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San Diego Hiking: Ho Chi Minh to Black's

San Diego Hiking: Ho Chi Minh to Black's

While San Diego has tons of great hikes, it has surprisingly few ocean-adjacent trails. One of my favorite beachy hikes links two trails with questionable names: the Ho Chi Minh trail and Black's Beach/Gliderpoint trail. (Supposedly Black's was named after a family whose surname was Black, and as for Ho Chi Minh...I have no idea.)

With its clifftop trailhead west of the Salk Institute, Ho Chi Minh is a steep and slippery path that is best enjoyed by experienced hikers and never after a rain. On a sunny, dry day, it's a fun scramble down to the ocean where a short beach walk will take you to the base of the Black's Beach trail (I should probably mention that Black's is a nude beach). From there, you'll get a quick leg workout on your climb up to Gliderpoint, and you can rest up while leisurely walking around the western perimeter of Salk Institute to return to your starting point.

A few weekends ago, I took a quick break from the lab to hike this loop with my husband and pup. Though it's a short 1.8 miles (according to my Strava tracking), the elevation change, slippery cliffs, and gorgeous scenery provide a decent bit of exercise along with excitement.

An approximately correct map of our hike, created by Strava.

An approximately correct map of our hike, created by Strava.

Ready to get to the beach (down the canyon leads to the water, while the path to the right leads to a vantage point).

Ready to get to the beach (down the canyon leads to the water, while the path to the right leads to a vantage point).

Crumbly sand makes the path a bit treacherous.

Crumbly sand makes the path a bit treacherous.

An unexpected lush patch, created by water trickling down the cliffs.

An unexpected lush patch, created by water trickling down the cliffs.

Blue meets bluer.

Blue meets bluer.

Big cliffs. Little dudes.

Big cliffs. Little dudes.

Scripps pier in the distance.

Scripps pier in the distance.

blacks beach hike
Post-hike replenishment.

Post-hike replenishment.

All photos by Lauren Shipp & Reggie Robertson

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