arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Springtime Hikes in San Diego

Encounter lush spring growth throughout the county

Hikers in spring are often astonished to encounter lush growths of grass carpeting the hillsides while new growth erupts in profusion in seemingly every corner.

By: Scott Turner, Co-author of the 5th Edition of Afoot and Afield in San Diego County

To most untrained or unaccustomed eyes, the San Diego landscape appears scrubby, lifeless, monotonous, and drab, especially during the arid summer months. However, the wide range of habitats and ecosystems within the county actually guarantees an extended spring growth period that can range from early February deep into June. This gives San Diego County a much longer "spring" period than most climates!

For visitors looking to enjoy the habitats of San Diego County at their loveliest and most verdant, below is compiled a brief description of each major ecosystem along with the peak times for spring vegetation. Briefly, if you wish to see outdoor San Diego at its finest, come during winter and spring. Hikers in winter and spring are often astonished to encounter lush growths of grass carpeting the otherwise drab hillsides while new growth erupts in profusion in seemingly every corner.

San Diego Coastal Hike

Coastal Hikes

Best Times: early February to May
Hikes: Torrey Pines State Reserve

Coastal open space preserves protect the wonderfully aromatic coastal sage-scrub habitats. The plant life here is call "summer deciduous," meaning that the vegetation sheds its leaves during the arid summer months. In winter and early spring, every plant here is alive with new growth, buzzing insects, and a bewildering array of wildflowers.

Seven Star Coastal Hikes

Some of the Most Beautiful landscapes in SoCal

SEE MORE >

Best Inland Hikes in San Diego County - Daley Ranch

Inland Foothill Hikes

Best Times: February through May
Hikes: Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, Mission Trails Regional Park

The chaparral belt that covers the inland foothills and lower elevations of the mountains features fewer blooming annuals. However, the brilliant blue of California lilac, a number of blooming vines and annuals in disturbed locations, and a progression of different blooms make the otherwise drab chaparral a surprisingly welcoming place to visit.

The Seven Best Inland Hikes

Panoramic views, oak woodlands, and valleys

SEE MORE >

Stonewall Peak - Seven Best Mountain Hikes in San Diego County

Mountain Hikes

Best Times: February through August.
Hikes: Palomar Mountain State Park

Mountain habitats experience the closest approximation of "traditional" seasons with fall color, winter snowfall, a spring thaw, and warm summers. Wildflowers in the mountain chaparral begin blooming in February, and the bloom can transition through a number of different species deep into summer. Some of the best species, including azaleas, dogwoods, and lilies are found along mountain watercourses, and they reach peak bloom in June.

Seven Best Mountain Hikes

Explore Surprising Mountain Landscapes

SEE MORE >

Volcan Mountain - Seven Best Mountain Hikes in San Diego County

Desert Hikes

Best Times: 1-2 Weeks after a Spring Rain
Hikes: Borrego Palm Canyon, Hellhole Canyon, Galleta Meadows

The famous desert wildflower bloom is the most unpredictable and shortest-lived of the spring periods. Sometimes, the wildflower bloom lasts a scant two weeks or so before the desert sun causes spring growth to wilt under unbearable heat. However, if your timing is right, few sites in the county are more spectacular than a peak desert wildflower bloom.

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Hikes

Brilliant colors stretching across the desert

SEE MORE >

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

Show Your Badge & Save at Embassy Suites San Diego

Embassy Suites Hotel San Diego Bay - Downtown
Valid: Jul 11, 2022 - ongoing

Present your convention attendee badge or digital ID to redeem a 20% discount on Food items ordered at our restaurant.   Offer availabe on parties of 1 - 10ppl.  Excludes Alcohol

Team Building

MRDRinSD - 10% Discount from Murder n' Mayhem

Murder n Mayhem
Valid: Jun 24, 2022 - ongoing

Use discount code: MRDRINSD for 10% off tickets for all Tours & Experiences with Murder n' Mayhem. Redeem online at murdernmayhem.com or via phone 619-781-8013 with Discount...

Accommodation

Park Free, Worry Free

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Valid: Dec 1, 2022 - ongoing

Enjoy a hassle-free visit to San Diego with parking and breakfast included at Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. Lock in savings and don't worry about the necessities. Park on-site for free while...

Events to check out

Event

Taste of Barrio Logan

Feb 4, 2023

Come and experience the culture of Barrio Logan on a food, sips and beer crawl with an amazing fun mixer after party event at La Davina Restaurant and Bar.

Event

Mermaid Half Marathon San Diego

Feb 25, 2023

Mermaid returns to San Diego's Mission Bay for a scenic women's 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon. Come out and experience the joy of crossing the finish line.

Event

San Diego Bird Festival

Feb 22 - Feb 26, 2023

The San Diego Audubon Society invites you to the San Diego Bird Festival, which celebrates the birds and habitats of San Diego county. We're celebrating the birds and habitats of our county, which...

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish