The Ho Chi Minh trail in San Diego is not technically a trail, but more of a naturally forming sandy canyon slot that you can crawl your way through to get to the beach. It takes about 20 minutes to get from car to coastline, but you’ll have to overcome a few obstacles before you get there.
On Sunday morning my hiking buddy Brittanie and I set out to conquer the Ho Chi Minh trail, walks along the beach, through Black’s Beach – San Diego’s only clothing optional beach – to Torrey Pines for more hiking. And then back out the way we came in. We thought it would only be a mile between the two hikes, but it turned out to be more like 4 miles. Plan accordingly, and bring snacks, if you attempt this fun adventure.
To start park your car in the residential neighborhood of 9883 La Jolla Farms Rd San Diego, CA 92037. You will enter this “non-trail” through a pathway along a construction fence. Look for a trash can and other people walking down that way. We went at 8am and there were some, but not many, people already heading in. By the time we left at 2pm it was obvious where the trail started form all the people going in.
The scenery is beautiful along this route!
Keep your eyes on all there is to see. But be careful. A lot of this pathway is uneven, narrow and sandy. Footing is sometimes hard to get and there isn’t always a “right” way to go. You will have to walk across a wooden plank and through a very narrow canyon. When you get to the area the waterfall crosses grab onto the rope so you don’t slip (like my friend did) and hold the rope the rest of the way as you repel down to the coast.
From here you can walk along the coastline and admire the nudity, or partake yourself. It’s another 1-1 ½ hours until you reach Torrey Pines Nature Preserve and a lot more hiking trails. These trails are easy, but scenic and beautiful.
When you’re done at Torrey Pines take the long walk back to the point you came down in. Hiking back out through the Ho Chi Minh trail is harder than coming in. There are narrow ledges with little to grasp onto. Proceed with caution and you should be fine. It’s all worth it!
Check out other hikes I've one around San Diego HERE