Tag Archives: hiking

Hiking Battle Mountain off the San Diego Beaten Path

During a visit to San Diego I stayed in Rancho Bernardo on the north end of town and looked for ways to spend some time outdoors, while also venturing off the beaten path.

The Battle Mountain hike I went on checked off both those boxes. You’ll find Battle Mountain just off I-15 with its entrance oddly enough between two houses in a highly residential area. I initially discovered and captured this hill on another walk.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

I wound up doing this climb just after dawn on an overcast morning.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

The short 15-20 minute hike was peaceful. It was a little steep and rocky at times but all-in-all not too bad. I noticed a lot of erosion along the way. My legs definitely got a workout. The climb is roughly 800 feet.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

Once at the top, you will see up-close the 20 foot white cross that has stood since 1966. Battle Mountain got its name from a battle that was held nearby in San Pasqual Valley in the 1800’s. This spot was originally called Mule Hill as soldiers from those battles had to kill mules in order to have food to eat.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

Expansive panoramic views awaited me at the top. I saw all the residential housing of northern San Diego County, along with Starvation and Iron Mountains, Lake Hodges and more.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego California hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

Lake Hodges, San Diego, California

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

The hike, well almost run, down the hill took only a matter of minutes. It was a great morning in the Rancho Bernardo part of San Diego walking/hiking up Battle Mountain and taking in the views. For anyone looking for a quick hike and something off the radar in northern San Diego County, this is your spot.

Tip: For a longer hiking adventure I highly recommend the San Dieguito River Park Trail, in which there is an entrance literally right across the street from Battle Mountain.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

What other off the radar outdoor spots would you recommend checking out in San Diego?

Out on the Open San Dieguito River Park Trail

Amongst the hustle and bustle of Southern California, near San Diego, sits the 92,000-acre open San Dieguito River Park. The park and all its natural space stretches from the Pacific coastline in Del Mar to Volcan Mountain some 50+ miles inland. You will find over 65 miles of trails of all shapes and sizes to enjoy the outdoors and some hiking adventure.

I spent separate mornings early this year checking out two trails in the northern part of San Diego in Rancho Bernardo. Both sat amongst suburbia, yet gave off the feeling of being in a deserted land far, far away.

The 2.1 Highland Valley Trail sits along the south side of the San Dieguito River Valley.

I entered the trail along Highland Valley Road and immediately could see the vast valley views looking north. The single path took me through and around small hills with times in the woods, passing by countless rock formations. It was a good early morning hike.

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

The Bernardo Bay Trails sit opposite I-15 along W. Bernardo Dr. Leaving the Natural Area parking area, I walked amongst coastal sage scrub on the 2.1 miles of hillside trails.

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

After a little bit out on the open dirt paths, Lake Hodges and Bernardo Bay was front-and-center. I didn’t happen to see any, but it is a good spot to check various species of birds. I did set up shop on a big rock to soak in the picturesque views in front of me.

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park - San Diego, California

Additional Information:
– There are no facilities on either trail.
– Both are bike friendly.
– In general you can’t venture off any of the trails in the park to help preserve all its nature, nor enter onto them at night.

For more visit the San Dieguito River Park website.

What are some other trails you would recommend checking out within the San Dieguito River Park and/or in Southern California?

Out on the Open Kea Point Trail in New Zealand.

Kea Point trail is an hour trek through the countryside from Mount Cook Village on the South Island of New Zealand. It ends at a platform from which you can get great views of Mount Cook (Aoraki), the tallest mountain in the country, and several other mountain peaks.

I wrote about it and my times at Mount Cook Village in a previous post: A Few Hours in Mount Cook Village. Below are some additional photos from my time on the trail, along with some blown up shots from my original post. The hike provided some of the best scenery I’ve seen in New Zealand.

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

What other walking paths and hiking trails would you recommend checking out in New Zealand?

Ten Ideas for taking San Francisco By Foot.

San Francisco is known as one of the more walkable cities in the US. Where ever your shoes take you there is bound to be natural beauty in all directions. Having spent a lot of time walking in The City by the Bay over the years, below are ten ideas for taking San Francisco by foot.

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge. Gravitate to where ten million other walkers, runners, tourists and cyclists go every year and head out onto the open International Orange painted bridge. Foggy or sunny, dawn or dusk, the half-plus mile journey one-way will be a bucket list type experience. If you are there on a sunny day, breathtaking San Francisco skyline and bay views await.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Just beyond the Golden Gate, walk Marin Headlands.. I know technically it’s not San Francisco, but the views of the city and beyond make this a journey worth taking up in the hills. Walk from vista point to vista point. On the nearby trail within the headlands, head out onto the open, steep path towards the still active lighthouse, where the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean come together. Wild landscape awaits.

Marin Headlands, Sausalito, California

Walk an off-the-beaten path neighborhood. Tourists flock to Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown, but places like Inner Sunset continue to be off the radar for non-locals. While roaming head into places like the 22nd & Irving produce and vegetable market. You’ll get a feel for what real life is like in the city and off the tourist track.

Walk up-and-down the Tiled Steps. Continuing on in the Inner Sunset neighborhood and visit the hidden gem, The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project. Walk up and down the 163-step staircase, where each step is mosaic masterpiece created by locals. Grand View Park sits up-top and views of the Sunset District and straight out to the Pacific are in view as you head down. If you’re a runner it’s a great place to test your endurance, as many people will probably go flying up-and-down the stairs as you’re visiting.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco

Walk through and around the Ferry Building. Head to the plaza in the back to check out the bay, watch ferries come-and-go and if you like to people watch. Locals use the ferries to get to-and-from work at rush hour times. Inside shop the marketplace. After walking for a while dine at the numerous cafes and restaurants. Recommended stops are Blue Bottle, Pepples Donuts and Far West Fungi. Three days a week your feet can take you through a local farmers market.

Walk up to the top of Telegraph Hill via the Filbert and Greenwich Steps. Checkout the homes, gardens and greenery as you’re moving along. Once up-top head to the top of Coit Tower to get panoramic, 360 degree views of the city. Rest up and hang out on the grass just behind the tower.

Walk/hike the California Coastal Trail.. Looking for a longer, half-day adventure? Start out anywhere along Ocean Beach with the Pacific Ocean in full view. Walk/hike the 8+ mile trails passing by Point Lobos, Baker Beach and countless park benches and vista points. Lots of stairs, landmarks, hidden gems and the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of your journey awaits. Lands End is a recommended spot to relax and soak in all the views.

Lands End, San Francisco, California, Golden Gate Bridge

Walk Lombard Street, don’t drive down the famous curved road. As you’re heading down or climbing up the famous red bricked road, closely check out the colorful Victoria mansions that line the street. Also capture the beautiful flowers all around and the skyline opportunities that await around the middle. As with most things on this list and in travel, you gain a greater appreciation and see a place more in-depth on foot then you could ever do so in the car.

Lombard Street, San Francisco skyline, California

Walk the Hayes Valley neighborhood with a coffee in hand.. Of course I’m going to work coffee into the list. 🙂 Within Hayes Valley, grab a shot of espresso at the outside Blue Bottle Kiosk and/or a pour over at the Ritual Coffee shipping container and walk the boutique style, tree-lined neighborhood streets. You’re bound to get lost in the moment, getting the feeling of being in a completely different town.

Walk into The Buena Vista. After all that walking outside, walk into the home of the original Irish coffee to unwind. Make sure to grab a seat at the bar so you can see the magic happen. Watch the white-coated bartender’s line up glasses on the bar and make what it seems like dozens of Irish coffees at once. There is latte art, and then there is the art of an Irish coffee!

What other places and neighborhoods in San Francisco would you recommend checking out on foot?