Black Mountain Hiking (CA)

Black Mountain Hiking (CA)

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  • Distance: ~4.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: ~700 ft
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, suitable for anyone of reasonable fitness
  • Dog Friendly? Yes.
  • Costs? Free. You can park at the Hilltop Community Park directly across from the trailhead.
  • Wildlife: We were gently pelted by a good number of flies and gnats on the way up. And we encountered a bundle of bees (if they were bunnies, they would have been a fluffle. Alas, they weren’t. They were definitely bees.)

Black Mountain is a fairly quick up and back with nice view, located just a short 20-minute jaunt from central San Diego. It’s one of the more coastal summits in the area, providing easy access for those who are short on time and are looking for a quick ‘up’ with a view.

The trailhead is located across from the Hilltop Community Park parking lot and begins with a quick but steady incline.  After this first short ascent it levels out for a bit and greets you with some pretty cacti.

cacti 16 14

Although rocky, the trail is well-maintained and well-used. If you’re looking for a hike that’s a bit less crowded than Cowles but also includes sweeping views of the city, give Black Mountain a shot.

There are other trails that branch off from the main Nighthawk trail, but as long as you stay to the left, you’ll be led directly to the summit. As an added bonus, near the top you get to pass by these interesting fellows.



The trail then wraps around to its peak where you are rewarded with a 360 view of the ocean and surrounding neighborhoods. What a view.


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