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Things to Do in San Diego: Hiking Trails and Secret Places

The Hikes off Hwy 94 East County

Looking for some weekend outdoor fun without having to leave San Diego? Venture on Hwy 94 in East County which boasts some of San Diego’s best hiking trails. No matter what level of hiker you may be, you can find a trail that is just right for you. No need to burn gas, these trails are located just twenty-five minutes from downtown, an easy commute. Amazing views and fresh mountain air await.

McGinty Mountain Trail

This trail offers beautiful views of San Diego. It is located just off Lyons Valley Rd and Jamul Drive, near the Jamul Community Church. The trail spans about 4.5 miles and is considered difficult; bring lots of water and come early, about a three hour hike. Go for the views as each peak on this trail makes it worthwhile.

Lawson Peak Trail

Lawson Peak Trail is a beautiful 4.3 mile hike into the valley. The beginning of this hike is easy, but as you reach the end, rockiness can provide great opportunities for some real climbing or bouldering. The climb rewards you with some truly amazing views of San Diego when you reach the peak. As a popular trail, you may run into other hikers along the way.

Hollenbeck Canyon Trail

If you’re looking for something a little easier and more relaxing, try the Hollenbeck Canyon Trail just off Honey Springs Rd. If you visit after rain, expect green and lush landscapes; however it is still beautiful in warmer months. This trail is also a great place for mountain biking, so you may run into people on bikes or Horseback riding. In the springtime, this trail showcases gorgeous wildflowers and a great place for birdwatching. Bring water, you will be walking for a couple hours.

Minnewawa Truck Trail

This 12 mile trail is a great place for both hiking and off-roading. It has a continuous gain in altitude so expect an amazing work out! Overall it is not difficult but a long one. There are amazing views along the way. Just wait until you reach the top. Breath in deep and know that you accomplished your mission.

After the Trails

The area has plenty of secret spots to indulge in drinks and food after the trails. Family owned and operated local businesses are the way to go.

The hikes off the 94 are nestled in between three vineyards that make up the Lyon’s Peak Wine Trail; Rustic Ridge Vineyards, Granite Lion Cellars, and Deerhorn Valley Vineyards. Kick up your feet and soak up the sun with a cool glass of wine. Stop in at Rustic Ridge Vineyards which sits high on a ridge with views of downtown San Diego, panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Coronado Islands and Mountains. Offering a selection of refreshing wines by the glass or flights to taste, you will delight in the selection and be spell bound by the place. Relax and enjoy. Refuel with a delicious pizza or charcuteries that are available.

Wine’s not your thing? Opt for a beer at Brody's Burgers off Campo Rd, across the street from the Fruit Stand and behind the 7/11, a great locally owned restaurant with thirty-one beers on tap! They serve up amazing specialty burgers, salads, and wraps with a friendly and inviting environment, also a perfect place to unwind after the trails.

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