Looking for a great trail near Lakeside, California? AllTrails has 13 great hiking trails, trail running trails, walking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails in Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, we've got you covered. You'll also find some great local park options, like Oak Oasis County Park or Louis Stelzer County Park. Just looking to take a quick stroll? We've got 5 easy trails in Lakeside ranging from 1.2 to 4.8 miles and from 403 to 1,998 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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hiking
over grown
3 days ago

We parked at the free lot across from the El Monte County Park and picked up the trailhead as soon as we crossed the street at the crosswalk. We were the only car in the lot and hikers along the trail. The solitude was great. I enjoyed the ascent up the mountainside along several moderate switchbacks. This was a great workout for my weight loss journey. The trail was visible but overgrown for most of our hike. The picturesque views of the El Cajon Mountain and El Monte Valley make the hike worthwhile. I’m not sure if the mountain we climbed is officially named but we rested at a park bench that was labeled the Blossom Valley Summit. Overall the hike was awesome and I look forward to my next hike there. I will probably pick-up the trail that I believe connects with the Helix Flume Trail and making it an longer (8 mile) hike out and back.

This is one of the hardest hikes in all of San Diego, due to the 11 mile distance and the steep inclines, especially the last .5 miles. This is the ultimate trail running/hiking experience San Diego has to offer. Make sure to pack plenty of water, as the lack of shade can be unforgiving. Incredible views; this trail really makes you work for it!

hiking
no shade
10 days ago

3/4 concrete pavement trail. $2 pp

Such a beautiful trail. I disagree with the person who said it was over grown recently. The trail looked well maintained. I didn't see any litter at all. I saw deer!

hiking
over grown
15 days ago

Short but a good one. The middle of the trail was a little over grown so you have to follow a makeshift path in the weeds but it’s not bad at all. Would definitely do again, great for runs but kind of narrow so go early! Plenty of shade also.

September 1st was hot as heck and I don’t know how I made but I made it. Greatest leg workout so far and I am definitely coming back for more. I started at 6 am and finished at 11:30. The morning shade is awesome and when the sun hits.. it hits hard. Hope y’all enjoy your hike.

Good views. Make sure you follow the app and don't miss the turn to stay off private property.

This was a great training hike if you’re doing any big mountain climbs. It is definitely difficult. It was already 80 degrees during our descent at 10am, so I would recommend starting this no later than 6am on a hot day. We each had 5 liters of water and finished it right at the end. There are almost no switch backs, so this is almost all incline or decline. The last .4 of the summit has some scrambling. Be sure to have good hiking shoes. Our total mileage from the parking lot to summit and back was 11.2.

hiking
closed
no shade
27 days ago

Signs at the trailhead say they close it for the month of August for extreme heat, will reopen sept 1. We were dummies and did it anyway. 95 degree day, barely brought enough water even though we thought we’d have plenty. We had a late start to the day and didn’t start until 12:30. There was zero shade on the way up but by the time we were descending there was much more shade. In the summer the gate closed at 7pm. It’s a HARD trail due to the gain, but doable if you’re in good shape. El Cajon summit was pretty spectacular. I’d say bring a pack with snacks, sunscreen, and literally as much water as is possible for you to carry- you’ll be glad you did. At the summit there are trail markers every few meters to make sure you stay on the trail to get to the peak. We had no problem getting the last quarter mile to find it, glad we did!

hiking
no shade
rocky
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
washed out
1 month ago

Lovely trail through beautiful Oakes and View of reservoir

hiking
1 month ago

Closed and they will lock your car in the parking lot if you’re not back by sunset

Preparing for Whitney in September so did both El Cajon and El Capitan peaks for the second time in three weeks. Great training hike but carry plenty of water and leave early to eat the heat. After around 10:00 am when the sun is high there is almost no shade to take breaks.

hiking
1 month ago

Started at 5 am and made it to the 5 mile marker at 8 am. It took everything I had to get to that point. So I didn’t make it to the top. Waited for my friends to come down. Between 2 & 3 mile marker had a mountain lion growl at me. I talked to rangers and they said yes there is a fat female in the area. I never saw her. It got really warm coming back and went through 3 liters. Next time I will make it up.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice 5 Mile walk around the lake it cost 2 dollars to park. The water is so clear and clean. I love the view of El Cajon mountain from the lake. Only gripe is the trash all over, left by inconsiderate people it's sad.

With Pierce on the 21st of July at about 2:30 pm. It was a pretty hot day but not too bad as long as you bring water. We couldn’t really find the trail that’s displayed here but there’s multiple trails within the sanctuary. We did the Chipmunk to Circuit Trail. Pretty overgrown in some places so be prepared for that. Saw a rattlesnake, a chipmunk, lizards, and some pretty birds. I’m especially happy that we saw the one bird that I noted on the board in the beginning, Anna’s hummingbird :) it was a momma and her baby having a fun time flying around with each other

Either I took a wrong turn, or the end of the trail and private property marker arent up anymore... I turned around after 3 miles out because I was pretty sure this was only a 3 mile out and back trail lol.. Nobody stopped me, and didnt see a single person otherwise. Lots of rattlesnakes near the trail head on my way out, could hear them in the brush.

I give it 4 stars but dunno if I’d do again. I did both El Capitan and El Cajon today in same hike. I wish I had gone to the end of the southern trail so I didn’t have a reason to go back. I hated the constant up then down. It made it harder to look up every once in awhile and enjoy the majesty of where I was and that’s half the reason i hike. The other half is the challenge and exercise n you will get plenty of that. El Capitan had a great view but Cajon was better. I went through almost 5 liters on a near 90 degree day but I weigh 220 so make sure u r prepared. Trail was easy to follow till ascending Cajon. But there where markers that I just missed. Some people I passed on way up said they started at 4am. Enjoy n go before 10am for sure.

hiking
1 month ago

I give it 4 stars but dunno if I’d do again. I did both El Capitan and El Cajon today in same hike. I wish I had gone to the end of the southern trail so I didn’t have a reason to go back. I hated the constant up then down. It made it harder to look up every once in awhile and enjoy the majesty of where I was and that’s half the reason i hike. The other half is the challenge and exercise n you will get plenty of that. El Capitan had a great view but Cajon was better. I went through almost 5 liters on a near 90 degree day but I weigh 220 so make sure u r prepared. Trail was easy to follow till ascending Cajon. But there where markers that I just missed. Some people I passed on way up said they started at 4am. Enjoy n go before 10am for sure.

Nice trail, good training hike but there are a lot of bugs. Bees and biting flies along most of the trail. I did it on a very hot day but recommend bringing more water than usual.

running
no shade
over grown
1 month ago

Pretty decent workout/run. The inclines are a little tiring but get the job done if you’re looking for some exercise. It was moderately cleared out but still a little concerning for snake encounters since there isn’t too much visibility of the trail in some places. All in all a nice trail that’s very easily accessible to the public.

Took about 5 and a half hours including the rest time at the summit. Amazing views and a really great workout. Wouldn’t recommend for a beginner but it’s a great hike to work your way up to. 5th time doing it and I still feel my legs sore a few days after the hike.

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

It was a nice hike, the only areas that are more difficult is the incline, but it’s not bad, the declines aren’t bad but could be slippery from rocks. I had hoped the trail was closer to the water, but you only see it for a very short period of time and it’s not close. Not much to see, but some areas were pretty. We went at 8 and were done in an hour. The 2nd half doesn’t look as travelled through, it narrows a lot and the plants are growing into the path in several areas, only concern with that is not seeing snakes as well if they were there. Overall, it’s a decent hike if you need some cardio/exercise but don’t have a lot of time to hike around. If I go again, I’ll venture off to the side trails and see where they lead.

it was nice, cleared out for the most part. we were probably .5 miles away from the end and saw a huge snake, dont think it was a rattle, but it was kind of scary since this particular area wasn't cleared out so we were walking on alot of different high plants where the snakes could be nesting. very nerve wracking.

hiking
2 months ago

I jog this loop regularly or walk my dogs around it. Nice views. It is mostly flat so I'll usually do 2 or so laps which is about 3 miles. It has a little outdoor work out area next to the skate park as well which is convenient. Parking is free. Also just a cute place to go hang out, you can picnic, fish, there is a park for kids, and the skate park. After hosting Thanksgiving last year I took my family for a walk around it with my 3 year old nephew and they absolutely loved it.

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