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Discover hidden beauty in Clairemont's oak-lined Tecolote Canyon.

Rustic signs along some of Clairemont's major streets call attention to one of the oldest designated open-space parks in San Diego: the 900-acre Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. Using the park's network of service roads and narrow footpaths, it's possible to follow most of the six-mile length of the main Tecolote Canyon and to poke into several of its tributary "finger canyons." By day you can spot hawks and ravens soaring on the strong coastal breeze blowing up the canyon. By night, you might hear the yapping of a coyote or the plaintive hoot of an owl, the creature for which this canyon was named.

The canyon's pathways are used by both hikers and mountain bikers -- though mountain biking is often "technical" due to the often excessively steep and rocky paths. Parts of the canyon are surprisingly beautiful, particularly when winter or spring rains bring forth a prolific growth of green grass and wildflowers. By now, however, most of the vegetation is parched and dormant.

A good place to start is the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park visitors' center at the far east end of Tecolote Road, east of Interstate 5, inland from Mission Bay. The wide dirt path leading east, initially smooth, becomes rougher as you approach the perimeter of the Tecolote Canyon Golf Course. There you'll start struggling up and down some steep hillsides. A narrow side path on the left stays above the perimeter fence. It eventually bends east on the slope overlooking the golf course's clubhouse and descends into a tributary, currently harboring a sluggish stream. A hike upstream along this fine oak- and sycamore-dotted ravine to Genesee Avenue is well worth it. If you reverse your steps upon reaching Genesee, your round-trip hike measures about five and one-half miles.

A number of narrow trails traverse the upper portions of Tecolote Canyon. Balboa Avenue, a de facto mini-freeway where it crosses the canyon, is a definite obstacle for hikers wishing to link the upper branches of the canyon with the lower canyon. North of Balboa Avenue, one path goes toward North Clairemont Park. A lesser path along a smaller tributary of Tecolote Canyon heads toward Mt. Etna Park.

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Rustic signs along some of Clairemont's major streets call attention to one of the oldest designated open-space parks in San Diego: the 900-acre Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. Using the park's network of service roads and narrow footpaths, it's possible to follow most of the six-mile length of the main Tecolote Canyon and to poke into several of its tributary "finger canyons." By day you can spot hawks and ravens soaring on the strong coastal breeze blowing up the canyon. By night, you might hear the yapping of a coyote or the plaintive hoot of an owl, the creature for which this canyon was named.

The canyon's pathways are used by both hikers and mountain bikers -- though mountain biking is often "technical" due to the often excessively steep and rocky paths. Parts of the canyon are surprisingly beautiful, particularly when winter or spring rains bring forth a prolific growth of green grass and wildflowers. By now, however, most of the vegetation is parched and dormant.

A good place to start is the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park visitors' center at the far east end of Tecolote Road, east of Interstate 5, inland from Mission Bay. The wide dirt path leading east, initially smooth, becomes rougher as you approach the perimeter of the Tecolote Canyon Golf Course. There you'll start struggling up and down some steep hillsides. A narrow side path on the left stays above the perimeter fence. It eventually bends east on the slope overlooking the golf course's clubhouse and descends into a tributary, currently harboring a sluggish stream. A hike upstream along this fine oak- and sycamore-dotted ravine to Genesee Avenue is well worth it. If you reverse your steps upon reaching Genesee, your round-trip hike measures about five and one-half miles.

A number of narrow trails traverse the upper portions of Tecolote Canyon. Balboa Avenue, a de facto mini-freeway where it crosses the canyon, is a definite obstacle for hikers wishing to link the upper branches of the canyon with the lower canyon. North of Balboa Avenue, one path goes toward North Clairemont Park. A lesser path along a smaller tributary of Tecolote Canyon heads toward Mt. Etna Park.

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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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