Kwaay Paay Peak is a must-do hike in San Diego. Located within Mission Trails Regional Park, it is conveniently close to downtown. The trail is moderately challenging as there is an elevation gain of nearly 900 feet, and it is quite steep for the majority of the 1.2-mile trek up to the summit. The last leg of the hike is definitely the toughest, but it is well worth it for the view. For about the last quarter mile there are stairs going up the mountain. The incline slowly levels off until you reach a clearing, and at the top you will be rewarded with a scenic view of the Mission Gorge to the west and the Fortuna Mountains to the north. On a clear day you can even see downtown San Diego, La Jolla, Point Loma, and the ocean. During the spring and summer there are a variety of wildflowers in bloom, most notably the foothill penstemon, California buckwheat, and California poppy.
This hike is best done in the morning before it gets too hot. In addition, the entrance gate locks at 7 p.m. during daylight savings time and at 5 p.m. during the winter.