Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 4
Stories by The Canyoneers
One of the finest trails in Palomar Mountain State Park is this loop with great surrounding views and interesting plants.
A short, steep desert trail gives bird’s eye view of canyons and mountains.
Overlooks with dramatic views
Up to you: leisurely stroll or heart-pumping workout in the Elfin Forest.
Hike on a man-made island in Mission Bay where invasive plants dominate the landscape.
This Agua Tibia Wilderness hike has dramatic vistas and a variety of vegetation types.
The cooling, welcoming sight of a pond while hiking in the chaparral on a hot day.
A tree-shaded trail with bucolic vistas leads to a world-class observatory.
Cross seven access bridges to San Diego’s historical streetcar routes on this downtown loop walk that blends the present with the past.
This spectacular hike showcases San Diego’s skyline, Coronado, and the bay.
A lofty perch offers impressive views of San Pasqual Valley clear to the ocean
Explore an urban canyon with a riparian area and over 100 palm trees.
Guidebook author Jerry Schad’s favorite Balboa Park trail and an opportunity to volunteer service.
On any given day, the main route up Cowles Mountain, the highest point in the city of San Diego, is busy. A route with less traffic and easy parking is the Mesa Trail route that ...
Huge sycamores and live oak trees highlight this easy walk in the canyon bottom.
Hike to a tumbling creek among cottonwoods and willows.
Chaparral-cloaked hills, a wide river valley with oak woodland vegetation, and sections of lush riparian flora.
The alternate, less crowded trail up Iron Mountain.
Walk among Torrey pine trees through coastal sage scrub and chaparral plants.
This challenging hike combines an opportunity to view rare old-growth Tecate cypress trees and a variety of native plant species.
A cascading waterfall is the cool reward.
View the somewhat rare Englemann live oaks from a relatively secluded trail.
Multiple plant communities and more than 250 species of shore and water birds.
Hike over rolling hills and through oak woodlands, wildflower fields, and seasonal wetlands.
Double your pleasure on this hike with inspiring vistas and a remarkable assortment of flowering plants.
One of the best single-track mountain-bike trails in California is also one of the finest hiking trails. Shuttling required.
This short, easy hike along a cottonwood and willow-shaded lakeshore is perfect for young children, seniors, and avid birdwatchers
View salt-marsh plants year round and shorebirds especially during spring and winter migrations.
Less crowded, unique and beautiful wildlands make this a good place to explore.
No doubt why it is called “Eagle Rock”
Be amazed by a rock formation that really looks like an eagle!
See several native San Diego habitat types on a leisurely stroll.
Nearly ten years after the Cedar Fire, Descanso Creek is showing many signs of life.
A great hike in spring to early summer to catch blooming chaparral and annual wildflowers while bagging a peak with an inspiring view.
Hike to Daley Ranch’s highest peak while delighting in the sights and smells of chaparral and coastal sage plant communities.
See magnificent and rare Torrey pines in this lesser-known state reserve.
San Diego is a unique and exciting city for many reasons, and the remarkably rare Torrey pine is near the top of that list. Most San Diego residents can probably tell you where to find ...
What do camping, fishing, bird-watching, relaxing hikes, and wastewater reclamation all have in common?
Santee Lakes Regional Park, a waterfowl haven that started out as a wastewater treatment facility.
This 2195-acre preserve offers an array of seasonal wildflowers in oak-pine woodland and spectacular views of the lower elevations.
Sixty-two miles away from downtown San Diego, a strenuous three-mile hike on Five Oaks Trail. No. Dogs. Allowed.
A desert canyon dotted with palo verde trees leads to an abandoned mine and views toward the badlands
Palo Verde Canyon is aptly named for the many green-stemmed palo verde trees found in this desert canyon that leads down from the Santa Rosa Mountains. A hike up this canyon leads to an old ...
See hawks and other wildlife in this prairie habitat
Between Interstate 15 and the town of Ramona lies a new gem for San Diego outdoor enthusiasts. Only recently opened to the public, the Ramona Grasslands Preserve allows hikers, joggers, and horseback riders to explore ...
Get an aerial view of Anza-Borrego’s impressive Mescal Bajada
To get the full impact of the view from the top of the overlook of the Bill Kenyon Trail, do this hike during morning hours or later afternoon when shadows are most prominent on the ...
Mountaintop views, waterfowl, an extinct volcano, plus restoration in action
There are many ways to enter the preserve, but most lack adequate parking and currently none offer toilet facilities, except the Oak Riparian Park in Oceanside, which offers both as well as a chance to ...
Hike to a hidden waterfall oasis with ferns, mosses, vines, and trees
Despite the formidable name, Hellhole Canyon is one of the most delightful canyons in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, with sycamores, cottonwoods, and palm trees fed by intermittent streams. The goal of this hike is the ...
Watch for hawks and owls in Rose Creek, a 275-acre oasis around the old Santa Fe Railroad roadbed. Volunteers have planted a native garden near the trailhead.
Rose Canyon is one of the many local canyons set aside for walking, jogging, and bike riding. Views of the canyon from the bridge show its diversity, with four different habitats easily distinguished: chaparral, coastal ...
Hike an amazing slot canyon, visit an abandoned calcite mine, and enjoy panoramic desert views.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 104 miles. Allow almost 3 hours’ driving time (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park). From Ramona, drive east on Hwy 78, turn left on Hwy 79, right on San Felipe Road (S2), ...
Hike among dramatic granitic boulder displays and enjoy spectacular panoramic views near urban sprawl.
Distance from downtown San Diego: Allow one-hour driving time to Escondido. From I-15, exit east on El Norte Parkway. Turn left (north) on La Honda Drive. The parking area for the Daley Ranch is on ...
Take the trail less traveled to the Cowles Mountain summit Directions from downtown San Diego: 15 miles. Allow 30 minutes’ driving time. (San Carlos, Mission Trails Regional Park) From I-8, exit north on College Ave. ...
Multiple palm groves offer hikers lots of shade
The best place to visit accessible desert palm groves in the southern Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is Mountain Palm Springs, found at the foot of the Tierra Blanca Mountains. Six oases with well-established trees provide ...
The aptly named Piedras Pintadas (“painted rocks”) trail in Escondido explores a small part of the rich San Diego County Kumeyaay Indian culture and habitat by following a well-marked trail with interpretive plaques. The trail ...
A major archaeological site, a treasure trove of fascinating plants and animals, and beautiful scenery ranging from wide-open desert views to narrow winding mountain canyons all await anyone who takes a drive and hike up ...
Search for Native American grinding holes while admiring spectacular desert scenery from an alluvial fan.
This hike takes you up Pinyon Wash, lined with wildflowers in the spring, and into Harper Flat, an extensive area of Native American use. At the end of Pinyon Wash Road, the well-marked trail takes ...
A bubbling creek, shade, history, and changing ecology beckon
Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve east of Valley Center is a valuable resource for wildlife, hikers, and equestrians, with running water, a scenic canyon, and spring wildflowers. It is a place to learn about the ...
Visit poet/author/artist Marshal South’s adobe ruins on a desert mountaintop.
A rugged one-mile trail up the Ghost Mountain ridge leads to Yaquitepec (elev. 3215 feet), the ruins of an adobe home built by poet/author/artist Marshal South and his wife Tanya on top of waterless Ghost ...