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Explore a new link of the Trans County Trail in Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Work on the Trans County Trail ("Pines to Spines" Trail) between the pines of Torrey Pines State Reserve and the spines of the Anza-Borrego Desert continues. Some 70 percent of the trail's segments have been completed or upgraded so far. The newest segment, dedicated last June on National Trails Day, follows Los Peñasquitos Canyon east from Black Mountain Road toward Interstate 15 and Poway. Enjoy yourself exploring this new route by picking a cool time of day, either early morning or early evening.

The large Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve trailhead, on the west side of Black Mountain Road at Mercy Road, is a good place to park and start your hike. Note that current hours for parking here are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. As the days shorten due to the season, the lot will close earlier. There's a $1 fee to park here.

Cross Black Mountain Road at the Mercy Road traffic light, and pick up the trail as it threads a course between Mercy Road on the right and the equestrian ring and stables on the left. The trail is smoothly surfaced with finely crushed gravel in the first mile, which makes it suitable for certain wheelchairs.

Beyond the stables, the scenery gets better. You pass a gauging station on the left and soon completely escape the sounds of traffic. The canyon narrows, and the trail sidles up alongside the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Creek, crossing it twice and a tributary stream once. There are fine examples of willow, sycamore, toyon, and lemonade berry to look at.

Presently, though, the muffled roar of distant traffic swells, and ahead you catch sight of the gargantuan (from this unique perspective) overpasses that carry traffic on Interstate 15. As you pass under these structures, you discover an older, relatively puny, arched concrete bridge that once carried traffic on U.S. Highway 395. Today the old bridge supports a bicycle route paralleling I-15.

The trail abruptly ends at the edge of a paved access road leading to the Los Peñasquitos pump station, about 1.5 miles from where you started. The auspicious display of public art on the retaining walls along this access road is a piece titled Rock of Aegis, inspired by Kumeyaay petroglyphs and designed by Philip Merlin Matzigkeit.

Turn left on the access road and walk a short distance to a grove of newly planted trees and shrubs -- a memorial for murder victim Cara Knott, among others. A newly built gazebo with lawn chairs in the midst of the garden serves as a contemplative resting spot.

Beyond the memorial garden, the Trans County Trail resumes by swinging left around the pump station perimeter fence and curling upward along a slope. This segment, under construction at the moment, partially follows the grade of a 19th-century stagecoach mail route. Eventually it will connect with trails in Poway's Sycamore Canyon Open-Space Preserve.

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Work on the Trans County Trail ("Pines to Spines" Trail) between the pines of Torrey Pines State Reserve and the spines of the Anza-Borrego Desert continues. Some 70 percent of the trail's segments have been completed or upgraded so far. The newest segment, dedicated last June on National Trails Day, follows Los Peñasquitos Canyon east from Black Mountain Road toward Interstate 15 and Poway. Enjoy yourself exploring this new route by picking a cool time of day, either early morning or early evening.

The large Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve trailhead, on the west side of Black Mountain Road at Mercy Road, is a good place to park and start your hike. Note that current hours for parking here are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. As the days shorten due to the season, the lot will close earlier. There's a $1 fee to park here.

Cross Black Mountain Road at the Mercy Road traffic light, and pick up the trail as it threads a course between Mercy Road on the right and the equestrian ring and stables on the left. The trail is smoothly surfaced with finely crushed gravel in the first mile, which makes it suitable for certain wheelchairs.

Beyond the stables, the scenery gets better. You pass a gauging station on the left and soon completely escape the sounds of traffic. The canyon narrows, and the trail sidles up alongside the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Creek, crossing it twice and a tributary stream once. There are fine examples of willow, sycamore, toyon, and lemonade berry to look at.

Presently, though, the muffled roar of distant traffic swells, and ahead you catch sight of the gargantuan (from this unique perspective) overpasses that carry traffic on Interstate 15. As you pass under these structures, you discover an older, relatively puny, arched concrete bridge that once carried traffic on U.S. Highway 395. Today the old bridge supports a bicycle route paralleling I-15.

The trail abruptly ends at the edge of a paved access road leading to the Los Peñasquitos pump station, about 1.5 miles from where you started. The auspicious display of public art on the retaining walls along this access road is a piece titled Rock of Aegis, inspired by Kumeyaay petroglyphs and designed by Philip Merlin Matzigkeit.

Turn left on the access road and walk a short distance to a grove of newly planted trees and shrubs -- a memorial for murder victim Cara Knott, among others. A newly built gazebo with lawn chairs in the midst of the garden serves as a contemplative resting spot.

Beyond the memorial garden, the Trans County Trail resumes by swinging left around the pump station perimeter fence and curling upward along a slope. This segment, under construction at the moment, partially follows the grade of a 19th-century stagecoach mail route. Eventually it will connect with trails in Poway's Sycamore Canyon Open-Space Preserve.

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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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