The western side of Mission Trails Regional Park contains an elaborate network of trails and utility roads that can be fashioned into any number of routes with varying amounts of elevation gain. You can explore low-lying valleys and river crossings or climb to hill tops to enjoy the views. This hike along the Rim Trail provides some great views of all 5 Mission Trail Peaks and the Suycott Valley below, as well as downtown San Diego in the west.
This hike could easily be done from the Clairemont Mesa Drive entrance, but we decided to start from the Colina Dorada trailhead since we’d never been there before. There were numerous intersections to navigate, some better marked than others. If you’re not real familiar with Mission Trails, it might be a good idea to bring a copy of the trail map along. We were joined by the fearless Khan.
We passed a couple of turn-offs that led towards the Quarry Loop Trail, but continued straight on the wide, gravel road. Pausing, we turned around to admire the view behind us in the cool, clear morning.
Roughly halfway up the hill, at .9 mile was another “Y” junction. This was the beginning of our loop. We noted the two blue cylinder things on the top of the hill to our left, as that would be the way we would return and they made an easily identifiable landmark. For now, we took the right fork.
The trail leveled out and we were finally on the “rim.” The recent storms had left some pretty big puddles along this section of trail, and apparently Khan was determined to walk straight through every single one of them.
Our tromp through the mud was rewarded with some beautiful views of North Fortuna.
We continued on, Khan splashing happily through every puddle he could find, and us enjoying the scenery. At 1.75 miles was a “Y” junction. There was no mention of the Rim Trail on any of the signs, but the left fork appeared to follow the ridge back to the west, so we turned left.
At 1.83 miles we came to another “Y” junction, We were a little uncertain as to which way we wanted to go and ended up checking out a bit of both trails before deciding that the left fork, along the Playa Catalina Trail, was one we wanted (although they actually connect eventually, so you could go right if you want a somewhat longer loop).
We followed the wide gravel road as it bent south, ignoring the many side trails that split off. Before long we could see the course of the power lines and the strange blue cylinders we had noted near the start of our hike, and knew we were on the right course.
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From I-15 take the Tierrasanta Blvd exit. Head east on Tierrasanta Blvd for approximately 2.9 miles (almost to the end of the road), then turn left onto Colina Dorada Dr. Follow Colina Dorada for approximately 1 mile to the trailhead at the intersection of Colina Dorada Drive and Calle De Vida. Park on the street. map
|Total Distance:||4.1 miles|
|Total Ascent:||568 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|