When you think of hiking, you may think about packing heavy boots and climbing gear. However, in San Diego, hiking might require nothing more than your swimsuit and a beach chair. When most San Diegans want to hike but also relax at the beach, they take one of the many beach trails down to their favorite surf spots.

At Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, you can take a variety of trails around the cliffsides and take in the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean as well as a variety of plant life and other nature. The trails range in intensity so that beach-goers with small children as well as adventurous would-be mountaineers can find the perfect path. All trails lead down to Torrey Pines State Beach, a secluded beach popular among local families due to the milder surf and space for beach picnics.

Ho Chi Minh Trail, named for a since-removed stenciled imprint of the Vietnamese revolutionary on a low wall leading to the trail, is a local secret. The trail entrance, near the Glider Port in La Jolla, is well-hidden from the road, leading mostly only locals down to the small secluded beach not far from popular La Jolla Shores. Tread carefully, as this trail is very steep, and requires you to navigate a narrow wooden plank bridge and negotiate across the face of a cliffside. Not for the faint of heart, but I have personally witnessed a surfer, board balanced on his head and barefoot, do it!

So the next time you’re headed to the beach, why not get some exercise in as well and do a beach hike!

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