Top 5 Best Mountain Runs

What is the Best San Diego Mountain Run?

It is a little known fact that one hour East of San Diego are the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains.  Both of these recreation areas boast 100’s of miles of trails, mountain peaks to ascend and hidden waterfalls to explore.

5th Best San Diego Mountain Run

Green Valley Falls.  There are so many ways to access this campground without actually paying the $10 parking fee.  There are miles of trails that you can use to access the campground and the falls and will depend on how far you want to hike or run.  I recommend starting at the Sweetwater turnout on Highway 79 which you will find about 1 mile North and East of the Campground entrance.  Cross Highway 79 and take the West Side Trail South to the Campground.  Follow the signs for the Falls.  For some serious mileage take the South Boundry Fire Road to the Blue Ribbon Trail or the Sweetwater Trail South to the Merigan Fire Road.  You can create loops using these trails that will give you up to 13 miles.

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The Falls can flow in the rain season but will be a trickle in drought years or the end of summer.

4th Best San Diego Mountain Run

Eagle Rock.  Park on Highway 79 near the Cal Fire Warner Springs Fire Station.  Take the Pacific Crest Trail Southeast to Eagle Rock.  Not only do you get to run on the famous Pacific Crest Trail but the amazing photo opportunity at Eagle Rock will not disappoint!

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3rd Best San Diego Mountain Run

Cedar Creek Falls.  If you have not visited Cedar Creek Falls after a heavy rain season then you have not visited Cedar Creek Falls at all.  This trip requires a permit to access the falls ($10 for the day) and is well worth it.  It is 6 miles round trip with the way out being uphill all the way and strenuous.  You can easily add mileage to your run by taking the Forest Route 13S06 North once you are at the bottom before you make the final approach to the falls.  This road will eventually take you to another waterfall called 3 Sisters.  Be careful it is a long way to connect both falls.  If you decide to do it be prepared.

2nd Best San Diego Mountain Run

Mexican Border to Lake Morena on the Pacific Crest Trail.  This is a 20 miles one way trip and can be strenuous at times but is so well worth it.  Many hopefuls start at the border every year with dreams of hiking the World Famous PCT from Mexico to Canada.  All you have to do is the first 20 miles.  I do not recommend you do this in the summer.  It is best done in the late fall, winter or early spring.  Think it through ahead of time and rent a cabin at Lake Morena to celebrate.  If you want more mileage just keep going on the PCT until you wear out!

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#1 Best San Diego Mountain Run

Mount Laguna to the Pacific Crest Trail Returning Via Noble Canyon and Big Laguna Meadow.

There are many ways to lengthen or shorten this run but one thing is for certain.  This route will take you through dense pines, lush meadows and incredible mountain cliffs.  You will be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking desert views in your lifetime as you run or hike along the Pacific Crest Trail near Penny Pines. This can be a 18 mile loop so be prepared!

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