Tag Archives: San Diego hikes

My 7 Favorite Hikes in San Diego County

Since I moved to California 7 1/2 years ago (cannot believe it’s been that long!), I’ve become an avid hiker. Hitting the trails offers a workout, stress relief, time in nature, and exercise for my dog all at once.

Cedar Creek Falls in Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County

I’ve realized that hiking is also a spiritual experience for me. It leaves me feeling centered, grateful, and connected to the earth. I believe in the interconnectedness of everything in life, and hiking seems to always remind me of that. It’s also a lovely chance to practice mindfulness. I can only describe it as losing myself for a few hours to really find myself.

Hiking at Joshua Tree National Park

Hiking just with my trail buddy, my pup, also gives me time and space to clear my head. There’s always so much going on – lots of noise, distractions, and busyness – but on the trails, everything sort of slows down. I begin at the trailhead analyzing something in my life, and by the end of the hike, I have found the answers.

I’ve lived in a few different parts of San Diego County for most of the time I’ve been in California, and I’ve done more than my fair share of hikes in the area. In fact, I’ve visited the vast majority of local hiking trails! Finding new trails has gotten tougher in the past year or two because I’ve already explored so many of them.

I thought it’d be fun to share a post that compiles my favorite hikes around here. Without further adieu, here are my 7 favorite hikes in San Diego County!

Kwaay Paay Summit at Mission Trails Park. It’s only right that I start off my list with one of the first hikes that I really loved in San Diego. This was around the time when Harley was around a year old, and I was looking for fun ways to tire my energetic puppy out. In fact, my first blog post mention of Kwaay Paay was all the way back in 2012 when I first started my blog!

Shots from the last time I hiked Kwaay Paay with my friend Trish last fall

Kwaay Paay is a trail within the beautiful Mission Trails Regional Park. It’s about a 90-minute, 2.5 mile out-and-back trail, but don’t think that because it’s not long, it’ll be a breeze…For a bit there it’s a heart-pounder! I also like it because it isn’t as crowded as some other hikes in the area (like Cowles Mountain). There have been many times when I barely see another soul around throughout the hike.

On the Iron Mt trail just a few weeks ago

Iron Mountain. Offering sweeping SoCal views, this trail sits a bit inland in the town of Poway. Iron Mountain is about a 5 1/2 mile hike with a 1,000 ft elevation gain.

I’ve done this hike a handful of times over the years, and it’s a goodie! I actually just recently took my cousin to do this hike when she was in town because it’s a great hike that’s a very solid workout without being too exhausting. It’s also perfect if you want to get out in nature to hit the trails, but don’t want to spend your entire day doing so. The hike always takes me 2 1/2-3 hours to complete.

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Three Sisters Waterfall Hike + An Afternoon of Wine in Temecula {Weekend Recap}

Hi friends!

Hope that your week is off to a nice start! Did you have Monday off of work for Presidents Day? I had off from my publicist job, and actually didn’t do work for any of my jobs whatsoever. I think I only answered one email the entire day, which was nice! My long weekend was a great one, so today I’m rewinding it back a few days.

On Saturday while my hubby studied for an MBA exam all day, I took care of a lot of freelance & blogging stuff. I also ran a couple of errands, including a trip to Michaels to pick up a frame for a new addition to my travel-themed workout room.

The artist of this San Diego Modern Map Art was nice enough to send me a print, and I think it goes perfectly in my workout room. The room is full of canvas art and memorabilia of my travels, and now I have art in there of my current beloved city, San Diego!

Sunday first thing, I took my pup for a long walk along the coast on what was a misty morning. Afterwards, I got ready for the day & prepped some food for a picnic we were planning on having in Temecula wine country. I made Greek pasta salad and packed some healthy snacks, including hummus with carrots, apple and chickpea crackers.

We headed out to Temecula to meet up with my cousin Michelle and her boyfriend. Michelle’s birthday is coming up, so we had a celebratory afternoon together sipping wine and hanging out. First up, we stopped at Weins Cellars. Known for their big reds, Weins has a great outdoor area to picnic at, so after we tasted there, we nabbed a bottle and ate outside.

Afterwards, we headed over to Lorimar Winery, where my cousin is a wine member. I’ve been to Lorimar a few times recently, and they seem to always have interesting red blends on their tasting menu. Lorimar also has a great outdoor space for hanging out, along with a food truck if you’re hungry & live music on the weekends.

We had a lot of fun relaxing in Temecula, but then again I always enjoy myself in wine country. I mean what’s not to love? Even during this time of the year when the vineyards are looking scarce and the weather can be on the chillier side, Temecula always proves to be a great time.

Hydrating with pHenOH 7.4

After a laid-back, wine-filled Sunday, my Monday off went in a different direction. After taking my pup to the dog park for some playtime, Adam and I headed out to the California countryside to the town of Descansco for a hike to Three Sisters Waterfalls.

This was only my second time doing this hike. The other time I did it was almost exactly four years ago, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The other time I visited Three Sisters, the San Diego area was in a serious drought, whereas this time, we’ve gotten a ton of rain lately. I had high hopes for raging waterfalls, and I was not disappointed!

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Hiking Cuyamaca Peak

Happy Friday guys!

I’m sure you all are looking forward to the weekend! And speaking of days off, whenever I have a long weekend, I like to do spend part of it doing something fun and new. For 4th of July weekend, this was no exception.

4th of July pancakes

My festive pancakes over the holiday weekend

We had a party at our friends’ on the agenda, which I made my very first red, white & blue cake {angel food cake with cream cheese frosting & a fruit flag} + caprese pasta salad for. We also had some house stuff to do (homeowners, do you also feel like the work is never-ending?!), but that was pretty much it… so, we had some time to go on adventure!

4th of July cake

I decided that a new area hiking spot was to be explored, and the weather was perfect for doing so. A lot of hiking trails in San Diego County are inland, and inland areas can get HOT in the summer, but last weekend, temperatures in the 80s meant decent summertime hiking. After doing some research – when I realized that I’ve done the vast majority of hikes within a 2-hour radius! – I found one called Cuyamaca Peak.

Cuyamaca Peak-12b

What intrigued me about this hike is that it’s the 2nd highest point in San Diego County. The summit sits at 6,512′ and the hike comes in at a little under 6 miles with a 1,700’+ elevation gain.  The trail is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – which I didn’t realize that we’d been to until after doing the hike, coming home and checking my blog post about our camping trip there years ago because I thought the park sounded familiar (Got to love that, right fellow bloggers?). 

Cuyamaca Peak-1

From what I’ve read, dogs are allowed on this trail (and I believe it’s the only trail in the park that allows pups), but we decided to leave Harley home. Between the decently long drive and the summertime weather, we figured it’d be easier to leave her napping cozy in her bed under a ceiling fan.

Cuyamaca Peak-5

To get to the trail, we parked in the Paso Pichacho campground area, and walked through the campsites to get to the trailhead in the back.

Cuyamaca Peak-2

Another thing that seemed interesting about this trail is that it’s home to sugar pine trees – something you don’t see too often in Southern Cali. I was also curious about the destruction that could still be seen from the massive fire that I had heard about, which in 2003, incinerated the areas and its beautiful forests.

Cuyamaca Peak-4

Right away, you can tell that there was an enormous fire in the park. While lots of beautiful green can still be seen on the trail, much of the area is a reminder of that fire 13 years ago that swept through 240,000+ acres. Trees caught in the fire still stand high – but leaf-less, blackened and burnt.

Cuyamaca Peak-10

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My Workouts Lately {Muscle Tweaks Can’t Hold Me Down!}

Hey friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was wonderful and included lots of fun with my little family! Check out Harley licking her lips at the sangria carafes I brought to a friend’s on the 4th of July: sangria carafes

I can’t blame her, sangria is one of my favorite summer drinks!

Today I thought it’d be fun to talk about my workouts as of late. As usual I’ve been super active, but lately I’ve had a few not so fun muscular tweaks happening. I’m thankful to be strong and healthy, but does anyone else ever feel like their body is just out of whack and giving out on them in an aches and pains kind of way?!

The first tweak was a couple of weeks ago when I hurt my neck doing a Jillian Michaels’ DVD that I’ve done a million times. It felt like a nerve pinched in my neck down through my shoulder blade, and I immediately felt a tingling sensation. It felt annoying but just kind of weird during that day, and developed into a crazy painful tweak that night. For a bunch of days I couldn’t turn my neck easily, and so I was obviously very careful with my movements. I applied my heating pad to it like crazy and begged my hubby to give me lots of neck rubs until it subsided.

Xtend barre HRM

My heart rate stats after an Xtend Barre bootcamp class

Once my neck felt more normal again, I started a 2-week unlimited class Groupon at Xtend Barre Encinitas. I’m going to talk more about it in another post, but I’m now a fan of Xtend Barre workouts and enjoyed this barre workout’s focus on more cardio. I took 5 classes in 2 weeks, and even though each class was different, by the last few classes, I felt like I had a decent grasp on Xtend Barre moves.

The last weekend in June, when my hubby and I awoke to gloomy skies and cool temperatures, we decided to spend the morning hiking with our pup. This type of weather is ideal for summer hiking, and we headed to Poway’s Iron Mountain.  Iron Mt

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Clevenger Canyon North Hike [Weekend Recap]

Hi friends!

How was your weekend? My weekend unofficially kicked off with a fun blogger meet up in the Little Italy section of San Diego. I had been wanting to meet up with Laura from Sprint 2 the Table since she moved into the area a few months ago, and blogger friends of hers Lucie and Meghan were in town visiting last week, so I had the chance to meet all three of these ladies. Prep Kitchen blogger meet up

So what do healthy living bloggers do when they get together? If we aren’t meeting for a workout, we usually eat, drink, and chat away (as was the case)! Even though I worked on Friday, Thursday night felt like the unofficial start to my weekend.

My actual weekend started off with Friday evening shenanigans at a nearby park with my dingo. It had been raining that morning and was a crisp air, dreary kind of day, but I decided that we’d get outside anyways for some exercise…
Calavera Preserve rainy hiking

Going to a park when the weather isn’t great is kind of fun because there’s no one around. The trails were muddy and Harley ran around getting herself dirty, while I hit the trails with her doing exercises like walking squats, jump squats and high knees. This is the kind of stuff you can do when you have the entire park to yourself! We both got a workout in and I found the weather change kind of soul soothing – plus we need rain here badly!

Other weekend fun included finding the cutest farm just a few minutes away from my house, where the owner was happy to chat with me about what he’s growing, the history of the family farm, and what he’s picking soon (strawberries and tomatoes!)…  Couple Berry Farm Stand

…some kitchen experimenting, which resulted in one successful recipe, and one recipe fail: pb and jelly bar recipe fail

These peanut butter & jelly oatmeal bars tasted great, but the texture just came out too crumbly. I may bake a few apples and crumble the bars on top since they didn’t exactly turn out like bars that I can grab on-the-go. Ahh well, you win some and you lose some!

And then there was my Sunday morning Mother’s Day hike with my little family. We ventured out to the countryside, just about 40 minutes away, to explore a new hiking spot: Clevenger Canyon-9I first heard about this hike when checking out a hiking book that covers trails within 60 miles of San Diego. Not surprisingly, I’ve already done most of the hikes that are moderate to difficult, but I jotted down a few that I hadn’t done before, and Clevenger Canyon was one of them.

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