3 Family-Friendly Hikes in La Jolla: Get Outdoors!

It can be tough to find time for exercise and enjoying the beautiful weather San Diego offers year round. Luckily, there are a few beautiful, easy trails in La Jolla that are perfect for taking the whole family out to; none of these are longer than a mile total, and all boast incredibly scenic views and great spots to bring a picnic lunch. The trails are easy enough for kids. Check out our top three spots for family-friendly hikes in La Jolla.

1. La Jolla Heights (Open Space Preserve)

hikes in la jolla

One of La Jolla’s best-kept secrets is a small 42-acre open space preserve called La Jolla Heights. The area boasts a variety of wildlife, such as grey fox, bobcat, brush rabbit, and more, and is an easy, flat 1-mile hike that displays expansive views of the coast. Encelia Drive on Mt. Soledad ends at the summit of the La Jolla Open Space Preserve; the trail begins to the left of the easement. A small succulent garden surrounds the summit where the trail begins.

hikes in la jollaA little ways down the path, you’ll find a sitting bench that provides a 180-degree view of the La Jolla area and beautiful Pacific Ocean. Select a clear day for this hike to take advantage of the great views! Get there: Turn left on Exchange Place, then right onto Country Club Dr. Take a left on Romero Dr. and another left on Brodiaea Way. Walk up Encelia Dr. for the trailhead. Distance: 1 mile out and back.

SEE ALSO: Where to See the Best Christmas Lights in San Diego

2. Scripps Coastal Reserve

hikes in la jollaThis little gem is a bit off the beaten path, and though it isn’t much of a “hike,” the views are incredible and it’s much less crowded than other trails in La Jolla. The hike itself isn’t long (about a 15-30 min walk) and the trail consists of a small loop with a stop in the middle at the cliff, where you can pause for great photos and a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.The gate entrance isn’t difficult to find, and if you drive by it you won’t miss it. There is no designated parking lot, but you’ll find plenty of residential street parking. Just past the Reserve’s entrance gate there’s a simple trailhead with some signs, displays, and brochures. Take a picnic and spend an hour or two enjoying the view! Get there: The entrance to the trail is located at 9400 La Jolla Farms Road, between Whitecliff Dr. & Blackgold Rd. in La Jolla Shores. Distance: ~.5 mile/1 mile round trip.

3. UCSD’s Secret Tree Swing

***UPDATE 9/19/2016: We’ve received reports that unfortunately the tree swings have been torn down.

hikes in la jollaExplore a bit of UCSD’s campus and discover a hidden tree swing along the way! Start off at Scripps Crossing, the footbridge that crosses La Jolla Shores Way at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and snap a few photos – the sunsets from this bridge are particularly spectacular. Crossing this will get you from the Scripps Institute to the Birch Aquarium. At the top of the hill across from the Aquarium, you’ll see a trailhead that leads into a grove of eucalyptus trees. Once you’re on the trail, you’ll come across a secret tree swing on the bluff overlooking the aquarium, the pier, and the Pacific Ocean. This is a great spot to bring the kids and a picnic lunch and enjoy a peaceful setting with beautiful views. Distance: ~ 1 mile round trip.

[images: sandiegoreader.com, yelp.com, structurae.net]

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