Heavenly hiking in San Diego

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Heavenly hiking in San Diego

Mallory Graber

Mission Trails Regional Park is just a 20 minute drive from campus.

Mallory Graber, Staff Writer

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In a place like San Diego, a gym membership is unnecessary when it comes to getting a good work out. Instead of stepping on a machine and staring at a stranger’s sweaty backside for an hour, mix things up and go explore the beautiful world. Replace the repetitive Stairmaster with an uphill trail surrounded by flowers and wild life.

There is nothing wrong with going to the gym, exercising in any way is beneficial to the heart, immune system, metabolism and energy levels. Going on a hike, climbing a mountain or just taking a walk in the sunshine is a fresher way to release endorphins. A mental and physical break from the hectic chaos of life can work wonders for the body and soul.

Lucky for San Diegans, this city and the terrain surrounding has an extremely wide variety of hiking scenery. There are trails right along the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and others more inland and less traveled.

One of the most popular hikes in San Diego is the Torrey Pines trails, located in La Jolla. Torrey Pines is a brisk, refreshing hike that isn’t too challenging. It is more of a pleasant exploration than a work out. Of course, if someone chooses to jog or run instead of walk then there is no doubt that they would feel it in their calves the next day. The trails are full of rolling hills and drop-off jagged rocks with a gorgeous view of the ocean.

Another top hiking spot is Potato Chip Rock. Although more famous for its’ nickname, this hike is actually called Mount Woodson Trail. It is definitely more challenging, and it would be a wonderful idea to bring plenty of water. The scenery is worth every drop of sweat. Beginning the hike is a clear view of Lake Poway, and after a while Lake Poway disappears from sight and is replaced with a vast view of the foothills, all beneath a never-ending sky. The reward at the top is a priceless picture on a rock that resembles a potato chip. This hike is about 40 minutes away from San Diego, but it is an invigorating way to spend a day off.

Not as well known is a place called Mission Trails Park, which consists of 5,800 acres of habitat in the city of San Diego. This park has a flat trail for running, walking and biking. Along the paved path is the beginning of hiking trails that advance off the road and onto smaller, dirt paths that lead up the mountain. Mission Trails is a place easily accessible and free for anyone who chooses to adventure there. The Mission Trails Visitor Center is a cool place to check out as well because it is loaded with the trail’s history and information about the animals and plants that can be found there. Mission Trails Regional Park is home to Cowles Mountain, a trail that provides an extremely extensive view of San Diego from the top.

For hikes that are less intense and a bit more relaxing, try out Lake Miramar Trail, Balboa Park Trail, and Grasslands Loop. Also, just because explorers reach the top of a hike doesn’t mean that they have to rush back down. Bring a blanket, some music, a book, or a picnic and soak up the scarce peacefulness and the fresh coastal air. For those who don’t have time to explore trails around San Diego, the most convenient work out for Mesa Students is simply known as the stairs of death, located next to the Student Services Building.