Best 5 Hilltop Photo Viewpoints in San Diego, California
Sightseeing in San Diego is quite beautiful. However, if you want breathtaking photo opportunities, there are some excellent viewpoints to check out. We are going to guide you through the top 5 hilltop viewpoints in San Diego and why they are so spectacular.
Table of Contents
Cowles Mountain is the highest point in San Diego making it one of the best photo opportunities. The mountain is unique in that it has many plateaus. These plateaus allow you to take photos with ease instead of standing at awkward angles hoping to get a good shot.
Not only can you get some exquisite shots at the top of the mountain, but the trail system has delightful scenic advantages, too. The 3 mile long trail is notorious for having stunning wildflowers along with those breathtaking views of San Diego.
The trail can get quite crowded so it’s best to go at off-peak times. Also, don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle in plain sight. Thieves have been known to smash windows in order to grab purses from the cars parallel parked along the road.
Mt. Soledad offers one of the best 360 degree views of San Diego. It is in the northwestern area of San Diego which means you get to see fantastic ocean views along with scenic city views.
One of the most iconic viewpoints on this mountain is the Mt. Soledad Cross. Photo opportunities at sunrise and sunset with the light streaming through the cross are coveted. The best part is that you can drive directly to the cross as there is a parking lot nearby.
On a different note, it is a veteran’s memorial that sparked controversy for years on the division between church and state. Finally, the land was auctioned off so it is privately owned. The owners decided to keep the iconic cross. Lucky for you, you still have the chance to get those beautiful photos.
Mt. Woodson offers a series of beautiful photo opportunities. The designated trail will leave you happy with the variety of photos you can take. It starts by Lake Poway allowing you to get some gorgeous lake photos. Along the way, you will overlook the Poway dam, another great photo opportunity. The trail is somewhat difficult so you will want to pack accordingly. Another landmark on this trail is Potato Chip Rock. It really looks like how it sounds and can be a fun landscape photograph.
Finally, when you reach the top you get to see downtown San Diego, the ocean, and even Iron Mountain. The opportunities are endless for photographs you can take. Depending on the weather, you can get a whole portfolio accomplished in one day.
Iron Mountain and its accompanying trail are one of the most popular hiking and photography destinations in San Diego. The beginning of the trail is gorgeous as you get to walk through a tunnel of oak trees. This truly is a stunning photo opportunity.
There are sections of the trail that are difficult to navigate due to the rocky terrain. However, it does allow leveled out sections to look back and photograph from. As you continue your climb, there are the iconic boulders of this mountain. They offer a challenge if you are traveling up them but make for a great photograph.
You can see quite a few other mountains when you reach the top. You can also see the breathtaking view of the St. Vicente Reservoir. Combined with the other landscape markers, Iron Mountain offers a diverse array of photo opportunities.
Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument lies in a National Park. It offers gorgeous photographic opportunities of the San Diego harbor and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The trail is a photographer’s dream come true. Not only do you get to see beautiful skylines but the trail takes you to some exquisite marine life areas.
At Whale Overlook, you can usually see whales out in the ocean in January and February. As you continue on the trail you get to see tide pools. This is a look into the ocean’s ecosystem and allows for interesting, fun, and unique photos. One thing to remember is that you will be charged an entrance fee as it’s inside a National Park.
No matter which mountain you choose, you will get different viewpoints of San Diego and its landscape. From dusty trails and boulders to whale watching and tide pools, there is something for everyone. If you are really adventurous, you can visit them all!
If you’re looking for additional scenic overlooks, check out The 5 Best Overlooks near Nashville, Tennessee.