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Clevenger Canyon trails

The San Dieguito River Park's San Pasqual (a.k.a. Clevenger Canyon) trail system east of Escondido visits canyon slopes already as green as Ireland's and likely to be greener and more fragrant with blooming wildflowers during the next two or three months. The trails are divided into two networks, north and south of Highway 78. Here we'll focus on the south trail system, which winds amid north-facing, moisture-retentive hillsides clothed with lush sage scrub and chaparral vegetation.

You'll find the South Trails staging area on the south side of Highway 78, 5.3 miles east of the Wild Animal Park and 2.3 miles east of Bandy Canyon Road. Start your walk by zigzagging uphill 0.5 mile to the first marked trail junction. Choose the right branch for a relatively easy climb to a 1550-foot knoll. From this vantage point, you can spot the blue or silvery (depending on the time of day) ocean surface on clear winter days.

The left branch -- involving a more serious gain and loss of elevation -- begins with a short passage through a spooky ravine, replete with a tangle of live oaks plus wild cucumber and poison oak vines. On the far side, you tackle switchback segments of trail leading toward a prominent, monolithic boulder on a high ridge to the east. After passing within a few yards of the boulder, there's a side trail on the right leading to a 1755-foot viewpoint -- good for another view to the west. Keep straight if you want to continue toward a 1635-foot bump on a ridge 0.5 mile northeast. That's where, on a clear day, you get a stupendous view of upper San Pasqual Valley, a slice of ocean horizon in the west, and the distant, blue-tinted mountains in the east. Almost straight down a thousand feet, you can spy toylike cars making their way along the sinuous asphalt ribbon of Highway 78.

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The San Dieguito River Park's San Pasqual (a.k.a. Clevenger Canyon) trail system east of Escondido visits canyon slopes already as green as Ireland's and likely to be greener and more fragrant with blooming wildflowers during the next two or three months. The trails are divided into two networks, north and south of Highway 78. Here we'll focus on the south trail system, which winds amid north-facing, moisture-retentive hillsides clothed with lush sage scrub and chaparral vegetation.

You'll find the South Trails staging area on the south side of Highway 78, 5.3 miles east of the Wild Animal Park and 2.3 miles east of Bandy Canyon Road. Start your walk by zigzagging uphill 0.5 mile to the first marked trail junction. Choose the right branch for a relatively easy climb to a 1550-foot knoll. From this vantage point, you can spot the blue or silvery (depending on the time of day) ocean surface on clear winter days.

The left branch -- involving a more serious gain and loss of elevation -- begins with a short passage through a spooky ravine, replete with a tangle of live oaks plus wild cucumber and poison oak vines. On the far side, you tackle switchback segments of trail leading toward a prominent, monolithic boulder on a high ridge to the east. After passing within a few yards of the boulder, there's a side trail on the right leading to a 1755-foot viewpoint -- good for another view to the west. Keep straight if you want to continue toward a 1635-foot bump on a ridge 0.5 mile northeast. That's where, on a clear day, you get a stupendous view of upper San Pasqual Valley, a slice of ocean horizon in the west, and the distant, blue-tinted mountains in the east. Almost straight down a thousand feet, you can spy toylike cars making their way along the sinuous asphalt ribbon of Highway 78.

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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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