Although San Diego has an incredible variety of hikes that showcase the beautiful Southern California scenery, Mission Trails Regional Park is especially alluring.
Mission Trails Regional Park is the largest owned municipal park in California and the sixth largest municipally owned in the nation. Mission Trails Regional Park is located in San Diego’s East Country section and is one of my favorite hiking locations.
I have been going to Mission Trails for almost my entire life and the protected environmental area is absolutely beautiful. The Park boasts desert plants and large craggy rock structures, which are perfect for outdoor rock climbing. On trails, I have often passed groups of people adventuring on the large rocks. Because Mission Trails is such an expansive region in San Diego, visitors can get a lot out of their visit.
Mission Trails is broken up into different hiking paths that vary in degree of hiking difficulty and length. In my opinion, one of the easiest walks starts at the visitor center. Visitors can simply walk along a paved road that cuts right through the center of the Park. This mile and half walk leads individuals to the other parking accessible part of the Park and to a beautiful dam. The dam is a must-see for people who have not been to Mission Trails before. The gentle current softly carries water into a natural pool surrounded by swaying plants. Oftentimes teenagers and adults climb upon the brick structure of the tiny dam. It is always fun to actually stand on the dam because it feels like I am hovering above the water.
The dam is a short, but relaxing excursion from the visitor center. However, if visitors want a challenge then they can hike up Mount Fortuna. This mountain is a steep climb and I usually like to stop and rest along the way up. The one redeeming aspect of climbing up Mount Fortuna is the breathtaking view from the top. Visitors can see how vast Mission Trails Park is and all of East County San Diego.
I have only mentioned two of the many trails visitors can embark upon. At the park, I have the option to hike for 7 hours or just for half an hour, making it accessible to all kinds of people and preferences. A lot of visitors come to Mission Trails solely for the wildlife. I have been on one of the park’s bird watching tours, and bird lovers will not be disappointed by what Mission Trails has to offer.
Countless people (including San Diego residents) have not heard of Mission Trails Park before. I find this astounding because the Park does take up a significant portion of San Diego’s land. But because Mission Trails is somewhat of a hiking secret, I never have to worry about large crowds of people on the trails. Instead, I can serenely hike around the lush scenery enjoying nature a little more purely.