At only 800 feet, Mount Soledad does not seem like much of a mountain. However, it has a prominent position overlooking San Diego’s coastline. It offers arguably the best view of the city of San Diego. It is also home to the Mount Soledad National Veteran’s Memorial.
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The views at the top of Mount Soledad are what has made it a key San Diego attraction for many years. There is a small parking area and most visitors drive up just to park, get out of the car and take a few pictures. It is a quick visit if you are in the La Jolla neighborhood.
As you drive up to Mount Soledad you get wonderful views of the La Jolla coastline. If you come up the south side from Pacific Beach you will see San Diego from Mission Bay to Point Loma and downtown San Diego. The north side route will take you up a twisting road, past cliffside houses with amazing views of north La Jolla.
At the top of Mount Soledad, you get a 360-degree view of San Diego. To the south will be Mission Bay, downtown, Coronado and on clear days Mexico. To the north and east, you can see vast stretches of San Diego suburbs. On winter days you are likely to see snow-capped mountains.
Of course, the Pacific Ocean dominates the Western view. On clear days you can see south to Coronado island in Mexico (not to be confused with San Diego’s city of Coronado). To the north, Catalina island can sometimes be viewed.
This is also home to Mount Soledad National Veteran’s Memorial. This memorial has walls with over 3,500 plaques honoring those who served in the military. All United States veterans, who have honorably served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and WWII Merchant Marines are eligible.
Of course, plaques cost money and vary in size. An 8-inch by 8-inch plaque is a donation of $950, most of which is tax deductible. In the past few years, donations have exploded so they are building more walls.
For many years, Mount Soledad was the subject of controversy. In 1913 a Christian cross was placed atop the mountain. Because it was on public land there were constant lawsuits claiming it violated the First Amendment separation of Church and State. This eventually went to the Supreme Court and in 2014 Congress passed a resolution giving the land to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association.
The current cross is 27-feet high and made of concrete. It was installed in 1954. The end to the controversy came in September 2016 when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rendered all lawsuits moot because the land was no longer on government property.
Mount Soledad is a great first stopping point in a visit to San Diego, especially the La Jolla area. The wonderful views allow you to quickly get a picture of the entire San Diego area. Our main suggestion is to try and go on a sunny day!
This is one of our top San Diego Free Attractions