10 best hikes in San Diego

An uphill hike beats an hour on the squeaky treadmill any day. A clear head, a fit body and even more exploration of America's Finest City? Let's get to it. There's a trail for everyone in San Diego, from the picturesque walking paths of Torrey Pines State Reserve to the plunging hills of Three Sisters Falls. Lace up those hiking boots and pack some extra trail mix for the ten best hikes in San Diego. 1 - Torrey Pines State Park Sometimes, the best way to start a date is to sweat it out, and there is no better place to do that than at Torrey Pines State Park. This hike has multiple different trails that are all pretty mild, each with a gorgeous view of the ocean. So put on your hiking shoes, hold each other's hand and take in the sights while falling in love.

2 - Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

With a relatively tranquil route, the Los Penasquitos Canyon hike is great for all ages and skill levels, without skimping on some impressive natural sights. Waterfalls, year-round streams and creek crossings abound throughout the trail. Keep your eyes open - you might just see a deer walking the path. Length: 4.7 miles // Difficulty: Easy

3 - Cowles Mountain

Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in San Diego. Sure, it has its steep switchbacks (the trail leads to the highest point within San Diego), but almost anyone can get through it with enough determination. There's no spectacular greenery here, but the views are pretty picture-worthy. Keep an eye out for snakes crossing the path. Length: 3 miles // Difficulty: Moderate 4 - Iron Mountain Trail

5 - Cuyamaca Peak Loop Trail

For the hiker searching for a rewarding view with various options, this one's for you. There's an array of routes to choose from to get to the top of Cuyamaca Peak, including the Azalea Glen Loop, Conejos Trail, West Side Trail and the Azalea Springs Fire Road. Located near Julian, you'll come across everything from fallen forest trees to granite rocks and expansive views of the mountains and valleys below. Length: 6.7 miles // Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

6 - Lake Poway to Mount Woodson

It's all about the photo opp here. Okay, not totally, but the death-defying "Potato Chip Rock" can be held responsible for bringing hordes of hikers to Mount Woodson just to snap a pic on the sliver of granite rock hovering over San Diego. The hike itself is strenuous and should be started early in the day. It begins around Lake Poway, and quickly steepens straight to the top with little relief. Ample water and snacks are recommended. Length: 6.4 miles // Difficulty: Hard 7 - Cedar Creek Falls to Devil's Punchbowl With one of the most spectacular destination points, the Cedar Creek Falls Trail also comes with a precautionary warning. Devil's Punchbowl - the swimming hole at the end of the trail - has witnessed multiple deaths over the years from cliff jumpers. A massive waterfall pours into the natural pool, surrounded by 75-foot cliffs. On this trail, the way down is easy, but it's the way back that's uphill. Note: Guests need to purchase a $6 pass prior to visiting. Length: 4.2 miles // Difficulty: Hard

8 - Mission Trails Regional Park: Oak Canyon Trail

Options are endless at this urban national park, with more than 40 miles of trails near Kumeyaay Lake and Lake Murray. One of the most popular, Oak Canyon Trail, offers a sycamore and oak-lined ravine winding north from the Old Mission Dam. A babbling stream accompanies hikers and the route drops deep into the canyon. Length: 3 miles // Difficulty: Easy to moderate

9 - Double Peak Trail

Starting at Discovery Lake Park in San Marcos, this loop trail combines moderate steepness with restful views. At the top of the 1,644-foot summit, hikers are treated to a spectacular 360-degree view of the North County area. A majority of the trail was effected by the fires, so don't expect much shade. The first mile is paved and then turns into a rougher single track. Dogs are welcome! Length: 5 miles // Difficulty: Moderate

10 - Three Sisters Falls Trails

Constantly named one of the most challenging hikes in the San Diego area, Three Sisters Falls follows steep inclines and rocky terrain. Ropes throughout the route are secured to help visitors climb up and down. This is not for the faint of heart; rock and boulder climbing is a required skill to make it to the Three Sisters Falls. Bring ample water. Length: 4 miles // Difficulty: Extremely hard

More - Pacific Crest Trail - Penny Pines to Garnet Peak

Ever since the best-selling book and movie "Wild" came out, hordes of hikers have been flocking to the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs in its entirety from Mexico to Canada. While the 2,650 miles may be a bit ambitious, there's a short San Diego stretch to try in the fall months from Penny Pines Trailhead to Garnet Peak. Length: 2.3 miles // Difficulty: Moderate   Here are more things to do in San Diego: 10 More Top Hikes in San Diego 10 Best Beaches in San Diego Top 5 Things for Your Out-of-Town Friends
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