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Explore the riparian woodland of San Clemente Canyon (Marian Bear Park) in Clairemont.

Eastbound in the right lane of Highway 52, the San Clemente Canyon Freeway, you can look down upon a long, slender, almost unbroken swath of natural vegetation: massive sycamores, stately live oaks, climbing vines, and tangled shrubs. The freeway was built in the early '70s higher up on the slope of the canyon in an effort to spare most of the trees -- appropriately so in view of the fact that such riparian, or stream-loving, vegetation covers less than 0.2 percent of San Diego County's land area.

Much of San Clemente Canyon and several of its steep finger canyons are included within the boundaries of Marian Bear Park, an area administered by the city of San Diego as natural open space. Facilities include parking areas, picnic tables and restrooms off Regents Road and Genesee Avenue, and a few benches scattered elsewhere. What you won't often find here is silence, though early Sunday morning is a good bet if you'd rather hear bird songs and not much freeway traffic.

The main hiking and mountain-biking pathway in the canyon stretches for three miles along the seasonal (now virtually dry) stream. The east end of the park, near I-805, offers the prettiest vegetation, the densest shade, and the biggest infestations of poison oak. The latter's vines drape across tree trunks and limbs like lacy curtains and sometimes spread laterally on the side of the trail.

Several back entrances into Marian Bear Park and San Clemente Canyon can be found. Mountain bikers frequently make use of a connection between San Clemente Canyon and a paved bike path paralleling Interstate 5 under Highway 52. From a point on the main trail between Regents Road and Genesee Avenue, a 0.5-mile-long trail goes north under Highway 52, follows a sage-scented ravine, zigzags through a grove of eucalyptus, and emerges at Standley Park in University City. On the south side of San Clemente Canyon, an obscure pathway goes up to Cobb Drive on the mesa above. Another eroded path follows high-voltage power lines up toward Kroc Junior High School.

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Eastbound in the right lane of Highway 52, the San Clemente Canyon Freeway, you can look down upon a long, slender, almost unbroken swath of natural vegetation: massive sycamores, stately live oaks, climbing vines, and tangled shrubs. The freeway was built in the early '70s higher up on the slope of the canyon in an effort to spare most of the trees -- appropriately so in view of the fact that such riparian, or stream-loving, vegetation covers less than 0.2 percent of San Diego County's land area.

Much of San Clemente Canyon and several of its steep finger canyons are included within the boundaries of Marian Bear Park, an area administered by the city of San Diego as natural open space. Facilities include parking areas, picnic tables and restrooms off Regents Road and Genesee Avenue, and a few benches scattered elsewhere. What you won't often find here is silence, though early Sunday morning is a good bet if you'd rather hear bird songs and not much freeway traffic.

The main hiking and mountain-biking pathway in the canyon stretches for three miles along the seasonal (now virtually dry) stream. The east end of the park, near I-805, offers the prettiest vegetation, the densest shade, and the biggest infestations of poison oak. The latter's vines drape across tree trunks and limbs like lacy curtains and sometimes spread laterally on the side of the trail.

Several back entrances into Marian Bear Park and San Clemente Canyon can be found. Mountain bikers frequently make use of a connection between San Clemente Canyon and a paved bike path paralleling Interstate 5 under Highway 52. From a point on the main trail between Regents Road and Genesee Avenue, a 0.5-mile-long trail goes north under Highway 52, follows a sage-scented ravine, zigzags through a grove of eucalyptus, and emerges at Standley Park in University City. On the south side of San Clemente Canyon, an obscure pathway goes up to Cobb Drive on the mesa above. Another eroded path follows high-voltage power lines up toward Kroc Junior High School.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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