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Stories by The Canyoneers

Be careful near the monument — often home to a beehive.

Arroyo Seco Loop off Highway 79

Wide sweeping views? Check. An aircraft engine from the 1920s? Check. Bedrock morteros at a peaceful backcountry trail camp? Check. This loop hike includes the entire length of Airplane Ridge, breezes by interesting rock formations, ...

Little worry of getting lost

Beauty between the 94, Sweetwater River, Steele Canyon, and Cottonwood Golf Course

The relatively unknown Par 4 trails wind through the east end of San Diego National Wildlife Refuge’s Sweetwater River Unit. The area is boxed in by Highway 94 to the south and west; Steele Canyon ...

Burk's Bench — even better than Fonts Point

Palm Springs developer lost interest in Borrego

Most folks who drive or hike up Fonts Point Wash head to the spectacular viewpoint 4.8 miles from Highway S-22. It is one of the most scenic and popular viewpoints in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, ...

Japacha Peak — like Cuyamaca without antennas

Chaparral and mixed conifers

While Cuyamaca Peak gets all the fame as being San Diego County’s second-highest peak at 6512 feet, its lesser-known neighbor to the south, Japacha Peak, sports panoramic views without antenna towers adorning the summit. This ...

Get close to sagebrush, toyon, lemonadeberry, laurel sumac, and black sage — in a wheelchair

Trail for All People open one year now

The Trail for All People is one of the few trails in the county that is wheelchair accessible, built to ADA requirements. The trail was created for people with mobility issues within Black Mountain Open ...

Hike along the redwood flume that brought water to La Mesa

Differing life forms along Helix Flume Trail

The newest segment of the Helix Flume Trail between the old El Monte Pump Station on El Monte Road to Lake Jennings opened to the public in February 2017. The opening of this trail was ...

Get an early start on Descanso’s Blue Ribbon Loop along Sweetwater Creek

Lush river vegetation

If you are looking for a loop hike in the Cuyamacas with a mix of sun and shade, old road and narrow trail, a variety of wildflowers, and a shady creekside spot to rest, then ...

Part of Cuyamaca spared by 2003 Cedar Fire

East Mesa's grassland is non-native

In 1923, wealthy Beverly Hills residents Ralph and Helen Dyar purchased 20,000 acres of the original 35,500-acre Rancho Cuyamaca Spanish land grant and built their summer home near what is now the Park’s Visitor Center ...

Don't disturb the horses — Granite Springs Trail Camp

Pastoral grasslands with Cuyamaca and Laguna views

The standard route to Granite Springs is from the Sweetwater Trailhead located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Parks south-central region, but if you prefer a quieter approach, the Deer Park Trail offers plenty of solitude, wildflowers, ...

Get close but not too close to Carrizo Gorge trestle

One of the highest wooden trestles in North America

The trek to upper Goat Canyon is not a long hike but it is strenuous because of the rough terrain and boulder-hopping above Mortero Palms. The canyon’s name correctly implies that the nimbleness of a ...

A chaparral oasis — Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Avoid the spur trails and give way to horses

This is a relatively short out-and-back hike for those who want to find a trail with few people and that is easy to reach. The trail’s filled with many different chaparral flora and animals — ...

Peña Spring — a cool spot in Anza-Borrego

3500 feet above desert floor

If your route into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park takes you on S-22, sometimes known as Montezuma Grade, and past the hamlet of Ranchita, then you are well aware of the inspiring vistas as you wind ...

Desert bighorn sheep big fans of Big Spring

Explore a major upper-elevation watering hole for desert wildlife

Big Spring is one of the dependable watering holes for desert bighorn sheep. It is found in a tributary of upper Tubb Canyon and is easily accessible. The trail within the spring area is jungle-like ...

Explore a relatively unknown canyon of Anza-Borrego

Head to Hornblende Canyon if you wanna rock

Hornblende Canyon twists and turns as it climbs the shoulder of Granite Mountain. It has a great variety of plants, some dry waterfalls, old mines, plus Native American sites with morteros. As part of the ...

Watch out for horse pies on Dead Horse Trail

This technically advanced riding trail is also a challenge for hikers.

Merigan Fire Road was the main road for a ranch owned by Dr. Haig Merigan, a pharmacist and dentist. His family lived and rode horses in La Mesa until it became difficult to ride due ...

Civita Park’s a work-in-progress

New public park in MIssion Valley opened on April 29

Built on a 70-year old sand-and-gravel quarry, Civita Park is a work-in-progress that will total 14.3 park acres centrally located in a 230-acre residential development. The top and bottom sections opened during Arbor Day weekend ...

Boulder Park builder allegedly paid a buck a day

Imagine climbing the 30% grade to reach this outpost along an old emigrant trail

The sculptures of Boulder Park have amused and surprised people for more than 80 years. W.T. Ratcliffe, an unemployed engineer during the Depression years, carved the stone sculptures in the 1930s where the natural shapes ...

Flora, fauna, and folks on San Luis Rey River bike trail

A quiet ride along the river

The San Luis Rey River bike trail is a multi-use trail that follows the San Luis Rey River, whose headwaters are in the Palomar Mountain range some 60 miles inland. The path runs along the ...

Look for — but don't take — the copper ore remains

Rancho La Costa Preserve was full of mines

The Rancho La Costa Preserve, located in the cities of Carlsbad and San Marcos, is a popular destination for both hikers and mountain bikers. Situated between Batiquitos Lagoon and Lake Hodges, the preserve serves as ...

Anza Borrego's Diablo — a triple divide peak

It confounds logic

It was the view from Diablo Peak’s north saddle that Anza-Borrego Desert State Park rangers first discovered Fish Creek’s popular Sandstone Canyon in the 1950s. The view of Sandstone Canyon continues to impress those who ...

Del Rey Canyon: a lesser known Chula Vista pocket canyon

South of East H Street, walk along the north-facing slope.

The Rancho del Rey community in Chula Vista is home to several urban canyons. Sometimes referred to as “pocket canyons” due to their relatively small size and the fact that they are tucked between more ...

Visit the hill where Alta California began

Presidio Park — try to channel Serra and Portola.

In 1769, Father Junípero Serra along with Gaspar de Portolá established the mission and presidio as the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast. There is minimal evidence of the original site just west of ...

Explore Borrego Palm Canyon’s less-visited neighbor, Henderson Canyon

Maybe spot a kettle of hawks

While Henderson Canyon lies just a few miles north of the very popular and often visited Hellhole and Borrego Palm canyons, it sees less activity and is a pleasant alternative for those wishing to avoid ...

Explore a short central city canyon under the Spruce Street suspension footbridge

Spruce Street suspension bridge needs no locks

This short walk is a good way to get a different view of the Spruce Street suspension bridge. It is a step back into San Diego’s early history. The walk to Arroyo Canyon starts at ...

Sinister nonnatives at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

View impressive ocean views and sandstone cliffs

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, a 68-acre City of San Diego regional park, offers spectacular sunset viewing, as implied by the name, however beauty can be found at any time of day. The park is most ...

Discover a hidden treasure on the UCSD campus

The short-leaf dudleya occurs nowhere else in the world.

Nestled on the north end of the UCSD campus, the trail through the Ecological Park is a true hidden treasure. The trail meanders through sections of the university’s planted Eucalyptus Grove and the Ecological Reserve, ...

Hike to Borrego Palm Canyon’s Third Grove

Go beyond the typical route and discover a less-visited section of the palm canyon

One of the most popular hikes in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail. On most weekends, there is a steady stream of people walking up this easy trail to the first ...

One of the easiest hikes in the San Diego area…if you're a mountain goat

The climb to Three Sisters is well worth it

While some in North America still shovel snow, San Diegans have the perfect venue for a hot March day — Three Sisters Falls, for a plunge in the frigid mountain water. The trail down to ...

Don’t damage the vernal pools in Carmel Mountain Preserve

This loop hike passes through chaparral and coastal sage scrub and has vernal pools in early spring

Carmel Mountain Preserve encompasses about 300 acres overlooking Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve with views of the ocean and, in wet springs, the trail passes within close proximity to several small vernal pools. This is ...

Hike from La Jolla Shores Beach to Torrey Pines State Beach

Miles of beach with shore birds, cliffs, and some rock scrambling

This hike offers views of breaking waves, tall, stratified cliffs, and shore birds such as the marbled godwit, whimbrel, and Heermann’s gull. Flying just above the waves you may see individuals or long lines of ...

Easy stroll around Discovery Lake in San Marcos

Immerse yourself in nature in any season at this neighborhood-friendly lake.

The loop around Discovery Lake in San Marcos makes a perfect hike for those who want to do a light and easy stroll but still see a diversity of species and beautiful lake scenery. This ...

The happiest place on earth, if you’re a dog

Mr. Good Boy want to go to Dog Beach?

It is hard to say who has more fun when watching the dogs and their humans play. Dog Beach, in Ocean Beach (O.B. to locals), was established in 1972 and has become a required destination ...

A lasso-shaped hike with options for distance and terrain

Poison oak awaits the unwary hiker in Descanso

The Descanso Sweetwater River Loop is a lasso-shaped hike that follows the Merigan Fire Road and then turns left onto the Saddleback Trail to start the loop. Make right turns onto the California Riding & ...

Views of Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain among the rewards

A gorgeous summit view of Poway and the surrounding mountains awaits the adventurous soul.

The Twin Peaks trailhead begins at Silverset Park, which is an ideal spot to park and head out onto the trail. For the adventurous souls who seek the summit, the trip is well worth the ...

Imagine eating woodrat stew in Felicita Park

Walk the site of one of the oldest and largest Native American villages in San Diego County.

Felicita Park provides a nice mix of easy-walking loop trails with negligible elevation conducive for young children in strollers and any fitness level. The ancient towering oaks provide shade, making this 53-acre fenced county park ...

Plenty of options on the trail to Hellhole Canyon

Trail options offer elevation loss up to 4000 feet through various life zones

This 8-mile spur of the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CRHT) rewards hikers with a variety of desert habitats, providing exceptional views of the San Ysidro Mountains, Borrego Valley, Santa Rosa Mountains, and Salton Sea. ...

Soot on your pants, the price of entry to Oasis Spring

Indulge your inner botanist on a hike that wins the orchid and overlook award

Perennial water, even in the form of a seep, is a rarity in San Diego County in a biological zone generally adapted to drought. Add to this a steep east-west canyon in a north-south mountain ...

A city canyon with a great variety of native plants

Easy access to 32nd Street Open Space

Along with ease of access and walkability, a unique feature of 32nd Street Open Space is the breadth of variety of the most common chaparral plants found across the county, which include California sagebrush, laurel ...

How Lizard Canyon got its name is no surprise

Hike in a desert canyon for a breathtaking geologic landscape

Rangers began exploring Anza-Borrego Desert State Park systematically during the 1950s. They kept detailed logs and recorded their findings. When a wash or canyon did not have a name, they assigned one. Ranger Frank Fairchild ...

Always something amazing in Wright’s Field Preserve

Never judge a book by its cover, nor a field by the smattering of grasses that you see

The trails along the Wright’s Field Preserve are the perfect spot to walk the family dog, go jogging, or just take a stroll on a Sunday afternoon. Historically, this area was critical to the early ...

Juniper Canyon’s evidence of tectonic plate activity

Experience feeling alone with nature in the middle of the city

Juniper Canyon Open Space is mainly an urban remnant of the local native coastal sage scrub, with some intermingling of chaparral and some weedy growth along the trail. The trail itself varies from a narrow ...

Our beaches looked like the East Coast’s millions of years ago

Sandstone pinnacles and pockets guide your way to the crashing waves below

Established to protect the life forms found within it, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve became an official state park in 1956. Found within its borders is the Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana), the rarest pine ...

A hike down in Maple Canyon

Explore a central city canyon under Quince Street and First Avenue bridges

An early start is highly recommended for prime parking, less traffic, and lower temperatures for this interesting walk below the Quince Street and First Avenue bridges that spanned Maple Canyon to allow access to streetcar ...

Sixty-five miles of trails in Balboa Park

Hike the perimeter loop

Balboa Park has 65 miles of trails that differ in length, difficulty, and scenery with 19 trails beginning at one of five gateways located at Golden Hill, Marston Point, Morley Field, Park Boulevard, and Sixth ...

Wet your toes on Torrey Pines Marsh Trail

The Marsh Trail is worth a visit for bird lovers, native-plant aficionados, and day-hikers.

The Torrey Pines Marsh Trail is not easily found, much like the cave of the hermit who carved a home out of the sandstone bluffs along the trail. The Marsh Trail does not appear on ...

Hosp Grove Park's east and west trails

An oasis in the heart of the city that many drive by daily never realizing it’s there

The dominant feature of Hosp Grove is the eucalyptus trees that were originally planted by F.P. Hosp in 1908. Believing that the fast-growing drought-tolerant Australian trees would be a great investment, he established the Hosp ...

Pleasant (if small) surprises in Mission Trail Regional Park

Rain reveals the most pleasant surprises

Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) is one of San Diego’s many treasures. It is one of the nation’s largest natural urban parks — one with a long history of use from Native Americans and Spanish ...

Noisy life along the Southern Wildlife Preserve

A hike along the San Diego River Estuary is a great way to see nature’s art in our own backyard.

Until the middle of the past century, the San Diego River flowed into a large wetland that encompassed parts of San Diego Bay as well as Mission Bay. However, periodic flooding deposited large amounts of ...

Rare oak dots the hike to Eagle Peak

This hike has breathtaking views of the San Diego River Gorge

The Eagle Peak Preserve, located about 4.5 miles north of Eagle Peak, is a conservation area managed by the San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF) that has breathtaking views of the San Diego River Gorge. ...

The Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail on foot

Explore a trail that has most of the diverse habitats found in the county

Santa Ysabel Creek is a major tributary of the San Dieguito River. As it flows near Ramona, it is separated into upper and lower branches by the Pamo Valley. The Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail ...

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