Nighthawk Trail Black Mountain Loop

EASY 122 reviews

Nighthawk Trail Black Mountain Loop is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near San Diego, California that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1286 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

rocky

Free parking and a restroom at Hilltop Park

hiking
1 hour ago

Great hike and just long enough for an evening outing

hiking
4 days ago

mountain biking
11 days ago

As a novice mountain bike, this trail was not my favorite.

PRO'S
- Beautiful view
- Really cool marbles on the trail for some reason.

CONS
- Straight elevation climb all the way to the top, then straight downhill all the way... hard work recommended for experienced riders.
- I may not have taken the right or most efficient route but on the trail I chose there were very large, very loose rocks on a steep incline...All those factored together led to me doing s lot more walking than riding.

Overall this is a nice trail....for foot hikers. As a mountain biker I can think of several other trails that are more fun and accessible. If you do want to ride this one, I recommend taking the fire road up and down as it has a more gentle grade and is actually super fun to ride down.

hiking
28 days ago

First time hiking this trail to test the Garmin Etrex 20x. We bought the GPS in preparation for Zion and it's definitely worth the money. Nice quiet hike with city view. We started around 6pm and finished at 8:30pm. The city lights is actually kinda romantic. Reminds me of mt. soledad. The entrance to the trail is at Hilltop Park.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Easy hike. Ok views from the top. Too many mountain bikers.

hiking
2 months ago

Challenging elevation changes. No shade, come early.

hiking
2 months ago

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hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

pretty views. Also, good cell phone signal at the summit where all that radio equipment is...

hiking
4 months ago

I loved the hike.

Difficulty - based on the descriptions "good for all skill levels," I thought this was going to be easy. But I went in at the hilltop and went left, and it was a steady climb to the top, which took about 40 minutes. Halfway up there was a break ish, and by no means would I say I was huffing and puffing, but it definitely counts as a workout, and my friends who would be on the lower skill level would not have enjoyed it. I, who love hiking, loved it. It filled my activity bar on my Polar watch (like a FitBit) in 40 minutes, and I ended my 2 hours (wandered around) at 200% so definitely suggest and say it's a workout.

Foot Traffic - I went today (Saturday) at 1pm and while there were enough people that I felt safe, 95% of the time I was alone. A random person would go by in the other direction, but it was nice. I like being somewhere I can clear my head, but also know if I get lost, someone will find me. Which leads me to:

Bring Supplies - The signage isn't the best. I mean if you just want to follow one path, that's fine. But I tried doing Nighthawk and then Little Black Mountain (I think that's what it was called) and got lost. I ended up back on a path I'd already been on but didn't realize it until I ran out of water and found myself half way up the summit again. A group of people went by with extra bottles of water and more confidence on which way was back to the bottom, so we walked together, so I'm happy about the foot traffic and definitely will not go with just 2 bottles of water next time.

Definitely suggest it as a more peaceful alternative to Torrey Pines for someone who is active and looking for a workout, while also having others around you.

hiking
4 months ago