Quantcast
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

Black Canyon

In Black Canyon, water amply illustrates its mindless yet artistic ability to sculpt stone. Every once in a great while, a gush of sediment-laden storm runoff tears through the canyon bottom, carving and polishing the bedrock slabs, drilling potholes ever deeper, toppling trees, and pushing rounded boulders downstream. In a normal spring season, like this one, the stream of water in Black Canyon is often fairly placid: it happily splashes over small waterfalls, pauses in pools, slides along inclined slabs, and finds hidden passages beneath immense boulders.

The short little ramble up along Black Canyon’s lower end is consistently enchanting, but it is no mere stroll. Rock scrambling is required. Although kids are often adept at such moves, they must be watched carefully and perhaps assisted at a couple of spots. The most serious hazard is the slippery surfaces of rocks at or near the stream.

To get to the starting point, drive east from Ramona on Highway 78 and turn north on Magnolia Avenue. Magnolia soon becomes Black Canyon Road, and later becomes a narrow, twisting, graded dirt road. At 7.3 miles from Highway 78, just short of the bridge over Santa Ysabel Creek, you meet the road coming down from Sutherland Dam. (This road, which is rough and rocky for one mile between here and Sutherland Dam and paved south of there, connects to Highway 78. This is an alternate route for your drive into or out of the area.) Turn left over the bridge and continue 200 yards on Black Canyon Road to a junction with a gated, descending road — the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail. Park at the top of this road, and (since this is Cleveland National Forest territory) don’t forget to display a National Forest Adventure Pass in your parked car.

Walk 0.3 mile down the descending road. This once was the entrance to the Black Canyon Campground, closed about 30 years ago. At the bottom, the road fords Black Canyon and doubles back to contour along the north slope of the Santa Ysabel gorge. Don’t cross the ford but stay right, following the oak-shaded floodplain on the south side of Black Canyon’s creek.

After about 0.3 mile, the canyon narrows and scrambling begins. Perhaps 20 to 40 minutes later, depending on how much time you wish to dawdle amid the fine scenery, you’ll come to a wide, shallow pool fed by a 20-foot waterfall. That’s a good place to pause before turning back.

This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.

Black Canyon
Enjoy mini-waterfalls and potholes in Black Canyon, outside Ramona.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 44 miles
Hiking length: 2 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Vista squeezes pot clinics with 4375 percent fee rise

While Oceanside ponders the storefronts
Next Article

If sci-fi glam really makes a comeback, UNI will rule them all

Big changes for little band may put them at the head of the class of 2020

In Black Canyon, water amply illustrates its mindless yet artistic ability to sculpt stone. Every once in a great while, a gush of sediment-laden storm runoff tears through the canyon bottom, carving and polishing the bedrock slabs, drilling potholes ever deeper, toppling trees, and pushing rounded boulders downstream. In a normal spring season, like this one, the stream of water in Black Canyon is often fairly placid: it happily splashes over small waterfalls, pauses in pools, slides along inclined slabs, and finds hidden passages beneath immense boulders.

The short little ramble up along Black Canyon’s lower end is consistently enchanting, but it is no mere stroll. Rock scrambling is required. Although kids are often adept at such moves, they must be watched carefully and perhaps assisted at a couple of spots. The most serious hazard is the slippery surfaces of rocks at or near the stream.

To get to the starting point, drive east from Ramona on Highway 78 and turn north on Magnolia Avenue. Magnolia soon becomes Black Canyon Road, and later becomes a narrow, twisting, graded dirt road. At 7.3 miles from Highway 78, just short of the bridge over Santa Ysabel Creek, you meet the road coming down from Sutherland Dam. (This road, which is rough and rocky for one mile between here and Sutherland Dam and paved south of there, connects to Highway 78. This is an alternate route for your drive into or out of the area.) Turn left over the bridge and continue 200 yards on Black Canyon Road to a junction with a gated, descending road — the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail. Park at the top of this road, and (since this is Cleveland National Forest territory) don’t forget to display a National Forest Adventure Pass in your parked car.

Walk 0.3 mile down the descending road. This once was the entrance to the Black Canyon Campground, closed about 30 years ago. At the bottom, the road fords Black Canyon and doubles back to contour along the north slope of the Santa Ysabel gorge. Don’t cross the ford but stay right, following the oak-shaded floodplain on the south side of Black Canyon’s creek.

After about 0.3 mile, the canyon narrows and scrambling begins. Perhaps 20 to 40 minutes later, depending on how much time you wish to dawdle amid the fine scenery, you’ll come to a wide, shallow pool fed by a 20-foot waterfall. That’s a good place to pause before turning back.

This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.

Black Canyon
Enjoy mini-waterfalls and potholes in Black Canyon, outside Ramona.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 44 miles
Hiking length: 2 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

If sci-fi glam really makes a comeback, UNI will rule them all

Big changes for little band may put them at the head of the class of 2020
Next Article

As COVID-19 lockdown lifted, mayoral fundraising delivered better results

Bry outdoes Gloria
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close