This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Best Dog-Friendly Hikes in San Diego

  • 3 min read

Best Dog-Friendly Hikes in San Diego

San Diego is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the US. Whether you're looking to get your steps in with your furry friend or get a bite to eat, there are a number of things to do with your pup. 

Taking your furry friend walking with you is a lot of fun, but it’s really frustrating to head out to a new hiking trail only to find a “No Dogs Allowed” sign once you get there. Fortunately for you, though, we’re here to help you out with a list of the best dog-friendly hikes in San Diego.

Table of Contents

Balboa Park Gardens Loop

For a nice, easy, sociable hike, you and your canine companion should head to the Balboa Park Gardens Loop. It’s just shy of a mile and a half of flat, paved walkways that take you through some truly beautiful locations. It’s a great hike for bird watching and also for seeing wildflowers.

It’s also a great walk for meeting other people and their dogs, because it’s such a popular trail. So, if you like meeting new people and your dog likes meeting new dogs, this should be a fun hike for you both. There are even a few areas where you can let your doggy pal run around off-leash for awhile.

Buena Vista Park

One of the most difficult things about hiking in San Diego in the summer is the sun. The brutal, brutal sun. Hike the Buena Vista Park trail on those merciless summer days, though, and you’ll have it made in the shade. Large parts of the trail are overhung by trees, so you can enjoy a nice cool hike through some awesome scenery.

“Buena vista” means “good view,” and the park is very aptly named. The trail follow a creek through large oak groves, and you’d never know you were in a city along some stretches of the trail.

Battle Mountain

If it’s something more strenuous that you and your furry friend are looking for, try the Battle Mountain hike. It’s a short one, but it’s rather more vertical than most hiking trails are. This one will definitely get both of your hearts pumping.

The “mountain” (really just a hill) gets its name from the Battle of San Pasqual, fought in 1846. Battle Mountain wasn’t actually the site of the battle. That took place on nearby Mule Hill. It is, though, the place where a group of local church people erected a monument to the battle in 1966, for some reason.

Sunset Cliffs Park Trail

This one’s another easy walk. The trail’s about a mile long and, as the name suggests, runs along some cliffs that offer stunning views of the area. Those views are the reason why the hike will take you significantly longer than the 20 minutes or so that such a walk would normally require. You’ll need to stop and take a look at each one.

While your dog might not be much impressed by the views, you are sure to be. However, there are places where your dog can go off-leash, so they’ll be sure to love the walk as well.

Rancho Penasquitos Waterfall Trail

If you want to see something a little different, try the Rancho Penasquitos Waterfall Trail. Surprised to learn that San Diego has a waterfall? Then you’ll be even more surprised to learn that it actually has three. This one is on an especially beautiful hiking trail, though.

The trail is home to several hundred different species of plants and almost 200 different species of birds. There are also a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles, and other critters. So not only will you have a lot of chances to see some cool and unusual things, there are all kinds of cool and unusual smells for your canine friend to investigate. And then, of course, there’s the waterfall to see at the end of the trail.

Calavera Lake Trails

Did you know that San Diego has its very own volcano? Well, it does. Don’t worry, though. It hasn’t erupted in 15 million years. It’s right next to Calavera Lake. (Which means “Skull Lake” in Spanish.) There are 4 miles of hiking trails around the lake, and all kinds of interesting things to discover, like the cave. Well, it’s not technically a cave, it’s part of an abandoned mine, but it’s still pretty cool.

There’s also a man-made stone labyrinth you and your canine pal can walk. On your hike, you can marvel at the great diversity of plant life and wildlife you'll see along the trails.