Great weather, scenic vistas, and varied
terrain make San Diego a great place for
hiking, biking, or walking, whether you’re
looking for a challenge or just want to get
up high and enjoy the view. Lace up your
sneaks and get ready to run, roam and ride
throughout San Diego.
#1 green circle markers.
This trail stays away from the
busier areas of Balboa Park, so
new runners can get their workouts in away from the crowds. If
you’re feeling ambitious, extend
your run about a mile by tracing
the loop south of Laurel Street.
2. Lake Miramar
Father Junipero Serra Trail in
Mission Trails Regional Park.
For a beginner’s attempt at trail
running (not on paved roads
or paths), the Grassland Loop
provides a friendly welcome. The
wide trail only has a few small
hills and provides a smooth—not
rocky—running path. Take in
the rolling green hills and pretty
wildflowers as you run.
If you’re a runner with
zero experience, these
trails are short, flat,
1. Balboa Park
1. 5 miles EASY
Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas
Street in Hillcrest and follow the
4. 9 miles EASY
Follow the path around Lake
Miramar, starting and ending at
the parking lot off Scripps Lake
Like to count down how far you
have left to go? This path of-
fers markers every quarter mile
for just that purpose. The lake
makes for a picturesque view and
there are usually plenty of other
runners, walkers, bikers, and
stroller-pushers along the path,
so you’ll be in good company.
Steeper and tougher
routes, these are
best reserved for
runners or those with
El Capitan Preserve. The trail-
head is on the right side of Wild-
cat Canyon Road.
This trail is hot, dusty, and steep,
but the views are worth it. The
trail to the top goes down as well
as up and up and up, making this
climb one of the few that actual-
ly is “uphill both ways.” Warning:
The trail descends before the
final ascent to the summit. Don’t
turn back too soon. If—when!—
you make it to the top, you are
treated to a 360-degree view of
San Diego and the satisfaction of
knowing you really earned it.
3. Grasslands Loop
1. 75 miles EASY
Off Mission Gorge Road on the
4. El Capitan
11. 2 miles MOST DIFFICULT
5. Mount Woodson
6. 4 miles DIFFICULT
Views along the way are gor-
geous and far-reaching. Don’t
forget your camera; there are
some great photo opportunities
at the top of Potato Chip Rock.
For a more serene place to cel-
ebrate your climb, take a turnoff
to the left shortly before you
reach the summit.