Irrespective of whether you’re a native Californian whose recently become interested in the outdoors, or a recent transplant that’s been hiking for years, you’ll find that San Diego has a number of fantastic trails and hiking opportunities.
San Diego is a spot with many great hiking trails. In fact, saying that San Diego has “many” great hiking trails sells the city short; the reality is that San Diego has a plethora of great hiking spots. I can think of no other location in the United States where the beach, canyons, hills, mountains, and deserts are all within a two hour drive; and in some cases are within a one-hour drive. San Diego is also a spot where many household names – Iron Mountain, Cowles Mountain, Torrey Pines, the Devils Punchbowl, and the Three Sisters are hiking trails. In this blog, I’ve discussed my opinions about these places and I’ve also discussed other great hiking spots; but what I will say positively about these trails and their popularity is this: they get people outside. In my experience, when people get outside, they’re more likely to learn things; they’re more likely to boost their endorphins; and they’re more likely to want to protect not only where they went, but other wilderness areas as well. So yes, these trails are popular, as I’ve discussed, but sometimes, popularity is not all bad.
The third confession that I have for my readers this week is not a confession, it’s a fact. Fact: Iron Mountain is the second most popular hike within the confines of San Diego County. The only thing that makes Iron Mountain the second most popular hike within the county is that at six miles roundtrip, it is a big longer than the first most popular hike within the county, Cowles Mountain. If you are looking for solitude on your hike, do not hike Iron Mountain. Well, ok, I shouldn’t say that. If you hike Iron Mountain in the middle of the night or on a rare rainy, cold day in San Diego, you might be alone on the trail. You might. Even under those conditions, I’d still assume that you’d run into at least one person. Iron Mountain is the second largest peak in the city of San Diego proper at 2,696 feet; and it is in the portion of the county with a number of hiking trails, such as the Goodan Ranch-Sycamore Canyon Preserve, and Woodson Mountain. Unlike Woodson, I’d recommend Iron Mountain as a hike, as it’s a great hike or jog; and when you get to the summit, you will have great unobstructed views of the surrounding area; however, do bear in mind that if you are indeed seeking solitude, this is not the hike for you.
True confessions week on lastadventurer.com continues today with my second confession: I’m not a fan of the hike heading up the Eastern side of Woodson Mountain (a/k/a Mt. Woodson) in San Diego County. Perhaps I’ve done the hike too many times. Perhaps it’s because whenever I’ve done the hike, there’s tons of people on the trail. Or perhaps, it’s just difficult for me to get behind a hike that heads up an asphalt and dirt road and ends at a cluster of antennas. But, despite my opinion, Woodson remains a popular hike within the county, which confounds me, as San Diego has so many hikes that have better views, better locations, and don’t end with the aforementioned cluster of antennas. In my mind, it’s almost as if the antennas are emitting some sort of mind control signal to the surrounding county, “Cooooooooooome, cliiiiiimb Woodson.” Perhaps I’m onto something here: I should start warning the public not to climb Woodson from the Eastern approach because the pod people will get them at the top. That’s right – you heard it here first. Don’t climb Woodson – it’s controlled by pod people (and rattlesnakes)!!!