Trails for everyone
San Dieguito River Park is home to 65 miles of trails that are open to hikers, bikers and equestrians. Please note, you need to stay on the designated paths and follow posted rules to help preserve the area.
Looking for some of the best trails and hiking in San Diego? Check out our Best Hikes in San Diego article for some of our favorites!
Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail - most popular!
Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail is one of the more popular trails in the park. It runs a little over 7 miles and is popular with hikers and bikers. On this trail, you will pass Lake Hodges, and you can scale the mountain to get a spectacular view of the surrounding areas.
Give Back to your River Park!
When visiting, remember to ask for volunteer opportunities for all ages and levels of involvement. Look for the best program for you and your needs.
Mountain Bikers Favorites
Del Dios Gorge Trail is an easier trail that runs about 10.5 miles. It is a mostly flat trail and is popular with bikers, so keep an eye out! Beautiful plat life can be seen along the way with clear signage with information about what you are seeing.
If you are a mountain biker looking for a tough, long ride, do we have a trail for you! Raptor Hill via Mule Hill Trail is a 20.4-mile trail that takes you through farmland and over a river that cuts through the park. A steep climb awaits to take you to the summit to see a fabulous view of the surrounding areas.
Fun with your Dog
Dogs are allowed on most trails at San Dieguito River Park, but please remember to keep them on a leash. River Park recommends taking hikes early in the morning or late afternoons with your dog because of the heat. Make sure to bring plenty of water for you and your best friend.
While dogs are allowed, there are dangers out there for them. Rattlesnakes are known to be in the area and have been known to bite dogs on the nose. Keeping them on a leash helps prevent them wandering off into unattended areas where the snakes tend to live.
Remember to always check your dogs for fleas and ticks after your hikes.
Events at the Park
San Dieguito River Park hosts many events and opportunities to learn about the park throughout the year.
Every Sunday, the North San Diego Certified Farmers Market is held at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead. This is a great way to help support local communities and the economy.
Farmers, retailers and local bakers and chefs from the area gather together to help promote and sell their products. Once a month, the “Special Sunday” Market occurs with music and games for the whole family.
If you are interested in learning about birds, the River park hosts a Bird Count. On the first Sunday of every month, experts take visitors on a hike to San Dieguito Lagoon.
During this trip, you will learn about the habitat, migration traits, and behaviors of the lagoon birds. The hosts will also assist you in identifying the native lagoon birds.
Lend a hand!
San Dieguito River Park hosts volunteer opportunities for visitors to help give back. The Volunteer Habitat Restoration meets once a month on the first Saturday. Join a Park Ranger to help maintain the area.
During this experience, you will remove intrusive trash and plant life that could affect the wildlife of the area. You will also be planting native plants to help maintain the new restored area.
You can also volunteer to help maintain the trails throughout the park. While working with a Park Ranger, you will clear trash and brush off the trails and maintain their beauty.
The park will provide proper tools, gloves and training for both of these projects.
San Dieguito River Park also offers multiple opportunities for long term volunteer work.
Check out Crest Canyon
Crest Canyon is a small park located within the residential area of Del Mar and is part of San Dieguito River Park.
The canyon is made up of native coastal sage scrub and chaparral. Some of this plant life includes California sagebrush, buckwheat, black and white sage, goldenbush, toyon, California sunflower, Mexican elderberry, cudweed aster, and telegraph weed.
The rare Torrey Pine trees fill the bowl of the canyon. From down below, you can also look up and see prickly pear plants as well as Mojave yucca.
Crest Canyon is also an excellent park for bird watching, especially in the wintertime. Egrets, ducks and other shore birds take refuge in the canyon during those months.
While hiking through the canyon, keep an eye out for other wildlife. The area is known to have coyotes and a variety of snakes.