Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Alpine with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2 days ago

Great trail, especially this time of year with the leaves changing color. Highest peak in the Laguna Mountains, nice view off to the south at the highest peak. There’s decent bathrooms at the parking lot, a few trees for shade to park your vehicle and a nice new picnic table and benches.
Make sure to make your way over to Gatos Ravine Trail.

15 days ago

Great little hidden gem! Drove past 20-30 cars parked at the meadow trailhead and continued on to here where there were 4 other cars and we saw only 2 other people. Suitable for my dog who is 6 months post-op (knee surgery). Gentle climbs rewarded by excellent views. Will be back for sure.

my favorite hike in SD county

I liked the wide open space and it was great to see the natural vegitation and animals in the area. Only bad thing about it was the endless amount of cow pies. Be careful where you walk!

Different options

This was a great short hike.

Also I found a key on the trail! It's one of those more expensive type electronic keys.

3 months ago

Very beautiful, but long. especially on a hot day. I hiked it yesterday w a friend and it was in the high 80s which was foolish on our part. We each brought plenty of water, but still ran out and the watering hole at the end was dry as a bone which was so disappointing especially being out of water. I don't know if i need to do this again until spring at least. Early spring when it's in the 70s!!!! Beware.

4 months ago

I hiked this trail on a 90°+ day in late April. The scenery is beautiful. Even in a low rain year, there were a variety of flowers and flowering shrubs throughout the hike. The trail was overgrown in several places and poison oak as high as chest level was encountered along the way. If you hike it north to south, there is a rather steep incline on the last mile of the trail. Other than that, there's not major elevation gain/loss. Take plenty of water and electrolytes if you go on a hot day as much of the trail is exposed and there are no bailout points. Overall a beautiful hike best enjoyed on a cool day.

The water at the end of the trail was all dried up which as big bummer. Also- while the trail is easy down along the river, I would say it is more moderate to difficult, especially with young children, because it’s straight down and straight back up out of the valley.

We were very disappointed that there wasn’t any water in the canyon. The hike, albeit short, was very steep for about half a mile and our older Labrador had a tough time getting back up. Only ran into a couple other people all afternoon. If there were water, this hike would be great!

This is a pretty little hike that would be great for kids. Also would be nice for folks into bird watching - there were lots of ducks and waterfowl on the pond, and the further east I walked the more I saw. They were very active and vocal. I kept stopping to watch, and I'm not even into birds. There were several guys on the shoreline fishing and I hope I was not scaring the fish away!

I’d definitely come back, but after some rain. There was almost no water at the end but the rocks were cool. It was a pretty hike and you really feel away from it all. There was no one else on the trail that day which was cool-so quiet, just me and some birds and a snake

This trail was okay. Not "must do again," but nice enough. I did this trail alone with my dog on a Friday afternoon and there was NOT A SINGLE OTHER SOUL AROUND. Normally I'm happy to find less trafficked trails, but this was creepy since I was by myself!

5 months ago

Scenic but rocky. Watch your feet. Some graffiti:(

Real short and easy hike, but beautiful view.

trail running
6 months ago

I intended to do this as a trail run as it looked easy and flat, and it was actually pretty good for trail running; however there are sections of the trail that basically disappear; or get cut across by jeep tracks; or are otherwise hard to follow. If you look at my recording I look like a drunk person going back & forth across the "trail" trying to find it and go the right direction. I was not expecting a navigational challenge on this route! I was never afraid of being lost; it was pretty wide open and I could hear the freeway.

But it was uncrowded and pleasant. It was fun seeing the bear from Lions, Tigers, and Bears from afar. There were a couple of bow hunters there, and a canine search & rescue team were training - it was a little disconcerting to have a German shepherd run toward me at one point, but I quickly realized he was not interested in me. The "trail" goes through oak trees and along a streambed, and out onto a wide open meadow with cows here and there.

Awesome! Just beware...where there is water, there be a-holes

7 months ago

Fun hike!!! Enjoy!!!

This trail was classified as easy. It was all down hill to the lake (elevation change 135 ft) with 92 deep stairs. I did not consider it easy and would not go on this trail again. Also, the sign says no dogs, not even service dogs. No access for disabled.

8 months ago

Our first overnight backpacking trip and this was a fun one. Starting at the top made for an easier time since most of it was downhill into secret canyon. We camped at mile 6ish and it was not easy to find a spot. Honestly I would say there isn’t really anywhere to camp until about mile 10 or at mile 1.5. Start early day one and make it most of the way, it will make for a better camping location.

Awason 1st time w/my family

8 months ago

The Secret Canyon trail makes for a great overnight backpacking trip. Starting from the Pine Creek trail head and descending to end at the Horsethief trail head makes for a moderate, but technical hike. Packing in water is a must. There are multiple creeks along the trail, some had water, but most don't. Also level camp sites are limited. Overall the trail is quite enjoyable and I would absolutely recommend it.

Great hike for the kids, water features are always a nice way to take a break halfway through. especially in San Diego where water features are almost nonexistent. Its a pretty gradual descent down into the canyon which flattens out as you get closer to the Pine Valley Creek. We went in the afternoon around 3, which was perfect. Hopefully we get some more rain this year, because I'm planning on a springtime return here. I could see how it could be scorching in this area around summer time, so bring lots of water. Should really call it the Espinosa Trail through Horsethief Canyon.

The walk from the parking lot to the edge of the water is not really a hike but there are some trails that go along side the water. These trails are not well defined and some parts there are no pathways. They are mostly used by people fishing to find the right place to cast their line.

There is a great sunrise view on the highest point near the water but I had to hike through a lot of brush to get there

Make sure you don't miss the sign to go down hill to the trail. coming back up was a killer.

10 months ago

Easy to moderate overall with a decent incline to finish the hike. Not much tree cover, but trail is pretty well maintained and easy to follow. Just stick to the signs directing you towards “Espinosa Trail” or “The Secret Trail” (may have been an old name for this trail).

We are just starting out hiking and this was perfect. We took our almost two year old in a carrier and our golden retriever who has had surgery for hip dysplasia two years ago. Everyone did great!

10 months ago

Great views and a short hike. I love when it gets crazy windy at the lookout. I remember when there were hang gliders launching from where the memorials are and gliding to the desert below. I wonder if those plaques are all of some that died or is it just a place people chose to place them?

10 months ago

Beautiful views but graffiti on the rock outcropping made me really sad. Weird memorial plaques on side of the trail were interesting but odd without any information plaque into how and why they got there. Very urban walk for being so far off the beaten path. Views are amazing. No harder a walk than a day at the mall. Do it once, then mark it off your list. Soft sand with some rough rocks to watch out for if bringing the elderly or small children.

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