Sunset Trail to Laguna Meadows Loop

EASY 100 reviews
#15 of 111 trails in

Sunset Trail to Laguna Meadows Loop is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mt Laguna, California that features a lake. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, and snowshoeing. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

8.2 miles
715 feet

dogs on leash






wild flowers


24 days ago

barely half a mile after starting the hike, the trail was mostly covered in snow. May be a mile in, the trail opened up to a beautiful sunset view along with the gorgeous view of the valley. After which we took u turn to get back. no elevation for a mile or so.

2 months ago

Beautiful view of Downtown San Diego on this trail. Came across a bobcat on the trail near the lake. Busy trail as well with the mountain bikers.

2 months ago

Beautiful hike with not-too-strenuous of inclines. You could choose to take a shorter route back to the cars at multiple points throughout the hike. Some of the forks weren’t super clearly marked so having the app was handy. There is a fair amount of parking at the trailhead but I believe you need an adventure pass to park there which can be bought at the local convenience stores. Looked like a great trail to take dogs. I would highly recommend!

2 months ago

nice and easy

4 months ago

I started the trail at 7am... It was one of the best hikes I have done in San Diego! Great views, water, meadows people on the trail were experienced hikers, mountain bikers were courtious. All around awesomeness! My dog loved it too!

5 months ago

Not too difficult. Trailhead signs not very distinct. Saw heard of cows during hike.

8 months ago

Tons of little frogs by the big lake. Nice & clean trail. Popular with mountain bikers.

11 months ago

That sound of the wind going through the pines made me forget about my entire work week.

11 months ago

This is a mixture of Moderate while on the Sunset Trail and Easy while on Big Laguna Trail. The weather was perfect Sunday, March 27, 2017. Was nice to see lots of others out enjoying what beautiful backcountry San Diego County has to offer.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fun, relaxing hike. Know the route before heading out. Signage is marked with numbers which mean nothing without a map. Saw one sign stating a trail name the whole 8 miles, plenty of markers though. Was windy and chilly. Bundle up :)

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Had so much fun!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Nice scenic trail, but very busy with bikes.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016 I hike this trail with my great hiking friends, we had a small group but we had a great hike up to Manza Peak Benchmark! The start of the hike was very cold and stayed through to the peak! The wind was howling loud!! It was a rough & tough hike to the peak which required some bushwhacking & cairns markers to make our way through! The hike was well worth it! The view is breathtaking and the best of it all, signing the official Manza Peak Benchmark peak log! Approximately 2.43 miles to the peak. Afterwards, we hiked the Laguna Meadows & world famous, Pacific Crest Trail to get the most mileage of the hike!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

This was an amazing hike with all the views to the west. Hiking through the tall pnes and stop on big rocks for snack breaks makes it an even better chill spot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One of my favorite short loop hikes in San Diego! Have done this short hike many, many times.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Great hike. Pretty easy as there isn't much elevation gain. Saw 4 people total on the entire hike. It's looking very green right now so take advantage!

Monday, April 04, 2016

legit. great meadow views as well as Sweetin westerly views in a couple places. easy trail but great experience

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Great trail. Well marked and beautiful terrain. Only saw about 20 people the whole hike. My only complaint is that it was a little too easy, no real elevation changes.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I wish this was closer to the city. I wish it snowed more often. I wish I was there right now.
I love this trail because I love hearing the sound of the wind in the trees, bird songs, and trail under my boots. It's flat and fairly open with shade just off the path. I've only been there on the weekends and have only seen a handful of people. I recommend going in Winter and Spring when it's greener than it's gold.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Beautiful, there's also some cows

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our first adventure and it was amazing. Easy terrain and lots of nature to take in!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Beautiful. Lots of amazing plant species and spectacular panoramic views.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Beautiful meadows, I didn't hike the whole thing but I loved it!! Absolutely gorgeous.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mileage & elevation are incorrect - actually 5.3 miles, 289 ft elevation gain. Nice easy stroll.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Loved this hike! Since this is located in the Cleveland National Forest. There is a fee to hike here, as others have mentioned. It is a $5 parking fee. You can also stop at a ranger station (we used Alpine's) and get an adventure pass, which costs more, but alleviates the costs for fees in the National Parks in CA for a year. We picked up the America the Beautiful pass (normally $80, but free for Active Duty military). It is good for ALL US National Parks, Forests, and Monuments. We were able to park in the National Forest for free.

Simply look for a deck like area on your right with some port-o-potties. On your left just up ahead will be a cattle fence area and a kiosk with information about the trails. You will walk over the cattle walk/through the gate area. The trail splits into two. Sunset goes to the left of the fork.

The hike was beautiful. We just got snow recently, but we were expecting most of it to be gone. The trail was VERY muddy, still snow covered in the shaded areas, and in a large portion of the back park of the hill it was icy. We had to take our time and be VERY careful. One wrong move and you can tumble down very steep hills. The Water in the Woods was beautiful! Especially, since it was iced over. Despite the mud and ice, we had a wonderful time. There was only maybe 4 people using the trail system the entire time we were out there. We brought our 2 Australian Cattle Dogs who had an absolute BLAST.
We did not complete the full trail, since we got out there a little late and fell behind schedule wise with the ice and mud. We simply continued by the Water in the Woods and jumped on the trail sign leading to Sunrise Highway, which takes you back through the woods and gets you on the connection trail to Big Laguna and Noble, but doesn't take you that far out. Just pay attention to signs if you aren't interested in doing the full trail. My husband said we did about 4 miles with the way we took, which was plenty good enough for me.

Definitely recommend this beautiful trail! Also will attach a link to the National Forest Service page for the hike, so you can check on the status of the trail (open or closed).

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Muy bonito sendero lleno de hermosos paisajes, lugar para toda la familia.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Loved this place. I didnt get to spend as much time there, but I had so many places I wanted to see. Glad I got this one in!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beautiful mountain hike. Pines, ponds and lakes. Something for everyone. Great area to hike with your dog.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I took my two dogs in June. Lovely!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My favorite spot: Water of the Woods. It's a deep, narrow pool that trickles down the west side of the Laguna Mountains, towards Viejas Indian Reservation. There are some fun rock formations to climb on the Sunset Trail section, great views to the west (I feel like I can see the ocean from here) and some amazing, sweeping views of the meadows once you're on the loop. Just watch out for cow patties! The two cattle ponds in the meadows, Big Laguna and Little Laguna lakes, actually did used to attract cattle! This set of trails is well-traveled, well maintained by volunteers and forest service, and a ton of fun!

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