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Trail of the Month: Secret Stairs, La Mesa

How get a great glute workout on this urban trail

By Claire Trageser

Trail of the Month: Secret Stairs, La Mesa

Trail of the Month: Secret Stairs, La Mesa

Illustrations by Ashleigh Corrin

Difficulty Level

Moderate, recreational runners in decent shape


1.3 miles for the loop

Good to Know

Dog Friendly
Not Stroller Friendly
Free Parking


Start at La Mesa Springs Shopping Center and head to the corner of Alta Lane and Fairview Avenue, where you’ll find the first leg of a network of 489 hidden stairs you can climb up and down from 830 feet above sea level.

What to Instagram

The winding pathways of hidden stairs, which look like they’ll lead you to a secret garden.

Why We Love It

It’s a great stair workout that you can run or walk, with pretty glimpses of flowers and historic architecture along the way to distract yourself.

Where to Refuel

Stop by Sheldon’s Service Station (8401 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa) for breakfast and lunch specials, from caprese avocado toast to sandwiches, panini, and cold brew to boot.

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