Sometimes the hills are more fun than the beach. These are the top hiking trails near Rancho Bernardo, Poway, and Escondido.
If you want to get away from the big crowds at the beach, which is very sandy and windy anyway, there are tons of hiking trails in North San Diego County Inland. Instead of sitting under a palm tree, you can explore oak groves, view wildlife, and get more exercise. These our some of our favorite local trails in the area.
Dog hiking near Lake Hodges.
Black Mountain Open Space Park
- Address: 12115A Black Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92129
- Website: https://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/osp/blackmtn
This 2,352 acres of open space is located near Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Black Mountain Ranch, and 4S Ranch / Del Sur. The summit of Black Mountain is 1,554-feet tall and provides a view of the ocean if conditions are right. The Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail passes by an old arsenic mine built in the 1920’s.
Lake Hodges Trail (Piedras Pintadas)
- Address: 19140 West Bernardo Drive, San Diego, CA 92128
- Website: http://www.sdrp.org/wordpress/trails/
The Lake Hodges Trailhead is part of the Coast to Crest Trail, which stretches from Del Mar Beach to Julian. Lake Hodges is a reservoir created in 1918 when they built a dam on the San Dieguito River. It is the home of the word’s longest bicycle and pedestrian stress ribbon bridge, which is 990-feet long.
Mount Woodson trail.
Blue Sky / Mount Woodson
- Address: 16275 Espola Road, Poway, CA 92064
- Website: https://poway.org/337/Blue-Sky-Ecological-Reserve
Blue Sky Ecological Reserve and the Mount Woodson Trailhead are both in the same area by Poway Lake. The trail at Blue Sky passes through an old oak grove, then leads to the Poway Lake Loop. The Woodson Trailhead leads to Potato Chip Rock. The reserve is owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Iron Mountain Summit
- Address: 14847-14909 CA-67, Poway, CA 92064
- Website: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/iron-mountain-trail–5
The Iron Mountain Trail begins at the trail head on Highway 67 and ends at the Iron Mountain Summit. The 5.2 mile hike is a popular spot for local residents to go walking with friends. It is known for having beautiful wildflowers and giant boulders. However there is not a lot of shade, or any water features.
Sycamore Canyon County Preserve
- Address: 16281 Sycamore Canyon Road, Poway, CA 92064
- Website: http://www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/park-pages/GoodanSycamore.html
Sycamore Canyon County Preserve is a 2,272 acre stretch with over ten miles of trails. It is the home of Goodan Ranch, which burned down in the 2003 Cedar Fire. But they built the Goodan Ranch Center next to the original structure. The center is a multi-purpose demonstration room, exhibit room, and support space.
Daley Ranch House from the road.
- Address: 3024 La Honda Drive, Escondido, CA 92027
- Website: https://www.escondido.org/daley-ranch.aspx
Daley Ranch is a 3,201-acre conservation area owned and managed by the City of Escondido. The Daley Ranch House is about 1.1 miles from the La Honda Entrance. It is considered a historical site and there are ranger led tours once per month. There are camping reservations and fishing is permitted at Dixon Lake.
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
- Address: 8833 Harmony Grove Road, Escondido, CA 92029
- Website: https://elfinforest.olivenhain.com/
The Elfin Forest Reserve is a 764-acre space located north of Lake Hodges, near Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe. It is managed by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, as Lake Hodges is a reservoir. There are over 11-miles of trails that pass through oak riparian, oak woodland, and chaparral plant communities.
Clevenger Canyon Open Space Park
- Address: 18259-18313 CA-78, Escondido, CA 92025
- Website: https://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/osp/sanpasqual
Clevenger Canyon is a part of the San Dieguito River Park. It is the location of the San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park. On December 6, 1848 it was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Mexican-American War. At the end of the South West Trail there are two metal chairs on a wooden platform over a boulder.
Dos Picos Park in Ramona, CA.
Dos Picos Park
- Address: 17953 Dos Picos Park Road, Ramona, CA 92065
- Website: http://www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/park-pages/DosPicos.html
Dos Picos Park is a San Diego County Park located in Ramona, CA. The facilities include hiking, camping, cabins, coin-operated showers, fishing, picnic tables, a soccer field, horseshoe pits, restrooms, a playground, and an enclosed pavilion. It is available for events. This is a relatively easy hike suitable for kids.
Ramona Grasslands County Preserve
- Address: Highland Valley Road, Ramona, CA 92065
- Website: http://www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/park-pages/RamonaGrasslands.html
The 3,521-acre Ramona Grasslands Preserve contains sprawling grasslands, rolling hills, and majestic oaks. There are 408 unique plant species, over one hundred bird species, 37 types of mammals, 23 butterfly species, and 21 kinds of reptiles/amphibians. You need a special permit to hike the Survey Road 97 Trail.
Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary
- Address: 13003 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside, CA 92040
- Website: https://www.sandiegoaudubon.org/what-we-do/silverwood.html
The Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary is managed by the Audubon Society, making it a great spot for bird watching. It is only open to human visitors on Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm. The sanctuary is closed from August to September due to the risk of fire. There are exhibits at the Frank Gander Education Center.
Now that you know about these great hiking trails in North County San Diego Inland, you probably want to sell your beach house and move here. Contact us and find a better deal on a dream home further inland.