A Hiker’s Heaven: Discover the Best Hiking Trails in San Marcos, California
With an extensive network of more than 63 miles of trails running around the community and adjacent foothills, San Marcos, California is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise. This city of less than 100,000 is located in the foothills of northern San Diego county just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and about 35 miles north of the city of San Diego. San Marcos residents enjoy the quiet, small-town feel of this suburban city and the ease of access to numerous outdoor recreation areas including the Jack’s Pond Nature Center and Lake San Marcos. Many of the hiking trails that meander through the surrounding hills offer scenic views of the city, coast, and surrounding areas of the North County. In this blog post, we’ll give an overview of hiking trails in the San Marcos area and list some of the best hiking trails for locals and visitors alike to explore.
12 of the Best Hiking Trails in San Marcos
San Marcos offers an extensive network of hiking trails of all lengths and difficulties. Whether you are looking to take a leisurely stroll or a rigorous hike, San Marcos trails offer many great hikes to choose from.
- Double Peak Trail
- Lake View Trail
- Copper Creek Trail
- Quarry Trail
- Lake San Marcos Trail
- Canyon Trail
- Garden Trail
- San Elijo Road Trail
- Ocean View Trail
- Discovery Trail
- Ridgeline Trail
- Sunset Trail
For those willing and able to complete this steep uphill climb, Double Peak Trail offers commanding 360 degree views.
The lake view trail is a relatively short hike of moderate difficulty, running near the northeast edge of the community of San Elijo Hills. This trail offers nice views of the South Lake area.
A gentle, unpaved-trail running along Copper Creek, this trail is ideal for observing local flora and fauna that call the riparian habitat home.
Running for a little less than a mile and parallel to the San DIego Gas and Electric service road in San Elijo Hills, the quarry trail is an easy hike.
A rugged trail that runs for almost a mile, Lake San Marcos trail offers great views of, you guessed it, Lake San Marcos.
A moderately easy trail which runs for just under one-half mile along Canyon Creek, Canyon Trail is a nice trail for observing wildlife and plants.
A gently sloping trail running for two-thirds of a mile, the Garden Trail is perfect for leisurely neighborhood strolls in San Elijo Hills.
Paralleling San Elijo Road for two miles, this trail features both hard and soft-surfaced paths.
A rigorous, soft-surfaced trail running for more than a mile, the Ocean View trail rewards hikers with commanding ocean views.
Discover trail offers a moderately challenging hike through the San Elijo Hills community and connects to other trails along the Cerro de las Posas / Double Peak Ridgeline.
This trail straddles the top of the Ridgeline of Cerro de Las Posas/Double Peak and offers scenic views to the north and south.
Just short of half a mile, this moderately difficult hike offers commanding views of the coast for those who complete the 60 foot vertical climb.