6 of the Best Mountain Biking Trails in San Diego


The San Diego hills are packed with sweet single-track mountain bike trails slicing through our county. There are nearly countless options, with all different types of terrain. For those willing to get off the couch (you should), magic awaits.

Also, no matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate, or expert rider—there’s something for everyone.

The following are a few San Diego mountain biking trail options for you to beat the crowds and find environments you didn’t know existed. Be sure to click the links for maps before you get out and explore.

Grab a trail map from the links below and get outside San Diego—you’ll be happy you did!

Balboa Park | Easy

This 4.5 mile loop requires some effort but comes with great views. There’s plenty of ‘out’ options—ways to explore alternate areas of the park. This place is a perfect start for those looking to get comfortable off-road.

With multiple harder paths to keep advanced riders interested, you can go in a group, and everyone will have fun!

Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail | Moderate

This 7.4-mile, well-packed trail near Escondido features plentiful wildflowers and killer lake views. Found just off the 15, you can ride over the crest to the coast or loop to the overlook and back.

Suitable for intermediate riders, this location is a lot of fun without being a leg-killer.

Mission Trails Climbers Loop | Difficult

Beginners, beware—this one’s not for you! More experienced riders will find tight cut-backs, sick step-downs, and big rocks. Your rear will never have a chance to touch the seat.

There are tons of gorgeous views, but they’re likely to be a blur as you blast through this challenging path. The trailhead is off Mission Gorge Rd.

Fortuna Mountain Trail | Difficult

This advanced trail is 6.5 miles long and located near La Mesa. If you’ve got the skills, your efforts will be rewarded with amazing hilltop views as well as a sweet waterfall.

Bring your A-game to conquer the loose rocks and steep cut-backs, sure to set your adrenaline meter on high.

Cowles Mountain | Moderate

These interconnecting trails just off Mission Gorge Rd are a great spot to get your blood pumping. Be prepared for loose rocks and roots to up the thrill factor. This ride is ideal for intermediate adults and advanced kids.

Options include a quick 2-mile loop or taking various trail combinations and riding for hours!

Rose Canyon Trail | Easy

At nearly 9 miles long, this one’s great for a reasonably-fit family. There are some challenging off-shoots for more advanced riders and lovely scenery with wildlife galore.

With trailheads at Genessee and Bothe Avenues, this is an easy-access location. That way, you’ll spend most of your time on the trail, not in your car.

Check out this downhill clip from a couple of locals!

Get pumped and get out there!

And if you are into outdoor adventures, be sure to check out our guides to the best hikes in San Diego and the best ski resorts near San Diego.

See you there, San Diego!

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