Top Dog Trails near San Diego, CA

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In a town where the canine kids outnumber the human kids, you would certainly expect there to be plenty of dog furiendly trails, parks, and activities in San Diego. This town deserves some appaws for its dedication to the four-footed furballs. San Diego has such a mild and sunny climate and a plethora of natural features and landscapes, the variety of trails are endless. From ocean cliffs covered in pine trees to the Anza Borrego desert, over 2000 types of plants, 500 species of birds, and hundreds of dif-fur-ent animals, you will never get bored in this town. Here are the ten best dog furiendly trails in the San Diego area. 

#10 Hodges Overlook Trail

The Hodges Overlook Trail on Harmony Grove Road in Elfin Forest Reserve is a 7.6-mile hike with a steep, rugged climb up to 1200 feet, so it’s not a trail for beginners. You’ll find Escondido Creek, large oak trees, a plethora of wildflowers, and several furific overlooks with tables and benches dotting the path. Lake Hodges, Olievnhain Reservoir and Dam, Harmony Grove, and the surrounding valleys are visible from many spots on the trail.

#9 Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail

The Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail on Black Mountain Road is an easy six-mile walk on the banks of Peñasquitos Creek with a furrific rest area by a waterfall. This is a relatively flat trek where you and your pupster can enjoy the large shade trees, vibrantly colorful flowers, and a plethora of wild critters. The views of the mountain ranges and surrounding countryside are like no other, so have your camera ready.

#8 Iron Mountain Hike

If you’re looking fur more of a challenge, the Iron Mountain Hike off Highway 67 is a pupular destination for a workout. This is an open trail with plenty of sun, so bring lots of H20. You’ll have to climb some steep rocky sections, but the view at the top is worth every step. There’s even picnic tables and a telescope at the top where you’ll see the Cuyamacas, San Vicente Reservoir, and Mount Woodson.
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#7 Black Mountain Open Space Trail

For a moderate hike that is four miles round trip just outside of the city, try the Black Mountain Open Space Trail. Starting at the Nighthawk Trail in Black Mountain Park, you’ll climb through wooded switchbacks until you reach the summit, where you can see the ocean, nearby mountain ranges, and downtown San Diego. You and your furever furiend will enjoy a workout on this trip, so be sure to bring plenty of H20.

#6 Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail

This is one of the most pupular trails around for scenic views and photo ops of the Pacific Ocean. However, it is rated as difficult because of the length and steep climb. Start early and bring tons of H20 and sunscreen because there’s very little shade. It's about four miles to get from Lake Poway to the Potato Chip Rock where everyone loves to climb out and get some pawsitively pawesome shots of the ocean.

#5 Marian Bear Memorial Park Trail

Another fantastic trail close to the San Diego muttropolis is the six-mile Marian Bear Trail Memorial Park Trail in the San Clemente Canyon. The adventure begins at the trailhead by the parking lot of the park and continues through the woods and mountains with spectacular views of the canyon where you may even see some wild critters. There is a stream where your pooch can splash around, but bring your own water to drink.

#4 Rose Canyon Open Space Park Trail

For a bit more of a hike, check out the Rose Canyon Loop Trail across from University City High School on Genesee Avenue that’s almost nine miles of wide dirt paths filled with shade trees, wildflowers, and gorgeous views of the suburbs, as well as the wildlife. You and your furever furiend will hike up about 500 feet of elevation along the path, so be ready for a workout.

#3 Batiquitos Lagoon Trail

The 6.5-mile round trip out-and-back Batiquitos Lagoon Trail starts at the nature center on Gabbiano Lane and follows the north bank of the lagoon. It is an easy trek with only a 250-foot gain in elevation, and it’s pupular with families and canine kids and their humans. Along the hike, you will see some palm and eucalyptus trees as well as native wildflowers and grasses where critters abound.

#2 Cowles Mountain Trail

Another pawpular hike to explore with your canine kid in San Diego is the Cowles Mountain Trail. This ruffly 2.9 out-and-back trek starts at Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive, and is a great place to get some sun and exercise. Make sure you bring some H20 for you both to stay hydrated. The furific views of downtown San Diego and Cowles Mountain will take your breath away, so bring a camera.

#1 Cabrillo National Monument Tide Pools Trail

When you and your pupster are looking for a fabulous place to get out and enjoy nature that is just steps from the big city, the Cabrillo National Monument Tide Pools Trail is an easy, but fun place to visit. On the Point Loma Peninsula, this short half-mile trail from the southern parking lot to the tide pools is teeming with flora and fauna of many diffurent varieties for you and your pooch to enjoy.