Local Hiking

Top 8 San Diego Hiking Groups

Hiking in San Diego can take you along the coast line, across the arid desert, up rocky mountains, past blue lakes, up close and personal with small waterfalls, and onto a potato chip. With hundreds of miles to hike in San Diego, that also means there is a large hiking interest. From Del Mar down to Chula Vista, there are many hiking groups available for everyone to join. Here is a list of the top 8 San Diego Hiking Groups based on size.

These hiking groups range from general hikers to more specific groups for various age ranges, singles, and much more!

  • San Diego Day Hikers – 19,548 members
  • Take a Hike! – 9,801 members
  • Hiking in San Diego – 7,231 members
  • Hike with San Diego Sierra Club – 6,868 members
  • Hiking for Fun in San Diego – 4,611 members
  • San Diego Hikers Association – 4,523 members
  • Casual Hikers of SD 20’s and 30’s – 3,751 members
  • North County Hikers – 3,597 members

San Diego Day Hikers

Cost to Join:Free
Location:San Diego
Link: https://www.meetup.com/sandiegodayhikers
Description: This group has over 19,000 members with consistent events for nearly 30 years. They have hiking events at least once a month and as of 2021 they host weekday hikes.The hiking events have helpful descriptions of the hike with the trail distance and trail difficulty. It is very organized and active.

Take a Hike

Cost to Join: Free
Location:El Cajon, CA
Link:  https://www.meetup.com/takeahikesd/
Description: Take a Hike focuses on meeting other hiking enthusiasts. They practice leave no trace and their hikes are intermediate and higher. This is is a great group to join for more challenging hikes. They require a photo of you before joining and attending the events. This group has had over 6,000 events in the past. Great group to join for events in the east part of San Diego.

Hiking in San Diego

Cost to Join: Free
Location: San Diego, CA
Link: https://www.meetup.com/Outdoor-life/
Description: Hiking in San Diego is for those looking to meet other hikers for ongoing hikes. This is also a great group if you are not familiar with San Diego and want others to explore with. There is no skill level or experience required. The hiking events list the trail distance and hiking difficulty so you can easily pick a hike based on your current experience. The hikes range from beginner level to more strenuous hikes.

Hike with San Diego Sierra Club

Cost to Join: Free
Location: San Diego, CA
Link: https://www.meetup.com/Hike-with-San-Diego-Sierra-Club/
Hike with San Diego Sierra Club is a great group to join if you are looking to explore areas in and outside of San Diego. Each event is lead by experienced volunteer. All San Diego hikes are free to members, but the out of town events vary by price due to transportation and lodging costs. They have had 200 events in the past and are a very organized group.

Hiking for Fun in San Diego

Cost to Join: Free
Location:San Diego, CA
Description: Hiking for Fun in San Diego markets itself as summer camp for adults. This group has a lot of non-hiking social events and out of town trips. They have had over 400 events in the past. Their trips have ranged from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park. This is a good group to check out to figure out out of town hiking trips.

San Diego Hikers Association

Cost to Join: Free
Location: San Diego, CA
Link: https://www.meetup.com/San-Diego-Hikers-Association/
Description:This group focuses on local San Diego hikes. They also have potluck picnic bonfires at Mission Bay to help create new friendships. They have had over 375+ events in the past with recurring hikes at Mission Bay and Marian Bear Park.

Casual Hikers of SD 20’s and 30’s

Cost to Join: Free
Location:San Diego, CA
Link: https://www.meetup.com/casualhikerssd/
Description: This group focuses on hikers that want to hike at a slower pace and meet other like-minded individuals between the ages of 20 to 30. The vibes of this group are more relaxed and to take in the views of the hike. This group has had over 160 events in the past consisting mostly of local San Diego hikes.

North County Hikers

Cost to Join: Free
Location:North County, CA
Link: https://www.meetup.com/northcountyhikers/
Description: With San Diego being such a large city, this group focuses on exploring the outdoors with those in Northern San Diego County. While most of their hikes are in north county, they do explore other areas as well. This is a consistent group with over 2,587 events in the past.

Why should you join a San Diego hiking group?

Joining a hiking group in San Diego is a great idea for many reasons. First you get to meet other hiking enthusiasts to enjoy a hike with. The next reason is that you will be able to find out other hikes and other hiking areas from others.

Another great reason to join a San Diego hiking group is to help you narrow down hikes to pick from. By joining a group you can just attend their organized events where they already pick the hike for you. San Diego has an overwhelming amount of hikes, so hiking groups are a great place to narrow down the choices.

3 things to consider when joining a hiking group

If you haven’t joined a hiking group before there are five things you should consider:


San Diego is a very large city and hikes can be more than 45 minutes away from you. You should consider the location of the meetups so that you can regularly attend their hikes. There are hiking groups located in North San Diego, Central San Diego, East San Diego, and down south in Chula Vista.

Skill and experience

You should strongly consider the skill and experience of the group before you join their hikes. Luckily most groups list the hiking difficulty so you can figure out the requirements. Some people want to hike at a more relaxed and slow pace and others want to be much more intense and fast. There are many groups to pick from, so ask them what skill level and experience they tend to strive for.

Local or out-of-town

Another key consideration is if the group meets primarily for local San Diego hikes or plans hikes with others for out of town trips. Each of these groups varies wildly, so if you want to just get started and join a local hiking group, just look at their past events to see what they group typically does on a regular basis.


Hiking in San Diego is a wonderful activity. There are so many wonderful hiking options from urban hikes, hiking on the coastal Torrey Pines trails, along blacks beach, up the popular Cowles Mountain, past Lake Poway, and even up to the infamous Potato Chip Rock.

Hiking Groups in San Diego are a fantastic way to meet other San Diegans to explore all of these amazing hiking trails. With over 30+ hiking groups there are many opportunities for you to meet other hikers.

This list only contains the top 8 hiking groups in San Diego, so that means there are other groups you could potentially join if these are not the ones for you. Checkout Meetup.com to find other hiking groups for you. Enjoy your hikes and be safe!