Descanso, California

The best Trails and Outdoor Activities in Descanso, California, offer a variety of scenic landscapes and top outdoor adventures. One must-visit is the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. This park provides a network of hiking trails with diverse natural features, from the lush Green Valley Falls to the sweeping views atop Stonewall Peak. The trails range from easy to challenging, catering to both beginners and seasoned hikers. On your hike, you might spot native wildlife or unique rock formations. For a more leisurely outdoor activity, visit Lake Cuyamaca for fishing or bird-watching. Nearby, the Pacific Crest Trail offers long-distance hiking through varied landscapes. Truly, Descanso offers some of the best outdoor attractions in California.

Top Spots in and near Descanso

  • Borrego Springs, California

    The Slot

    4.7
    2.2 mi / 266 ft gain
    Hiking The Slot From the parking lot, you will take the trail into the canyon that is directly in front of you. This will be the hardest and steepest part of the hike. There are no trail markers for the Slot. You can take the trail to the right of the parking lot very briefly, but make sure or y...
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  • Borrego Springs, California

    Off-Road through Split Mountain in Anza Borrego

    4.0
    11 mi / 0 ft gain
    For all you desert lovers- this is a must. Or for all you SD residents that want to try something new and take a break from the populated trails within the county- spend a day in Anza Borrego and include this on your list.This state park is just a quick jaunt outside of the town of Julian. This m...
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  • San Diego, California

    Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

    4.0
    Located at the intersection of Spruce Street and First Avenue this spot is hard to miss! There is no parking lot, but there is plenty of street parking nearby!! This suspension bridge is one of those hidden gems in San Diego. Located within Banker's Hill, this bridge brings peace and serenity. It...
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  • Borrego Springs, California

    Anza Borrego Metal Sculptures

    4.6
    Here's a map I made that marks where most of the sculptures are (here). First, you enter the park and drive through the little city of Borrego Springs. There will be a roundabout you can't miss, so you know you're on the right path. There is nowhere to park to get to the sculptures specifically,...
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  • Escondido, California

    Camp at Dixon Lake

    2.1 mi / 295 ft gain
    Dixon Lake is Escondido's best kept secret! A man-made reservoir located right next to Daley Ranch, Dixon Lake offers overnight camping, boat rentals, fishing, and hiking, along with picnic areas, a kids park, and more.  The campground is open year-round and is located next to the lake with a lof...
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  • San Diego, California

    Run the Convention Center Stairs

    4.8
    This is a great spot to get in a workout and to get some fresh air. The stairs are around 100 steps to the top, so if you're feeling good, you can get a few rounds in. In terms of safety, there are usually people around the convention center, so you most likely won't be alone. With that said, be ...
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  • San Diego, California

    Hike the Rose Canyon Trail

    3.5
    8.9 mi / 725 ft gain
    This hike is open year-round but is especially beautiful in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming and the spring is running. This trail offers good entry level mountain biking, with mostly flat well maintained trails and a couple of challenging but doable hills. 
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  • Coronado, California

    Spend a Day at Silver Strand State Beach

    5.0
    A day at the Silver Strand State Beach is a must, playing in the surf and searching for seashells. Parking can be challenging, as all beaches on Coronado Island are very busy.  I recommend coming early in the morning and planning to stay all day.  Lots of food options are close to every beach...
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  • San Diego, California

    Hike to the Rope Swing in Tecolote Canyon

    4.0
    4.4 mi
    Tecolote Canyon offers a great opportunity to explore nature right in the heart of San Diego, whether it is a hike, run, or bike ride on the trails.  But the best kept secret is perhaps a rope swing over the creek! The main trail starts off at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park & Nature Center, wh...
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  • Coronado, California

    Explore Bayview Park

    5.0
    Even though I am quite familiar with this spot, I doubt that most San Diegans have sat in the benches at this little park to take in the sunset, sunrise, or spectacular views of downtown San Diego. I'm absolutely positive that most out-of-towners have no idea that this little gem exists. I want t...
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  • San Diego, California

    Old Town San Diego State Historical Park

    4.5
    1 mi
    From where Father Junipero Serra established the first of 21 California Missions in 1769, this area was the first permanent European settlement in the San Diego region. Today, past and present meet in a preserved historical park located near Downtown San Diego. You can explore life as it was in ...
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  • Escondido, California

    Lake Hodges Overlook

    4.6
    6.73 mi / 1407 ft gain
    Elfin Forest is one of the most beautiful and unique trails in all of San Diego, CA. The parking is free as well as the overflow parking area. There is an Interpretive Center located in the staging area where you can speak to park rangers, learn about the wildlife and trail locations. The parking...
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  • Coronado, California

    Coronado Beach

    4.6
    Photograph the iconic and historic Hotel Del and Coronado Beach on Coronado Island. The Del is a beautiful Victorian resort, which is the second-largest wooden structure in the United States. The Del offers amazing photo opportunities during sunset and during sunrise when it is beautifully backli...
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  • Coronado, California

    Coronado Central Beach

    Coronado Central Beach in San Diego is a 1.5-mile-long, wide sandy beach set against the backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado. It’s popular for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The flat terrain is ideal for skimboarding and walking, attracting families who often spend the ent...
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  • Imperial Beach, California

    Catch a Sunset at the Imperial Beach Pier

    5.0
    From San Diego, head South on Hwy 5 for 12 miles. Take a right on exit 5A for Palm Ave/CA-75. Take CA-75 west for 1.6 miles. Stay on Palm Ave as it splits from CA-75. Take Palm Ave for 1 mile until it reaches the coast. Turn left on Seacoast Dr and take it for 1 mile until you reach the Imperial ...
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  • San Diego, California

    Bonfire at Fiesta Island

    4.7
    This island offers scenic views of of mission bay and if you're lucky, you can catch fireworks from Sea World. The bonfire rings are stationed around the island, so make sure you get there early to stake yours out, especially if you're headed there on the weekend. Dogs are allowed off leash at th...
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