke with. However, it's not for the faint hearted! A short hike at around 6 kilometres, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in the pure steepness of the trail. Almost the entire route is at a steep gradient so look forward to a good leg and glute workout getting to the top.
After the steep climb, you will come to the unmistakable Potato Chip Rock, in fact – all the way up to the top are some seriously impressive boulders. You can climb on to the Potato Chip and take some cool photos on the precarious looking outcrop. Be prepared to wait at the top for a photo when it gets busy though.
It was a bit overcast when we climbed this one, so the images aren't great and it actually snowed for a few minutes at the top!
Volcan Mountain is just outside Julian, an old gold mining town about an hour's drive from San Diego. Julian is well worth a visit in itself, so if you have time, make a day of it and stop for lunch or dinner in Julian after you've climbed Volcan Mountain.
This trail is around 8 kilometres and the Spring will give you hillsides and hillsides of beautiful wildflowers.
It's not an easy trail, with some steep parts but it offers a different route down (Five Oaks Trail) which makes the return leg a little more interesting.
At the summit are some beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding mountains on one side and desert on the other, with information boards so you can pick out natural landmarks too.
This one is a good all-rounder, and with Julian just a few miles away, makes a great day trip out of San Diego.
The Potato Chip Rock trail is steep, but Cowles Mountain seemed that bit harder on the legs. Half the trail is a gentle, sandy climb and then it gets tough, with long, steep inclines to the summit.
The trailhead starts in the San Carlos neighbourhood and is popular with mountain bikers as well as walkers.
Cowles Mountain is the highest point in the city of San Diego too, so you can tick that milestone off the list if you're a keen hiker. There are some great 360° views from the top too, like Volcan, and on a clear day, you can see Mexico.
Pairofpassports.com is a travel blog by Hannah and Rob from Peterborough, UK. They're happiest when they are exploring a new place or planning their next trip. One day they want to travel full time, but until then PairofPassports.com is the place where they will record their travel experiences and tips as they explore the world. email@example.com.