Five Great Hikes in East County San Diego

Top San Diego Hikes in East County San Diego



Lake Murray in San Diego

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One of the best parts about living in the San Diego area is the temperate climate and all of the unique topography available. Often times, we forget that we have access to some great hiking; so many people miss out on some awesome nature because they don't know about it. But don’t worry; we have you taken care of. Here are five great areas to hike that range from easy to moderate. Come out to East County San Diego to enjoy some fabulous hiking. Just be sure to bring a lot of water and your hiking shoes!

Lake Murray

Lake Murray offers scenic views of the Murray Reservoir and is a popular destination for people to bike, jog, walk, or rollerblade on a paved road. This is a 6.4-mile round trip hike. The trail is flat with small inclines that are not too strenuous, so even your kids can hike it. Along your hike, you can spot people fishing, wading, and enjoying their BBQs. 

After the hike, be sure to stick around and partake in some water activities or enjoy a picnic. But warning alert! If you hike Lake Murray, make sure you exit the area by 8pm so you aren't locked in! Also, if you are not a dog person then be careful because this is a popular trail for people and their pooches. 

San Diego Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings has miles and miles of great hiking trails. If you want to start with an easy hike, you can hike around the lake, which is a relatively flat 5.5 mile trip that meanders around back Coves. The north side of the lake gives access to the old “Flume” bench, which is a trail that goes east for five miles and high along the ridge of El Monte Valley. The campground also offers easy hikes during camp and lake hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Maintenance teams are continuing to enhance these trails all year so hikers can enjoy moderate elevation hikes that as well as shorter, easier trials for all ages. 

The campground itself can be a great spot for a family staycation. The campground is a bit on the expensive side, but it offers a lot of amenities, such as Wi-Fi, clean restrooms, and group activities. There is a minimum of a two days weekend stay, and they charge extra if you bring your pets, but otherwise this place is a hidden gem. The lake is not available to swin in, but there are other activities to enjoy like fishing or boating.

Father Junipero Serra Trail

Father Junipero Serra Trail

Father Junipero Serra Trail and the San Diego River are both great for bird watching and getting some relaxation time in. The trail has informational displays and touchable models of the dam and surrounding terrain so that it is more interactive for users. This trail is part of the Mission Trails Regional Park and is the main trail through the park, which begins at the visitors' center near Santee.

This is a paved trail that is 1.8 miles each way, and it is easy and suitable for all ages. It's even wheelchair accessible! The Father Junipero Serra Trail goes straight through the Mission Gorge with high cliffs that rise up on either side of the trail. The San Diego River can be heard wherever you are, and it can be seen when the water is rushing downhill from the trail. Climbers hang from the top of cliffs on some days as the light peaks over in the late afternoon. There are many animals to see on this trail, including squirrels, rabbits, and the red-tail hawk. Occasionally a deer or coyote can be spotted very early in the morning.