Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

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Dog-Friendly: Yes    Kid-Friendly: Yes

Update: We removed Fat Man's Misery photos from this page but are keeping the article for historic purposes.

Fat Man's Misery was a popular spot when my parents were children. My grandpa would take my mom and her siblings down here for wild adventures that they speak fondly of to this day. Upon my research I found out that there were once actual railroad tie steps descending down the slope into the canyon, making it once a much safer place to explore.

Although I did not see any 'No Trespassing' signs, I have been told that this place is now condemned and no longer safe to explore. Where did it get it's name though?

Legend has it that a bus driver for the Torrey Pines Day Camp, affectionately known as Uncle Oscar, used to take the campers down there in the 50's and 60's. This was a wonderful place back then for children and adventurers. For those who were overweight though, like Uncle Oscar, you would quickly find yourself in a bit of trouble and could possibly get stuck. Here is where the name Fat Man's Misery comes from.

This spot would bring out so many people that it was quickly being destroyed though. The rangers asked “Are we running a Nature Reserve --or is this Disneyland South?” The rangers pushed and pushed and eventually got the State Park Commission to create the no picnicking, no off-trail, no dogs and no collecting laws. This closed the popular trail off forever.

Personal Experience: So this was fun. I found Crooked Hill & Fat Man's Misery both in one day! I was not expecting to fall upon Crooked Hill and boy is it beautiful. This whole area is one big adventure and you could easily spend half a day exploring and walking the trails. I am sure there are a ton of secrets that we didn't uncover. Fat Man's Misery is somewhat of an optical illusion in that it seems that even the skinniest can't fit through and yet miraculously both me and my partner fit through relatively easily. If you are pretty overweight you may have a problem. Just sayin'! They don't call it Fat Man's Misery for nothing!

Broken Hill:There are beautiful views from every angle:

Creepy cat skull!

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7 Reviews

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7 Reviews


  • Ali
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    January 27, 2015

  • Chille
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    where is ho chi minh trail?

    September 1, 2015

  • CA State Park Ranger's
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    To whom it may concern:

    The trails listed on this website are located off Torrey Pines designated trails. By going off trail you trample over plants and disturb nesting animals. Torrey Pines is a reserve, different than any of the other CA State Parks, only 1 of 17 designated in CA. Torrey Pines is the oasis that it is because most people stay on the trails and respect the rules. Dogs are not allowed because the scent from the dog scares away animals because they think it’s a predator out to eat them, leaving their young susceptible to other animals and exposure. Irresponsible dog owners refuse to pick up after their pet, leaving a smelly mess. Hike Cowles Mountain and you’ll see what I mean. Food is also not allowed because people leave behind their crumbs and spit out their seeds from fruit they’ve eaten. Animals become dependent on the food and begin to rely on visitors to feed them. Also, anyone caught going off trail will be cited. Fines can be as high as $400 per offense. Please keep Torrey Pines pristine and stay on the trails.

    Torrey Pines SNR/SB

    May 30, 2016

  • Debbie
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Never mind, Annie’s Trail is in Solana Beach.

    Never mind, Annie’s Trail is in Solana Beach.

    August 31, 2016

  • Debbie
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    I was saddened when I brought my kids and found out it was closed (in the 90’s). For those of us who grew up in any of the beach areas, it was almost a rite of passage! Now I’m wondering if this is by chance the newly ‘re-opened “Annie’s Trail?” I only saw part of the story, but what I saw looked like it. Also, it came out in the San Elijo lagoon. Hmm.

    August 31, 2016

  • Lala
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I hiked fat mans once, Once. When I was a teenager in the late 70’s early 80’s, and got a ticket for doing so. I’m glad I did but being older now see how irresponsible i was, and this person is taunting people to go there.

    December 23, 2016

  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I have such find memories of this park when I attended SDSC in the 70s. Sorry to hear of its demise.

    November 21, 2017

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