California Hiking Trails

Exploring California’s Natural Wonders, San Diego Style

Tune in to Nature for Personal Growth and Transformation

As a transitional living facility for young women recovering from substance use disorders, we at Mare’s House encourage our residents to build a connection with nature as a part of their healing process. Studies have demonstrated time and again that exposure to nature can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress, with one study indicating that merely watching a nature video can be a helpful part of addiction recovery by lowering heart rate and improving overall mood. At Mare’s House, we use this healing power as part of our program, and we make time for our residents to get outside and into nature whenever possible. In fact, one of the reasons we located our program in La Jolla is due to its proximity to some of California’s most beautiful scenery and rugged natural wonders.

Beach in San Diego

San Diego County

4,300 Square Miles of Diverse Geology

Larger than the state of Delaware, with seventy miles of pristine Pacific coastline, San Diego County is geologically diverse and filled with natural beauty. Here are four of our local favorites.

La Jolla Cove

Just a short drive from Mare’s House, La Jolla Cove boasts sweeping cliffside vistas ideal for reflection and meditation, while down below, the 6,000 acre La Jolla Underwater Park provides ample opportunity for connecting with sea life and the healing powers of the ocean. Mare’s House residents enjoy exploring the cove and surrounding coastline via group kayaking trips, tide pool hikes, snorkeling, beach walks and surf therapy.

La Jolla Cove
Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve

As one of just two places in the world where Torrey Pines grow naturally, the Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve features 2,000 acres of protected space where visitors can enjoy gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and observe the unique wind-swept adaptations of the Torrey Pines. These hardy trees, with extensive root systems that keep them growing strong in spite of forceful coastal winds and eroding sandstone make an apt metaphor for our residents as they learn to survive and thrive in the face of challenging odds.

Cuyamaca Mountains

San Diego’s miles of gorgeous coastline gets most of the attention, but when the mountains are calling, we’ve got that, too. The Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountain ranges separate the coastal lands from the vast desert that makes up the eastern part of the county’s acreage. Tucked within these hills are year-round creeks and waterfalls, ample wildlife, and mountain peaks with views that, on a clear day, stretch all the way to Mexico and Arizona. Perfect for day trips or camping adventures, the Cuyamaca mountains boast miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, as well minimal light pollution for stargazing. Plus, in the winter, this area gets snow, making San Diego a true county for all seasons.

Cuyamaca mountain view
Rocks at Borrego

The Borrego Badlands

Provides a Unique Look into California’s Past

As the largest of California’s state parks, Anza Borrego is 600,000 acres of desert wonder so vast that its eastern and northern flanks extend into the Imperial and Riverside counties. The Borrego Badlands, nicknamed, “California’s Grand Canyon,” is a twenty- by fifteen-mile stretch of otherworldly sandstone arroyos created when the area was once a seascape. As one of the only badlands in the state, California State Parks reports that, “the various fossil assemblages constitute the most continuous archive of the history of life for the past seven million years in the west.” More than 550 types of fossils have been identified in the Borrego Badlands, hinting at the woodlands, grasslands and waterscapes of the area’s past.

California beach

California – A Land of Wonder

It’s common knowledge that California hosts some of the most impressive geography in the United States. Whether you’re after jaw-dropping vistas, unique geologic phenomena, ancient forests or diverse seascapes, the state has something to offer just about everyone. But for every showstopper like El Capitan in Yosemite or the old growth redwood forests that dot the Northern California coast, there are countless other lesser-known local wonders that are ripe for exploration, and many of them are located right in our own backyard.

At Mare’s House, we provide the opportunity and encouragement for our residents to explore San Diego’s natural wonders. We take the time to cultivate a love of healthy adventure, and we collectively benefit in mind, body and spirit from nature’s healing powers. 

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