Enjoying Your Time On San Diego Hiking Trails
If you live in the San Diego area or if you’re just visiting from out of town, one of the best things you can do to pass the time and take in the local scenery is venture onto one of the many hiking trails. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you (and anyone you’re with) enjoy the experience more.
Do Your Research
Prior to any major outing, you need to be doing enough research about the entire trip, and not just the basics about the trail. Something that often gets overlooked but can prove to be a huge hassle is any parking situation. Even though many of the hiking trails around San Diego are visitor friendly, you don’t want to find yourself driving to the base of any distant trail only to realize that the parking is located in another area. Even worse, some of these locations require the slightest bit of off-roading on dirt trails, which is going to prove to be very difficult for some vehicles. Additionally, make sure that you’re examining how any altitude changes impact weather. The base of a trail can present very different challenges compared to spots near the peak, and you don’t want to find yourself lacking the right gear or enough water.
Choose An Appropriate Difficulty Level
If you’ve done any hiking in the past, then you know that every trail is going to present a unique level of difficulty. However, depending on your experience, you want to make sure that you’re choosing a trail that won’t prove to be too difficult or dangerous for you or the people you’re with. For example, if you’re a parent with younger children and want to bring them on an adventure, a trail like Cedar Creek Falls (which ends with a waterfall) isn’t ideal since there are a lot of altitude and terrain shifts. You might spend too much time worrying about their safety (and health) rather than actually enjoying the experience yourself. Families with younger children are better suited for trails that have a bit of length but don’t involve too many drop offs or risky areas. This will provide a better time for you and your kids.
Make Sure You Prepare Accordingly
After researching and making sure that the trail you’re going to take is an appropriate difficulty level, it’s time to start packing things for the hike. For some trails that are lower difficulty or don’t have a lot of altitude changes, you might only need a backpack with some snacks and water. Shorter hikes that don’t take you too far off the beaten path also don’t require as much preparation, since you’ll always be able to turn back the way you came. Not only that, but odds are you won’t be the only people hiking, so in case of emergency you’ll be able to find someone to help.
For longer or more arduous treks, you’ll want to have a higher level of preparedness. Firstly, the type of terrain you’re on will dictate the type of clothing and gear you’ll need. Flatter, dirt trails usually won’t require any special footwear beyond sneakers. However, trails that involve any vertical climbing or steep downhill paths are better suited for some type of hiking footwear. Also, you can rarely have enough water. Southern California has great weather year-round, but the hiking trails can truly bring the heat. Hydration is one of hte most important aspects of any hiking trip, so plan accordingly.