Trails & Hiking

Hiking Safety Reminders

Poway Trails MapThe City of Poway trails system has more than 78 miles of some of the finest trails in Southern California. Our trails are excellent for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Please note that some popular trails are dangerous to hike in the heat. Be prepared. But consider staying off the trails when it's hot - both for you safety, and the safety of our first responders.

View the new online Poway trails map

Download a copy of the Poway Trails Guide and Map (PDF).

Hiking Safety Tips

Be prepared for backcountry travel. Bring along items that are necessary to provide for your safety and comfort. Basic items include:

  • Drinking water for yourself and your dog
  • Map and compass or GPS
  • Fully charged cell phone (in case of an emergency)
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Sunblock and hat
  • Snack food (for longer trips)

Be alert. There are a wide range of potential hazards in any backcountry area. Rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and poison oak can all be found in the Poway outback.

Practice trail courtesy. Be respectful of other trail users. You are responsible for your own safety. Failure to use due care while using the Poway trail system can result in personal injury. Please observe all trail regulations; they exist to protect you.

Be a good steward. Some trails pass through residential neighborhoods. Poway residents and property owners have generously allowed access next to and through private property. Please respect their privacy. Pick up your own trash, avoid excessive noise, and remain on trails.

Trail Regulations

  • Trails are open for public use from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week.
  • Firearms, fires, and motorized vehicles/equipment are not permitted.
  • Off-trail travel is prohibited. Please don’t shortcut trails or travel cross country.
  • Use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is not allowed.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in a proper manner.
  • Bicyclists, please remember to yield the right-of-way to hikers and horseback riders. Maximum trail speed is 10 miles per hour at Lake Poway and 15 miles per hour on all other trails. (Bicycles are not allowed at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve.)

Trail Etiquette

  • Know your place on the trails – Stay to the right, pass on the left, and always yield to uphill traffic.
  • Remember trail hierarchy – Horses have priority, then hikers, followed by bikers. 
  • Don’t be shy – When you encounter others on the trail, offer a friendly “hello” or a simple head nod. If you approach another person from behind, announce yourself in a calm tone and let them know you want to pass.
  • Be low tech – While it’s a good idea to have your phone for emergencies, don’t let it distract you from your surroundings.
  • Let nature do the talking – Speaking in a low voice and turning down your cell phone will let you and others enjoy the sounds nature has to offer.
  • Leave no trace – Always pack out what you bring in, even if it’s biodegradable.
  • Don’t feed the wildlife – It’s not good for the animals and it disrupts their habitat.
  • Leave what you find – The only souvenirs a hiker should go home with are pictures and memories.
  • Stay on the path – Wandering off the trails can be dangerous, and it degrades the habitat
  • Be prepared – Bring water and basic first aid supplies. On mountain trails, it’s harder for emergency responders to reach you.
  • Set a good example – Following trail etiquette is the best way to show respect for others and for nature.

Hiking Safety Videos

hiking safety tips video Opens in new window trail etiquette video hiking with dogs video