San Diego

Top 4 Family-Friendly Hikes in San Diego County

If you're wondering about 'hikes near me,' we got you covered!

With beautiful weather all year long and stunning views, it's no wonder San Diego is a favorite hiking area for many. 

But sometimes it's unclear if the hiking trail you're thinking about taking is good for kids. It might be too strenuous or even dangerous for children. That's why NBC 7 created a list of our top four local family-friendly hiking spots. 

First is Annie's Canyon Trail. If you drive to Rios Court in Solana Beach and walk about 3/4 of a mile off the road, you'll find stunning views in this hidden gem. The coastal hike is packed with a plethora of wildlife and native plants as well. 

And although the trail is close to the beach, it's one of the only places in the county with sandstone, making it seem like more of a desert terrain. 

“It’s on the coast so it’s almost always pleasant for hiking,” said Scott Turner, co-author of the 5th edition of 'Afoot & Afield San Diego County.' 

Hikers can take natural sand steps up to the top of the canyon for sweeping views of San Diego. 

“There’s great birdwatching here thanks to a combination of tidal water and fresh water merging together,"  said Turner. 

Next up is Cowles Mountain Trail in San Carlos. It's a good start for kids because the parking lot off of Navajo Road is right next to the trailhead. 

"This is a great place to go and actually get a workout and do something fun," said Kirk Riley, a hiker in San Carlos. 

The hike, which is part of the larger Mission Trails area, also has breath-taking views during sunset.

Don't forget about Volcan Mountain Trail in Julian. Here, you can get an elevation up to 1300 ft. A 5.2 mile hike here will take about 3 hours with the family. 

“During the fall, believe it or not they actually get some descent fall color from one of the trees that grows up there called the Black Oak,” added Turner. “Right around beginning of November to mid-November it will actually turn gold.” 

During the hike, kids might be interested to learn about the rich history of Julian, which was a gold mining district during the gold rush of the 1800's and now is famous for its apple orchards and pies. 

Finally, there's the famous Torrey Pines Hiking Trails. Parking at this hot hiking spot can run you $15, but most say it is well worth it. The trail is not too steep and has breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean along the way. 

“This particular hike was so peaceful,” Said Rosemary Cesarone, who was hiking the trail Friday. “People are very respectful. You get to be in the woods and then this incredible look at the ocean.” 

This is also an educational experience for kids. The Torrey Pine tree is one of the rarest native pines in the U.S., and this is one of the only places in the world where it grows. 

What's your favorite local hiking trail? Let us know by commenting below or sending us a message through the NBC 7 Facebook page. 

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