The Double Peak trail is one of the more popular San Marcos hikes if you live in North County San Diego. Growing up, my mom and I used to do this hike a lot. Now, since I have moved out my mom and my dad do this hike together a lot. 

Double peak sign

This is a great hike to do in the spring or fall when it is a bit cooler. This article is going to give you all the details of hiking the Double Peak trail in San Marcos, CA.

Double Peak Trail Details

Length: 4.6 miles roundtrip 

Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

Time to hike: 2.5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate 

How to get there: You will take highway 78 and get off San Marcos Blvd. If you are coming from the west or the coastal side you will turn right off the exit. If you are coming from the Eastside via the 15 you will turn left off the exit. 

Double Peak hiking trail in San Marcos

Turn left onto Bent Ave which then turns into Craven Road. Turn right onto Foxhall Dr and then another right into the Discovery Lake parking lot.

If the parking lot is full there is plenty of street parking

Hiking the Trail

This hike is very easily accessible and it offers some spectacular 360-degree views when you reach the top. It is well maintained the entire way and is well marked. 

This is a great hike for families and mostly all skill levels. 

There are restrooms at the beginning of the hike. 

At the base of the Double Peak, the trail is a playground and a little park that you can relax at before or after your hike. You can also fish at Discovery Lake-the lake right next door. 

The Beginning

The start of the hike begins right from the Discovery Lake parking lot. You will head out on a paved dirt path alongside the lake. You can choose either to walk on the dirt portion of the trail or the paved road. 

The trail begins to climb uphill pretty quickly. You will actually be following along a service road that leads to a neighborhood for the first portion of this trail. Trust me it is still pretty. You actually will hike/walk through the neighborhood itself for about ¼ of a mile until you reconnect with the Double Peak trail.

The Middle

This portion of the hike is all dirt, but the trail is well marked and maintained. After walking through the neighborhood you will see signs to continue on to the trail. 

This portion is the hardest part of this San Marcos hike. It is exposed to the sun, uphill and can be dusty from all the dirt at times. Eventually, you will reach a water tank and at this point, you will bear left. 

Views from the top of the mountain

Continue on climbing uphill and as you weave through the trail of this hike you will begin to see views of Cal State San Marcos in one direction and west North County in another direction. 

You will reach a junction point where you can either go left or go right. Take a right and hike up some switchbacks.

At the 1.8-mile marker point, you will see another paved road known as Double Peak Road. Bear left here.

The End 

There are two options to complete this hike. You can either hike up the paved road to reach the top or you can hike alongside the dirt trail to reach the top.

telescope in San Marcos
Top of double peak

If you hike the paved road you will be sharing it with cars and bikes. If you chose to take the dirt path route. Be prepared for it to be steep and filled with loose rocks. If you are unsteady on your feet then I do not recommend this route. 

The Top of the Double Peak Trail

You made it! Congrats on hiking uphill for 2.3 miles. You now can enjoy 360 panoramic views from the top. Enjoy seeing views of Palomar Mountain and even the ocean and Mt. Baldy on a clear day. 

There is a large tree at the top that is quite beautiful to sit under and eat a snack at. The top of this peak is a great spot to bring your binoculars or nice camera lens to. Enjoy looking at sites fare off in the distance or birds and flowers up close. 

Now, you can also drive up to this peak, but come on is it really worth it to cheat yourself out of the exercise? 🙂

Final Thoughts from your Outdoor Loving Girl

Alright friends! Another detailed guide to a San Diego hike for you! This is one of my favorites and is a great family hike! Make sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat as it does get hot on this trail! Enjoy!

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