Top Adventures in Santee

  • Hike to Cowles Mountain via Big Rock Trail

    Starting somewhat near sea-level, Cowles Mountain via the Big Rock Trail climbs about 1000 ft in elevation.  This trail is about 5 miles total, out and back.  Arrive at Big Rock park which has good parking.  At the park you will walk to the left o...

    5 miles 1000 ft gain

  • Hike to Crystal Cave

    Starting at 8100 Mesa road, you will see parking along the side of the road in a few places, take advantage where you find it. Pass over the trail gate that marks the start of the journey. This will be a quick trip, as the total distance is less t...

    1 miles

  • Hike to the Antenna Station on Cowles Mountain

    Start by plugging 8125 Arlette St, Santee, CA into your GPS. This takes you to Big Rock Park, a convenient parking spot for the Cowles Hike. From here you want to walk through the park, and around the right side of the tennis court. This will take...

    5 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Hike to Kwaay Paay Summit

    Park your car in the small gravel parking lot at the southwest corner of Father Junipero Serra Trail and Bushy Hill Drive (this is especially important if you plan to take the sunset hike, so you'll be outside the locked park gate when you descend...

    2.8 miles 850 ft gain

  • Hike to Pyles Peak

    Most people who live in San Diego have heard of, if not hiked, Cowles Mountain.At 1591 ft., Cowles is the highest peak in the city of San Diego. It's a hugely popular destination for day hikers and trail runners looking to get in a little trail ti...

  • Hike Oak Canyon in Mission Trails Regional Park

    Starting on Father Junipero Serra Trail, drive 0.7 miles west to the Old Mission Dam parking lot on the left. The park closes the gates at 7pm, so make sure to park early, or plan your hike in such a way that you don't get locked in! If you think ...

    3 miles 200 ft gain

  • Carefree Walk on the Visitor Center Loop Trail

    The Visitor Center Loop Trail is a well maintained, quick hike with shady spots scattered along the path. This hike is great for kids and dog owners. There is a great network of connecting trails if you wish to extend the distance! Dogs are allowe...

    1.4 miles 170 ft gain

  • Explore the Visitor Center Loop Trail

    The Visitor Center Loop Trail is a 1.4 mile hike in San Diego that features river views and allows dogs. This trail allows for the practice of a variety of activities: rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, birding, camping horseback ridin...

    1.4 miles 190 ft gain

  • Catch a Sunset at Lake Murray

    Lake Murray Reservoir provides drinking water to parts of San Diego, and thus is a no swimming lake. This is one of the reasons it is such a great place to photograph! If you are shooting the sunset, use this app to check the time the sun sets, an...

  • Hike to South Fortuna Peak

    Hiking at sunset/night is a great way to beat both the heat and the crowds. On a clear day you can see from Mexico to Catalina Island! If you stay long enough, you can see all of San Diego's city lights turn on, or the marine layer fog creep into ...

    5 miles 1000 ft gain

  • Hike the Fortuna Mountain Trail

    The Fortuna Mountain Trail is an easy drive from San Diego. The waterfall is most visible in the spring or after heavy rains. The trail is accessible year-round, and allows dogs that are kept on leash.  Print out trail maps before getting started ...

    6.2 miles 1459 ft gain

  • Hike around Goodan Ranch

    Starting at the Sycamore Canyon Trail head, you will see the sign and gate that leads to Goodan Ranch. Head down the gravel road for 1.1 miles, until you reach a 3-way directional split. Heading straight for another .5 miles will take you directly...

    3 miles

  • Nearby camping, hotels, and more

    • Chula Vista, California

      San Diego Metro KOA

    • Encinitas, California

      Outsite // San Diego

      Outsite Grandview is located on Lorraine Drive, with a coworking space offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. There are 3 private rooms, 3 shared rooms and 2 bathrooms in this house. There’...

      From $60/night

    • Campo, California

      Boulder Oaks Eqst

      Overview Boulder Oaks offers equestrian and family sites in the scenic Cleveland National Forest, about an hour away from San Diego, California. Visitors are drawn here for the convenience of horse...

    • Laguna Meadow Road

      El Prado Group

      Overview El Prado Group Campground is a great mountain getaway just one hour east of San Diego, California in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Campers can enjoy cooler temperatures, unique natu...

    • Mount Laguna, California

      Laguna

      Overview Laguna Campground is a great mountain getaway just one hour east of San Diego, California in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Campers can enjoy cooler temperatures, unique natural area...

    • Mount Laguna, California

      Horse Heaven Group

      Overview Contrary to its name, Horse Heaven Group Campground has no equestrian sites. Instead, this tent-only facility can accommodate gatherings of up to 100 people. It provides a great mountain g...

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