Springtime in Southern California offers the perfect weather to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. We’ve got you covered with the top trails and hiking experiences around Santee.

Santee Lakes Trail EASY

Located within the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, this paved trail takes you around seven different lakes.  More of a stroll than a hike, this 3.50-mile easy loop is perfect for those looking for something less strenuous. Benches and picnic tables along the route for resting. The Preserve charges a small parking fee and no pets are allowed.

Walker Preserve Trail – EASY

Walker Preserve Trail is a 5.80 mile, out and back with an easy 55 ft. elevation gain. During the spring, you’ll pass by a river where you’ll see lots of birds, native plants and flowers in bloom. It’s dog and kid-friendly.

Big Rock and Mesa Road Loop – MODERATE

This 2.50 mile, loop trail with a 551 ft elevation gain is moderately challenging.  While not as crowded as other trails in the area, it has some shady spots to stop and take a rest. Enjoy spotting tons of cool lizards and lots of blooming wildflowers this time of year.

Cowles Mountain via Big Rock Trail – MODERATE

Explore this 4.50 mile, out and back trail with an elevation gain of 1,024 ft. Generally considered a moderately challenging route. Hikers will be rewarded with views overlooking all of San Diego to the ocean.

North, South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak – HARD

For those looking for something a bit more challenging and longer, this 10.4-mile loop and 2,752 ft. elevation gain will leave you feeling accomplished! Head out early in the day to beat the heat, as there is minimal shade. Dogs on leash allowed.

For more information about the specific location and daily updates on any of these trails, check out the park websites before you head out. Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen with you. Enjoy the beautiful nature and fresh air!

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