Deserts, mountains, forests or beaches–choose any one of these as a preference for a day hike and you will be able to find it in the San Diego area. And, best of all, when it’s the last week in January and cold everywhere else in the country, the weather here is sunny and in the 70’s. Rainy days are a possibility this time of the year but we were fortunate to have nice weather during our visit.
The day that we drove here from Yuma, we took a slight detour off the interstate to go through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. In a previous visit to southern California we had been to the northern section of the park. The southern section is less populated and it was easy to find a place to take a short hike and bask in the desert sunshine.
Between Anza-Borrego and San Diego are the Laguna Mountains, which were a hiking destination for one of our days in San Diego. As we drove on the Sunrise Highway that leads into the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, our first stop was an overlook with a view east towards Anza-Borrego. It is also a point where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the highway.
In addition to a 15-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Recreation Area map showed many other options for interconnecting loop trails to explore.
We picked out a section with the intention of hiking 5 or 6 miles to a “lake” and then maybe doing a short section on the Pacific Crest Trail. But we had problems following the map and the 5 or 6 miles turned into a 9-mile loop. By the time we got back to the car we were too tired to do any more trails.
The day that we hiked at Los Penasquitos Canyon we found ourselves competing for the trails with the many mountain bikers, as everyone seemed to be out enjoying the warm weekend weather.
Our San Diego experience wouldn’t be complete without some time at the beaches. We enjoyed viewing the steep cliffs at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
For more of a hiking opportunity we spent an afternoon on the trails at Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Then there was a morning spent at San Diego’s famous Balboa Park, a foggy walk another morning at Cabrillo Point and some afternoon strolls along the beaches to watch the surfers and sunbathers. With so much to see, there were sights that we missed, but I’m sure there will be other winters that we will come here as an escape from the cold.