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Stories by The Canyoneers

Our beaches looked like the East Coast’s millions of years ago

Sandstone pinnacles and pockets guide your way to the crashing waves below

Established to protect the life forms found within it, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve became an official state park in 1956. Found within its borders is the Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana), the rarest pine ...

A hike down in Maple Canyon

Explore a central city canyon under Quince Street and First Avenue bridges

An early start is highly recommended for prime parking, less traffic, and lower temperatures for this interesting walk below the Quince Street and First Avenue bridges that spanned Maple Canyon to allow access to streetcar ...

Sixty-five miles of trails in Balboa Park

Hike the perimeter loop

Balboa Park has 65 miles of trails that differ in length, difficulty, and scenery with 19 trails beginning at one of five gateways located at Golden Hill, Marston Point, Morley Field, Park Boulevard, and Sixth ...

Wet your toes on Torrey Pines Marsh Trail

The Marsh Trail is worth a visit for bird lovers, native-plant aficionados, and day-hikers.

The Torrey Pines Marsh Trail is not easily found, much like the cave of the hermit who carved a home out of the sandstone bluffs along the trail. The Marsh Trail does not appear on ...

Hosp Grove Park's east and west trails

An oasis in the heart of the city that many drive by daily never realizing it’s there

The dominant feature of Hosp Grove is the eucalyptus trees that were originally planted by F.P. Hosp in 1908. Believing that the fast-growing drought-tolerant Australian trees would be a great investment, he established the Hosp ...

Pleasant (if small) surprises in Mission Trail Regional Park

Rain reveals the most pleasant surprises

Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) is one of San Diego’s many treasures. It is one of the nation’s largest natural urban parks — one with a long history of use from Native Americans and Spanish ...

Noisy life along the Southern Wildlife Preserve

A hike along the San Diego River Estuary is a great way to see nature’s art in our own backyard.

Until the middle of the past century, the San Diego River flowed into a large wetland that encompassed parts of San Diego Bay as well as Mission Bay. However, periodic flooding deposited large amounts of ...

Rare oak dots the hike to Eagle Peak

This hike has breathtaking views of the San Diego River Gorge

The Eagle Peak Preserve, located about 4.5 miles north of Eagle Peak, is a conservation area managed by the San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF) that has breathtaking views of the San Diego River Gorge. ...

The Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail on foot

Explore a trail that has most of the diverse habitats found in the county

Santa Ysabel Creek is a major tributary of the San Dieguito River. As it flows near Ramona, it is separated into upper and lower branches by the Pamo Valley. The Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail ...

Get in the Peñasquitos Creek riparian zone

This scenic loop follows a creek and has some great views.

The Trans-County Trail is one of several regional trail systems being developed in San Diego County. The Regional Trails Plan includes a total of nine trails that will eventually provide significant north-south and east-west trail ...

Listen for the “wacka-wacka” in Live Oak Park

Visit one of the oldest parks in the county and discover an Indian kitchen

Live Oak County Park is one of the area’s oldest parks where Fallbrook is said to have begun. It is a sprawling 27-acre tract in the middle of an old-growth grove of coast live oaks, ...

Secret Canyon: Pine Valley Creek Wilderness Trail

Follow the verdant corridor of Pine Valley Creek, cross a gorge, and follow a historic flume.

Pine Valley Creek flows from the Laguna Mountains into Barrett Reservoir, passing through Secret Canyon on its descent. Most of the trail (about 14 miles) traverses the 13,000-acre Pine Creek Wilderness in the Cleveland National ...

A climb up sacred Tecate Peak

Climb a sacred peak for expansive vistas of both the U.S. and Mexico

Tecate Peak is a 3885-foot border sentinel, visible from both Baja California, Mexico, and from Southern California. The actual summit is less than a mile north of the border in California, with a service road ...

Where endangered species thrive

An island in Encinitas

The Manchester Preserve is an island in an urban-suburban setting where endangered species such as the Del Mar manzanita, Orcutt’s hazardia, San Diego thornmint, and California gnatcatcher can thrive. Since the Center for Natural Lands ...

Cuyamaca Rancho’s East Mesa Loop — this trail has it all

This rugged, less-visited, and gorgeous side of the park features mountain views, rolling grasslands, dark forests, and deep canyons.

Most visitors to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park see the reservoir, hike Cuyamaca and Stonewall peaks, and visit Green Valley, but fewer set out for the East Mesa, which is strange because this area contains some ...

Mother offers grape-soda lupine and wine cup clarkia

Spectacular views of distant ridges and grasslands from this rolling plateau

Prior the 2003 Cedar Fire, the Cuyamaca Mountains in general, and this area in particular, had a beautiful forest of mature shady oaks and tall pines, with occasional openings of grassy meadows. The area is ...

Walker Preserve segment opens on the San Diego River Trail

Santee preserve features a 1.3-mile trail along the San Diego River

This trail adds another segment to the San Diego River Trail, which will eventually stretch 52 miles from the river headwaters in the Cuyamaca Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The property that makes up the ...

Take an alternative scenic route to Cuyamaca Peak

Conjeos Trail Loop via Milk Ranch Road

The Conejos Trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a beautiful, less-traveled trail with a striking view of Lake Cuyamaca to the northeast, Middle Peak and North Peak to the north, and El Capitan Reservoir ...

The mountain forest as it appeared before the 2003 Cedar Fire

Re-experience Cuyamaca Reservoir and Stonewall Mine

Unlike most of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the trees that enhanced the beauty of this park were not heavily damaged or destroyed on the peninsula in Lake Cuyamaca by the 2003 Cedar Fire. As a ...

Encounter shy mariposa lily and showy penstemon on Desert View Trail

Gaze into the desert from this mountain viewpoint.

For the first-time visitor to the lush green pine and oak forest covering the more than 6000-foot Mount Laguna, it can be astonishing to learn that the desert is only a short distance away. If ...

Among the rarest of pines and heaviest of hummingbirds on Razor Point Trail

This short hike has sandstone badlands, a gorge, a sweeping coastline, and the namesake Torrey Pines.

The Razor Point Trail in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve meanders through high-quality southern maritime chaparral habitat, offering stunning glimpses of the Pacific Ocean before ending at an outlook. The Razor Point Trail offers many ...

Strollers, botanizers, and runners on Broken Hill Trail

Emerge from the chaparral to spectacular ocean views

The Broken Hill Trail is the longest and one of the most scenic trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, winding through a thicket of chaparral until the trail opens up to reveal spectacular ocean ...

Best access to San Luis Rey River’s wild side

Experience a free-flowing river with the possibility of a cool dip.

There are relatively few places where the public has access to the San Luis Rey River in its native wild state. For most of its 55-mile length it has been extensively modified by flood-control projects, ...

Lots to do at Chollas Lake Park, but...biodiversity is not high

Enjoy the many possible activities in this urban getaway

Named for the cholla cactus found in the area, Chollas Lake Reservoir was built in 1901 to serve San Diego’s water supply. The 16-acre lake was turned over to the city’s Department of Park and ...

Los Jilgueros, a small retreat in suburban Fallbrook

Relax in this small preserve with great wooded areas and wetlands

This 46-acre nature preserve was an orchard and farmland before it was acquired by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy (FLC) as their first acquisition. There is still some farm equipment and waterworks visible. For its small ...

Abundance of fire-followers on the trail to Foster Point

Observe post-fire succession on this hike to a scenic overlook.

In 1968, the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club built a small trail east of their Guyman Lodge to an overlook that they named Foster Point in honor of the chapter founders, Loris and ...

Roberts Ranch denied developers and spared from 2003 fires

An easy walk through open grassland meadows and mature oak groves

Roberts Ranch is a hidden jewel nestled on either side of I-8 at the foot of the Cuyamaca Mountains. There is no sign announcing its presence, so this is a hike experienced only by those ...

No bay at Border Field State Park for about 7000 years

Explore a beach and estuary at the extreme southwest corner of the continental USA

Border Field State Park is where delegations from both the U.S. and Mexico began the survey of the border in 1850 after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was concluded on February 2, 1848, officially ending ...

One visit to Tijuana River Valley will not be enough

A multitude of trails and habitats will require a return visit to explore all

The Tijuana River Valley Regional Park (TRVRP) provides a wide variety of year-round recreational opportunities within its 1800 acres that include a bird and butterfly garden, community gardens, multi-use open-space turf area, and five ball ...

Cowles Mountain trail wins the popularity contest

The Southern Approach

If popularity is any indication of quality, then the Cowles Mountain trail from the staging area at the intersection of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road is among the best in San Diego, if not the ...

Views of homes and ranches where Kumeyaay once lived

Follow a zigzag trail to a view point that ends at the old Flume Trail.

Although the 88-acre El Monte County Park was one of the first areas set aside for a park in the county, it was not until February 2011 that an official trail to East County’s landmark ...

Sample San Diego’s many habitats at Guajome Regional Park

Dangerous plants at the frog pond

The name Guajome is taken from the Luiseño word “wakhavumi,” which means “frog pond.” Yes, it is that and so much more! Located just a breeze away from Carlsbad’s lagoons and the Pacific Ocean, this ...

Cantebria Trail was part of the Ecke poinsettia empire

This coastal Encinitas trail offers surprising diversity in an urban setting

You will be pleasantly surprised to discover so many varieties of California native plants along this short urban canyon walk. This is an easily accessed trail, welcoming all levels. The trail is popular with neighbors ...

Many rewards at “the Knoll” — Scripps Coastal Reserve

Spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean await visitors after a short, easy walk through coastal sage scrub.

The Scripps Coastal Reserve, or ”the Knoll,” offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from coastal bluffs and an easy walk through coastal sage-scrub habitat. Owned by the University of California as part of their ...

Tunnel of shrubs and countless species in the Cuyamacas

Take this short hike to view wildflowers, insects, and post-fire habitat recovery.

This short walk has such an array of habitats, insects, and plant species that a longer trek may not reveal much more of nature’s palette in the Cuyamaca Mountains. The loop is a triangle of ...

Zigzag, climb, and loop for miles in Crestridge eco reserve

Take your choice of trails and explore a multitude of preserved habitats.

The Crestridge Ecological Reserve is one of 16 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Ecological Reserves in San Diego County. The current 136 statewide ecological reserves provide habitat for a wide diversity of plant and ...

See more than 100 species of birds at Silverwood

Learn about birds and plants on this educational hike.

There is something for every nature lover and even those who only want to get a bit of exercise at Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary. With a network of nearly 5 miles of trails, there are both ...

Look but don’t touch at Doane Valley’s stinging nettle station

This interesting trail winds through riparian, grassland, and a wooded hillside with views of meadows and mountainsides

The Doane Valley Nature Trail provides a sampling of the many plants and shrubs that can be found at Palomar Mountain State Park. Taking a hike on this trail is a great way to learn ...

Take time to smell the lemony leaves off Jasper Trail

Hike the transition from high to low desert on this old cattlemen’s trail

The name of this hike hints at the history found here. The Jasper Trail is named after Ranchita cattleman Ralph Jasper, who owned over 5500 acres in portions of Montezuma Valley, Grapevine Canyon, and Yaqui ...

Park in the hard-packed sand when visiting Bedrock

Let your imagination run wild among the bizarre shapes of wind-carved caves.

On the eastern edge of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park lies Split Mountain, the Carrizo Badlands, and a feature known as the Wind Caves. Here, the exposed sandstone of the marine beds from the five-million-year-old Imperial ...

Critters galore along the Sweetwater River Trail

Hike over a historic steel bridge then along an interpretive trail for a panoramic view of the watershed.

The Sweetwater River is the main artery of the Sweetwater watershed. Its headwaters are in the Cuyamaca Mountains, flowing into Sweetwater Reservoir and emptying into San Diego Bay at the Sweetwater Marsh. The Sweetwater Interpretive ...

Barker Valley

Hike in a secluded mountain valley in the shadow of Palomar Mountain

Barker Valley, sitting at the southern end of Palomar Mountain and between the peak of Palomar Mountain to the north and Lake Henshaw to the south, is one of the most remote and least-visited locations ...

Ain’t no water in Horsethief Canyon, but poison oak? You bet

Vistas of surrounding mountains and canyons in a protected wilderness area

Horsethief Canyon is within the 13,480-acre Pine Creek Wilderness area that is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It is also part of the National Wilderness Preservation System and was so designated a wilderness area ...

Where Camino Ruíz and Peñasquitos Canyon got their names

Hike to a waterfall oasis amid towering rocks, cooling shade, and rich plant and wildlife.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is a 4000-acre open-space area that includes both Los Peñasquitos Canyon and Lopez Canyon. Both canyons may be accessed from a western approach. The canyon walls are responsible for its name ...

Mind the endangered species on McGinty Mountain

Uncommon soils make for rare plants along this trail

McGinty Mountain lies within a collective ecological preserve managed by the Nature Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Several rare and ...

Behold the roses, beware the bees at Otay Valley Delta

Stroll through a restored riparian habitat in South Bay

The Otay Delta Habitat Restoration Project is part of a much larger management plan to restore ecosystems and provide necessary habitat corridors for wildlife between San Diego Bay and Otay Mountain along the Otay River ...

No trailblazers wanted in Parry Grove

A quiet walk in lush chaparral, with Torrey pines and spectacular ocean views

The trail begins just north of the Torrey Pines Lodge Visitor Center at the top of the hill with a walk through Whitaker Native Plant Garden, named for Thomas W. Whitaker, a plant scientist and ...

Inaja Memorial Nature Trail

In memory of fallen firefighters in Santa Ysabel

This short hike explores the transition between forest and chaparral.

Tecolote Canyon’s history writ in stone and sediment

A pleasant walk along the southern section

Tecolote Canyon, featured on area maps for almost 200 years, is designated a natural park 6 miles in length, .25 to .5-mile wide, with a 2-mile tributary totaling just over 900 acres. Elevations range from ...

One of the last free-flowing rivers in Southern California

Follow the Santa Margarita River Trail

The Santa Margarita River Trails are managed by the newly merged Live Oak Coalition and the Fallbrook Trails Council. Through an agreement with the Fallbrook Public Utility District, which owns the property, the nonprofit group ...

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