April 2021




Potato Chip Rock The whole hike up Mount Woodson is not my first choice for geing away and being in secluded nature. A big part of the reason why? The rock. True, it really does look like a thin potato chip juing o the mountain, and does lead to some funny Instagram pictures. The only problem is that it’s so popular, you can expect to wait in line for an hour to snap your shot—same as the average wait time for popular Disneyland rides before 2020! switchbacks on the trail that starts from Golfcrest Drive and you’ll experience this hike at its most crowded. The close quarters make it unavoidable to listen in on everyone else’s conversations—or the music playing from their speakers. Cowles Mountain Switchbacks Head up the series of Route 56 Bike Path This path along state Route 56 is great for commuting by bike, but if you’re looking for a quiet place to get away, it’s not exactly peaceful. The path runs right along the highway, so you’re listening to traic noise and breathing in exhaust fumes the entire way. Take it if you need it, but don’t go just to run or bike on it. Every trail in San Diego has its value, so if you love these, please don’t let me stop you from using them as a way to get outside and get moving. But these hikes have become so popular and overcrowded, or are situated in such a densely urban spot, that it almost feels like doing them is just not worth the trip.

For a less-popular option that’s still mostly flat, paved, and kid friendly, you can try Father Junipero Serra Trail in Mission Trails Regional Park. It can still have crowds, but not as bad as Lake Murray, and once you get past the entrance, it thins out. The trail starts by the Mission Trails Visitor Center on Mission Gorge Road, but if you go on the weekend, it’s better to park a little farther away on one of the side streets or the dirt parking lot on Mission Gorge Road. Follow the paved path through rolling hills, or take detours that lead you to climb up above (Kwaay Paay Peak or Climbers Loop for the adventurous, or the easier Visitors Center Loop for beginners). The payoff is the Old Mission Dam at the Father Junipero Serra Trail

so you ’ ve hiked :

Lake Murray This easy running path hugs the shore of an oasis in East County, which makes it aractive to a lot of people—it can be packed with strollers, dogs, bikes, and runners, especially on the weekends. The flat path starts at Lake Murray Park on Kiowa Drive in La Mesa and is six miles out and back. You can’t run around the entire lake, so when you make it to the chain- link fence, there’s nothing to

do but turn back (but not before tapping the bull’s- eye). lake-murray.org/trails

end of the paved path: The National Historic Landmark, built around 1803, is the country’s oldest dam west of the Mississippi, and you can hop along the rocks and look for fish. The path is six miles out and back, with more hills than Lake Murray, but still a moderate trek and good for running, strollers, and walking dogs. You can go any time of year, but it gets hot midday in the summer. mtrp.org


APR I L 2021

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