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

After the river crossing, the road was steep and gravelly (very washed out from the recent rain and I had to walk part of it). Great view of South Fortuna peak and the hikers attempting the stairway to heaven trail to the top (no bikes here). Also descended South Trail to some picnic grounds and up for the loop (this was very technical and fun but exhausting). Then descended back down hill (whoopee!) toward the river crossing and to the visitor center.

We hiked this trail at night. Beautiful views....not too difficult.

Even if you don't have a dog it is fun to walk here and "dog watch". at 9:30am walked along the beachfront and along the path on the peninsula/island that protrudes in the inlet. lot's of birds and beach plants--the sandy path has signs identifying the pickleweed that grows here. Saw a few homeless people here. Not a bad place to walk/run.

So 1st part of this trail is just a steep but short hiking trail. The rest of it is for climbers only. While the visitors center heavily discourages bouldering and blazing your own trail, many have done it *cough cough for thrills, and at the top theres a cool circle of rocks that people have put together. You could get to the nearest peak from there, but again it requires trail blazing so be careful (snakes) and mindful (there are unofficial trails, but minimize your foot imprint and dont trample, also dont smoke ANYTHING) *not that I have smoked in mission trails, just seen it and it makes me shudder thinking of one cigarette butt or flying pipe ember can just set a whole place ablaze, so just dont!!!

Several things I love.
1) Typically not crowded
2) Many paths to each peak which offer their own delights
3) tons of thriving vegetation and wildlife
4) Some paths can be a bit of a challenge and leg burner
5) Some pretty cool hangout spots along the way that are peaceful and secluded

Downer: at times south fortuna is crowded at stairs, luckily several paths and theres north fortuna, significantly less crowded.

I once hiked down North Fortuna after dark without a headlamp, by myself, with several paths intersecting. DONT DO THAT scary as heck.

oh, leave a gift of poetry at North Fortuna too

7 days ago

I did this hike several times and enjoyed it very much. Assess from all four different directions.

The feeling when you reach the peak after climbing the stairs is pretty great

at his south trail killed me going up the stairs!!!! someone said to me the stairway to heaven, it was to hell. I was dying my dog made it! he loved it!

Not for those looking for rich and lush nature. Most of the trail is over exposed to the sun and there's just nothing to really see. Just a lot of dirt and dried up vegetation.
If your goal is exercise, this may be sufficient. If your goal is to get away and be immersed in nature, this place is more like the set for the Walking Dead.
I took pictures with my digital camera and posted them so you can see for yourself.

Awesome workout. Great view. I recommend ample water, a snack for the top and a lite packable wind jacket for nov/dec/jan/ feb - stairs were awesome, but trail is best on a weekday morning ( less people)

Great hike got lost twice trying to find stairway to heaven.Don’t expect directions to it just follow directions to south Fortuna you will see the Stairs in the distance

hiking
15 days ago

Short but sweet! This is a fun trail that’s pretty technical. We went at 8:00am on Friday and only saw a few other hikers on the trail and a few rock climbers at the crest doing their thing. The trail is quite narrow though so if it was crowded I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much.

I lost myself in the water at the end and loved every moment of it. The route we took was the 6 mile route: we parked, walked straight ahead, continued for just over 3 miles, walked down to the water, hung out, chilled and walked back the same way we came. This was a nice "recovery" hike after doing a more challenging one a few days prior. This was long but definitely worth it. Give yourself a few hours though because walking 6 miles takes some time! Lots of shade but there are a few points where there isn't any.

walking
15 days ago

We went to Sunset Cliffs to take a walk, get out in natural and enjoy the sunset. I knew I wasn't there for a challenging hike. This was a post Thanksgiving recovery hike since I was dealing with many blisters from a previous hike...this was perfect! it provided incredible views and allowed us to climb and explore so we could be kids again for a little bit.

As of Thanksgiving 2018 this trail is still under construction but it did not hinder our experience in any way.

Very crowded in some places. Included the Crystal Pier in my walk. Lot's of places to stop and have an drink/food.

Good workout, decent views for so close to downtown SD. Pretty boulders and stairs to climb. VERY crowded.

Easy hike to the beach

I loveeee this hike!!!! I’m confused on why people are saying it’s not a loop cuz it is but it’s a 11 mile loop. Not 6 miles. That information is incorrect. There’s so many trails the variety is amazing it feels like all different hikes. There’s 2 trails one for hikers and trail runnings and one for bikes and cars possibly. You don’t have to really ever worry about bikes. It’s beautiful and I highly recommend it! Some parts of shaded and a lot parts aren’t. Bring a ton of water and sunscreen. Lots of fun areas! Enjoy :)

Took the dog with us, it was rough the stairs to go all the way up makes it seem like you made it but no it's still less than a mile left lol. over all it was a good workout, awesome.

Short hike, but great views! saw some rock climbers. I wore my hiking boots because I was not sure what to expect, but glad that I did because there was lots of opportunities for a clumsy person like myself to roll their ankles haha. Took less than an hour to complete, which allowed us to take in the view and have a snack!

Easy practically flat trail. Beware lots of bike riders, some are nice enough to let you know they are coming close. Busy on the weekends. Nice waterfall at the end of the trail to refresh yourself in.

Started at the East Staging area and walked along the perimeter trail/road (this part is daunting because of the up and down part of the hills). When you get to the stairs that go up the mountain, it is single track trail again with some shade and a great view up to the top. Totally worth the view!!! In my opinion, better view here than Cowles Mtn. On the way down Fortuna Saddle Trail it is slippery in the dirt/gravel road but the Oak Canyon Trail is quite nice although short. DEFINITELY bring more WATER than you think! I have done this 2x and ran out of water both times.

very sad to say...no clear begining... so crowded I could not even enjoy it...for me not a fun adventure

hiking
23 days ago

A good workout. Very nice views.

walking
23 days ago

took the north entrance to the south and walked back to my car since it was in between open gate hours took 2 pups and we all had a good time

pyles peak is one of my favorite hikes in san diego. it offers a challenge in incline, tons of photo ops, and beautiful views!

Nice hike with some challenging sections. The six mile loop is a combination of a bunch of different paths so I recommend running this app during your hike. You can’t just zone out and walk/run the whole thing. When you come out of the parking lot, there is a cool bridge over a canyon. You turn left once across the bridge to get to The Fortuna loop. If you want to go counterclockwise, the path off to the right is roughly a hundred yards after turning left from the bridge. If you turn right from the bridge, there are some very steep repeated climbs for a warm up.

I did it counterclockwise and enjoying hustling up the long run of steps. I definitely preferred going up those versus down. It took me just over 90 minutes to complete. There are spectacular views from both peaks. I was fine starting at 8am on a weekday in mid-November with a 12-16oz bottle of water. I passed maybe five people going in my direction and about the same going the other way.

trail running
28 days ago

I’ve ran this trail about 4 times. Starts out extremely steep, then opens up. Fairly narrow paths, medium brush and tons of small trails that branch off in different directions. Beautiful view from the top. Very challenging trail run.

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