Known as a fitness lover’s paradise, San Diego attracts fit adventurers who like to log at least 10,000 steps a day. But the city also entices the party set with its lively bar scene, so why not combine the two? San Diego’s sheer number of hiking trails and bars means two equally respectable activities can collide. Conquer a few miles, then head to a bar for a liquid reward. Here’s a roundup of our favorite trails and the top bars to hit up post-hike.
San Diego Wildlife Refuge Sweetwater River Trail
Head east to where tourists rarely venture: the San Diego Wildlife Refuge. With 11,000 acres, this refuge offers trails for bicyclists and hikers that take you up the mountains for breathtaking views and over photo-worthy footbridges. Post-hike, walk across the street to Hooley’s Irish Pub and grab a couple of Irish Car Bombs for much-earned refreshments.
Balboa Park Upas and Sixth Gateway Trails
A lesser-known aspect of Balboa Park is its 65 miles of winding trails that curve through and around the park. And with 19 trails, you’ll be sure to work up a proper thirst. At the Upas and Sixth Avenue gateway, check out the easy 1.5-mile trail that meanders under the tree-lined walkway toward the north end of the West Mesa (marked by green #1 round trail markers). For a more strenuous slog, conquer the 6.6-mile trail (#5 diamond-shaped trail markers) that takes you through pine- and oak-covered parts not seen by most San Diegans. Then, amble back to the gateway, cross over to 5th Avenue and hit up Barrio Star, a Mexican cantina whose extra strong margaritas will make you forget that you exercised on vacation.
Bird Rock Bike Path
A locals’ secret (shhhhh) the Bird Rock Bike Path is for both bikers and hikers. Start at the Fire Station on Nautilus Street, then head down Camino de La Costa. When you’re tired of the beauty and privacy of this trail, make your way to Beaumont’s on La Jolla Blvd for a boozy brunch of Chicken & Waffles Benedict accompanied by a Diablo Michelada—a Pacifico on ice with Tabasco, lime juice and a salt rim. You deserve it, whether or not you hiked the entire 3.9-mile path.
South Coast Highway 101 South between Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Encinitas
Though not technically a hiking trail, plenty of folks hike the several stunning miles along South Coast Highway 101 between Solana Beach and Encinitas. The unobscured views of the glittering Pacific make you forget you’re exercising. (The drinks after will make you forget, too.) Take the path north and try the wicked mixology at Union Kitchen & Tap, a North County hotspot that attracts laid-back surfers and yogi moms alike.