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10 Dog-Friendly Trails in San Diego You Can Visit in 2024

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

A grey dog being walked down a dirt path on leash in California

10 Dog-Friendly Trails in San Diego You Can Visit in 2024

If you love staying active, few cities can beat San Diego, California, when it comes to opportunities for outdoor adventures. San Diego is an excellent place for hikers of all skill levels with various landscapes to explore and beautiful weather year-round. Dog lovers will be happy to learn that many trails in and around San Diego also welcome their canine friends. Here are 10 dog-friendly trails in San Diego that you can explore in 2024.

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The 10 Dog-Friendly Trails in San Diego

1. Mission Trails Regional Park

️ Address: 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119
Open Times: 24 hours
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • 8,000-acre park with over 60 miles of trails for different skill levels
  • Can get crowded on weekends
  • Parking and restrooms are available
  • Minimal shade on most trails
  • Limited water is available, so bring your own

2. Piedras Pintadas Trailhead

️ Address: 19140 W. Bernardo Dr, San Diego, CA 92128
Open Times: 6 AM–6 PM
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • An easy hike around a lake with plenty of parking
  • A good option for hiking with kids
  • Also a popular mountain biking trail, so stay alert
  • Bring your own water and waste bags
  • Portable restrooms only

3. Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

️ Address: 8833 Harmony Grove Rd, Escondido, CA 92029
Open Times: 8 AM – 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • A popular park with 11 miles of trails located just north of San Diego
  • Dogs must be on a leash 6 feet or shorter
  • Horses and bikes also use the trails
  • Limited parking that fills up quickly on weekends
  • Beautiful views from many trails

4. Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

️ Address: 16275 Espola Rd, Poway, CA 92064
Open Times: Sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Well-maintained park and trails located northeast of San Diego
  • The canyon location provides decent shade
  • Limited parking on location, but neighborhood parking options are nearby
  • Portable restrooms only
  • Dogs not allowed on Creekside Trail

5. Tecolote Canyon Natural Park

️ Address: 5180 Tecolote Rd, San Diego, CA 92110
Open Times: Trail hours not posted, visitor center open 9 AM – 4 PM Tuesday—Saturday, 9 AM—2 PM on Sunday, closed Mondays
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Easily accessible park with 6.5 miles of trails
  • Can be muddy with creek crossings after rain
  • Some shade, but it can get hot
  • Watch out for rattlesnakes
  • Not the most scenic trail

6. San Dieguito Lagoon

️ Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Open Times: Dawn to dusk
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Beautiful, easy hike with excellent birdwatching
  • Near dog-friendly North Beach in Del Mar
  • Parking is available at the trailhead or in nearby neighborhoods
  • Part of the Coast-to-Crest trail in San Diego County
  • Bring water and waste bags

7. Iron Mountain Trail

️ Address: 14847-14909 CA-67, Poway, CA 92064
Open Times: 24 hours
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Popular, moderately challenging hike north of San Diego
  • Amazing views from the top, especially on clear days
  • Over 1,000 feet of elevation change on this trail
  • Minimal shade—be aware of the weather
  • Bring water and waste bags

8. Sunset Trail

️ Address: Sunrise Hwy, Mt. Laguna, CA 91948
Open Times:  Dawn to dusk
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No

9. Los Penasquitos Canyon

️ Address: 12020 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92129
Open Times: Dawn to dusk—West Trailhead, 8 AM to sunset—East Trailhead
Cost: Free at West Trailhead, $3/day at East Trailhead
Off-Leash: No
  • Mostly flat loop hike that follows a creek
  • The trail closes after rain due to regular flooding
  • Bring water and waste bags
  • Watch for mountain bikers and horses

10. Daley Ranch

️ Address: 3024 La Honda Drive, Escondido, CA 92027
Open Times: Dawn to dusk
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Conservation space near San Diego featuring 25 miles of trails
  • Watch for mountain bikers and horses
  • Some waste bags are available, but bring your own to be safe
  • Pack your own water
  • The paved trails may get hot enough to burn your dog’s paws

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These 10 dog-friendly trails in and around San Diego offer a variety of terrain sure to excite dogs and their humans. Remember to always pick up after your dog and follow leash laws carefully. Open space wilderness around San Diego is home to hazards such as rattlesnakes, coyotes, and mountain lions that could pose a threat to roaming dogs. Planning and preparation are essential to help you enjoy a fun day of hiking with your pups in San Diego.

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Featured Image Credit: Leashbond, Shutterstock

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