Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail is a 7.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Escondido, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length7.1 miElevation gain872 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingMountain bikingLakePartially pavedViewsRocky
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Getting There

Great hike just off the I-15 in Escondido. Hike past Lake Hodges and up a mountain for views of the surrounding area. This trail is part of a network of trails from Coast to Crest so you can hike as long or as short as you'd like.

A small parking area is available at the trail head. If the lot is full there is ample street parking available. A porta-potty is available along the trail, located on the north side of the Lake Hodges pedestrian bridge.

San Dieguito River Park.

Exit Interstate 15 at Via Rancho Parkway (North County Faire). Head east on Via Rancho Parkway to a right (south) turn on Sunset Dr. Go 0.2 miles to the San Dieguito River Park trail head.

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Reviews (644)
Photos (1,113)
Activities (609)
Completed (1,611)
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Jacob Shields
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The trail starts off very easy and is wide enough for both ways of traffic to pass with ease. Once you hit the single track trail it becomes tighter and makes for some interesting encounters with the mountain bikers. The terrain becomes rocky and this is when you start seeing most of the elevation gain. Stick with it and once you pass by the water reservoir tank you’re 1/2 mile to the top. It’ll be worth every step! Gear: Shoes with tread Backpack Plenty of water Sunscreen Cons: Tons of highway noise No shade Heavily trafficked Lots of bugs

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Mary Hill
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HikingGreat!

A lot of freeway noise for the first mile and a half... since the trail is right next to the freeway. Once you get to the actual trail it gets better.

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Sandra Riley
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Hiking

mostly paved and flat

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Mana Tulberg
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Hiking

Beautiful scenery all the way to the top. Narrow in some places and steep climb up towards the summit.

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Carl Tulberg
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Hiking

Hearty trail up a beautiful mountain.

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Matt Shaffer
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Hiking
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Maria Monis
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Hiking
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Issac Jacenko
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Hiking

Great trail, the view from the top is breath taking! First two miles is pretty flat and you get hit with elevation after. Will definitely hike again!

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kim Aguinaga
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Hiking
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Keith Reel
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Hiking
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Rob Pizzurro
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Running

Wonderful trail up to the summit which is very steep and rocky at points. Some light rain early in run, but the sun broke through near the top of the summit. Took a wrong turn which added 2 miles, but overall a great place to go in the morning.

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Andrew Doxey
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RunningGreat!

Near perfect trail for running/fast packing. Starts off flat and wide, then increases in difficulty/rocky-ness as you go up. Plenty of side trails to add on mileage. And I only saw like 2 other people the entire time.

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Julie Chisholm
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Hiking

Nice local hike and bonus points as the bridge is the worlds longest stress ribbon bridge. Water crossing, under CA oak trees, grove of palms, scenic lake views and nice view from the top.

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Karina Martinez
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Hiking

Muy bonito

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Luis Velasquez
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Mountain biking
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Christine Mersten
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HikingBugsRocky

Bring water on this trail as it can get hot. It starts weird by the freeway but soon becomes quite enjoyable. We saw a bee hive around 3 miles, so be wary. It is a good climb the last mile. I found poles helpful both up and back. Lots of places to sit at the top. We came back differently crossing the creek past the palm oasis (gorgeous) and continued just below the fancy houses, making a little loop. (You can see it on the map.). Take the time to walk the bridge, which is the world’s longest stress ribbon bridge. With the additional loop and going on the bridge we ended up around 8.5 miles.

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Tim Morgan
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Mountain biking

Nice area with easy access, fun trails to bike on. The mountain was more of a moderate bike trail, a decent amount of loose sharp rocks and scree and hard climbs.

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Sal Rosas
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HikingGreat!Rocky

We parked in the dirt lot off Sunset Dr (Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead) behind the Chevron gas station to start our hike. We walked on the sidewalk, walked under I-15, before hitting the dirt trails. The trail starts out flat then slowly ascends to the top. The trail is nice but rocky and uneven in some parts. The finish to the top is where this trail gets its “moderate” rating because it is somewhat steep. But all worth it because the view is amazing. You’ll see Lake Hodges, I-15, North County Fair, The Vineyards Golf Course, beautiful homes. We did encounter a few mountain bikers along the way so keep an eye for them as there are some blind turns on the trail when they are riding down. We started our hike at 7:30a and finished around 12:30p. We did spend about 45 minutes at the top to enjoy the views. Overall, we enjoyed the trail because the weather was great. In the Summer heat, it probably gets hot!

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cat watkins
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Hiking

The trail is long and very rocky in most places. protect your ankles. There are also a lot of bikers on this trail so be prepared.

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Nicholas Grassano
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Hiking

Great Hike!

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Harrison Lynch
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HikingGreat!Muddy

Presidents’ Day meant that the trail was PACKED! But traffic really cleared up a lot once we got off of the paved section and onto the summit trail. The trail itself at that point is very narrow. Breathtaking views all the way to the top!

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Chad Moody
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Hiking
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Andrea Wittine
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Hiking

Great trail; anyone can do it but still a good workout. Too many bikes is my only complaint. Wonderful 360 views at the top!

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Paul Sanford
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Hiking
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Amy Trivison
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Hiking

A beautiful, cool day made this a wonderful hike.

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Scott Lawless
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Walking
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Randy Navarro
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Hiking

This trail is busy with hikers, bikers, and runners.. lotsa bikers that make this trail interesting.. Overall once at the top, it’s. 360 degree view of Escondido and Carmel Mtn Ranch.

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