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Stories by The Canyoneers

Mission Trails’ 5-Peak Challenge — accepted!

Challenge yourself to a fitness adventure and do it at your own pace.

Hiking to the top of one or more of the major five peaks in Mission Trails Regional Park has always been an adventurous challenge for park visitors. The 5-Peak Challenge became a formal activity beginning ...

Quail and eucalyptus in Encinitas

Discover native habitat in these open space areas

This part of Encinitas is dominated by a dissected sandstone plateau, with an elevation of up to about 250 feet above sea level. A golf course and many large homes have been built on the ...

Find works by Nam June Paik at the UCSD Stuart Collection Art Walk

Continue discovering unusual works of art by leading artists.

This walk continues exploring the many works of art commissioned by the Stuart Collection in partnership with the University of California, San Diego campus. Part 1 left off at the university’s Media Center, where works ...

Rancho Bernardo – in the thick of North County suburbia

Neighborhood turn-around, olive tree fruit fly, drought, Presbyterians sued, Tony Pepperoni

A Feeling of Hope in Rancho Bernardo How do I even begin to tell you about the incredible turnaround my neighborhood has taken? I will start here. Hi, my name is Mychal McMahon. I am ...

UCSD Stuart Collection: sculptures and buildings that may be tricky to find

This walk is a treasure hunt for unusual works of art by leading artists.

One of the more intriguing walks in San Diego is on the University of California San Diego campus, where commissioned sculptures are integrated into site-specific works that may be tricky to find. The collection, named ...

William Heise’s Cedar Trail: a smell reminiscent of shoe polish

There is always something new to explore in this park.

Located at just over 4000 feet elevation, this 929-acre park is a mixture of forest and manzanita chaparral. Over 10 miles of hiking trails, ranging from short and easy to moderately challenging, lie within or ...

Coastal Rail Trail: Encinitas and Solana Beach

Walk through and along three city beaches on this promising hike.

The San Diego Coastal Rail Trail is an ongoing project that will ultimately provide a way to navigate the 44 miles between downtown San Diego and Oceanside without a car. Ideally, this will be mostly ...

Take the plunge at Three Sisters Falls

One of San Diego’s legendary trails gets a much needed face lift

While the rest of North America is shoveling snow, San Diegans have the perfect venue for a hot day – hiking to Three Sisters Falls and taking a plunge in the frigid mountain water. The ...

Many delights found on Grapevine Mountain, but no grapes

Views abound on this lofty desert peak

While no grapes are found on Grapevine Mountain, hikers will surely reap the fruits of their labor from the rewarding views atop this prominent desert peak. Boasting a plethora of views, including Shelter and San ...

Discover Village H and related trails in Carlsbad

Enjoy views of one of the most historic landscapes in North County

These trails take you to view-points overlooking one of the most historic landscapes in San Diego’s North County, as well as areas of rapid suburban development. You will also have close contact with remnants of ...

Coronado beach: from U.S. Naval Air Station North Island to the Amphibious Base

There is more than meets the eye to discover here.

Few places in San Diego have as deep a history of military and tourism co-existing in a spectacular natural environment as Coronado Island. The broad flat area we now call U.S. Naval Air Station North ...

Rancho La Costa Preserve: an alternative to the busy Denk Mountain trails

View diverse habitats, seasonal changes, and outstanding vistas.

The Rancho La Costa Preserve protects many native plant and animal species, some of which you may see on your visit. It also provides numerous scenic views. At nearly 1500 acres, it is one of ...

Marston Canyon: follow a creek bed from Richmond Street to CA-163

Discover a quiet urban canyon connected to the Balboa Park trails network.

This urban canyon just north of Balboa Park features a wide variety of native and non-native vegetation surrounding a cobblestone creek. The canyon follows a creek bed from Richmond Street to CA-163. Two parallel trails ...

La Mesa’s “The Stride” hike connects Jackson Park, La Mesita Park, and Lake Murray

Urban Trails Mobility Action Plan helps to make City Walks and Urban Trails program a reality

The City of La Mesa has launched a program called City Walks and Urban Trails as part of their Urban Trails Mobility Action Plan as a way to help connect the community. One of these ...

Rancho Peñasquitos, barely suburban

Anti-migrant white boys, Adam Lambert returns, riparian zone, pedestrian crossing signs, Evergreen Nursery, Lennar Homes

Beaner bashers They identify themselves as the border patrol. They demand money. The Mexican stranger drops the grocery bag and sprints into the valley. The teen-age boys shout taunts as the shadow disappears around a ...

Coastal Rail Trail: 44 miles from Oceanside to the Santa Fe Depot

This trail has both bike and hike options with ocean vistas.

The Coastal Rail Trails, when complete, will offer an opportunity to walk, hike, or bike (out of vehicular traffic) the 44 miles from Oceanside to the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. So far, ...

Jacumba – the far edge of San Diego

Across border in Jacume, De Anza nudists, In-Ko-Pah, Border Angels, hippie fest, flying saucers

A quiet street and an old hotel Jacumba is a kind of living ghost town out in southeast San Diego County, on the Mexican border, in what’s called, the Mountain Empire district. It has come ...

Spooner’s Mesa: once mesa top home to Olive and Christopher Spooner above the Tijuana River

See binational views from a borderline mesa

The Tijuana River drains 1750 square miles from the mountains of San Diego’s East County and Tecate (Mexico) crossing the international border to empty into the Pacific Ocean just south of Imperial Beach. The estuary ...

Good hiking and beautiful vistas at Los Santos Trail Loop near Murrieta

Take this hike to view old California—rolling hills, oaks, wildflowers, and wildlife.

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, near Murrieta in Riverside County, consists of 9000 acres and many hiking trails. The one described here has good hiking with lots of beautiful vistas; wildlife such as birds, coyotes, ...

Wooded Hill: the highest peak in San Diego County covered by trees

This hike is short but packed with great scenery, lots of shade, and an abundance of late-blooming native plants.

According to Jerry Schad, in his book Afoot and Afield in San Diego County, Wooded Hill is the highest peak in San Diego County that is covered by trees. The other nearby higher peaks are ...

Villagio And Arroyo Vista Trails connect inland areas to Batiquitos Lagoon

Walk along a corridor critical for wildlife to move between habitats.

The Villagio and Arroyo Vista trail segments in southern Carlsbad are part of a series of wildlife corridors which allow animals to move from coastal Batiquitos Lagoon to inland areas and vice versa. This suburban ...

Idyllic Tierrasanta

Traffic caused by Kaiser, Shepherd Canyon, hiking trails, dogs, Mission Trails, moving in from El Cajon

East Shepherd Canyon East Shepherd, or Greenbelt, trail is interesting in all seasons, with a combination of native coastal sage scrub and nonnative plants in the canyon. Walk north on Santo Road for about 160 ...

Sleepy Descanso

Roberts Ranch, Duncan McFetridge, drought, movie shooting, Border Fire, Blue Ribbon Loop

Roberts Ranch Opens its Gates to Hikers Thanks to the crusading efforts of Descanso cabinet-maker Duncan McFetridge, affectionately known by some as the "Robin Hood of Cleveland Forest," two inholdings (islands of private property inside ...

Lake Sutherland Dam: providing a component of San Diego’s drinking water

Explore the south side of the lake through chaparral and oak woodlands.

Starting from the parking area closest to the restrooms, make your way up the road to the kiosk marking the beginning of the trail, a service road that runs along the south side of Lake ...

Carmel Valley – the anxiety of a new suburb

Accidental pond, 56 interchange, Seabreeze Farms, Pacific Highlands Ranch, vernal pools, One Paseo, ice pant destruction, the advent of Pardee

Carmel Valley accidental pond to be drained More than 17 years ago, land owner Robert Barczewski had a grading crew push a pile of dirt into a dip in a dirt road on his private ...

Chollas Creek: threading City Heights, Encanto, Oak Park and other communities

Enjoy a creekside walk in urban San Diego.

Chollas Creek runs through urban San Diego and is part of the Pueblo Watershed, running 32 miles from its headwaters in La Mesa and Lemon Grove to where it drains into San Diego Bay in ...

Hear water bubbling over boulders in Santa Ysabel Creek in Boden Canyon

This beautiful canyon has an abundance of great plant diversity.

From the staging area, follow the trail leading east. In 0.14 mile, it curves around a ridge and heads south into Clevenger Canyon, parallel to Hwy 78, but well below it. In about half a ...

Martha’s Grove Loop: in memory of park ranger Martha Harville

Enjoy great views in diverse landscapes and habitats

Martha’s Grove Trail is designated for one-way hiking only, so once you leave the parking lot, you are almost immediately climbing up a well-maintained trail. You get an expansive view of the Goodan Ranch in ...

Old Town remains one of the most visited areas in the state

New World meets Old World at the base of Presidio Hill

In 1769, Gaspar de Portolá established a fort, or presidio, very close to the Kumeyaay village of Koss’ai (Cosoy), overlooking the San Diego River. Mission San Diego was founded on the same hill location just ...

Lower Santa Ysabel Trail: traverse a magnificent forest of large coast live oaks

Hike through shady oak woodlands and enjoy outstanding mountain views

This trail offers plenty of shade and interesting things to see and investigate nearly year round. You will find a continuously changing array of wildflowers and blooming shrubs and trees from November to late May ...

LA politician Manchester Boddy dug five ponds, built greenhouses, to create Wilderness Gardens Preserve

The mile-long Frank Special Trail leads you through a shady oak woodland and up the chaparral-covered hillside

For a brief time in the 20th century, the Wilderness Gardens property was owned and named by Manchester Boddy, a Los Angeles politician, publisher, and horticulturist. For his “wilderness,” he dug five ponds, built greenhouses ...

Barber Mountain Trail: used for SDG&E power line access, border patrol, fire response, and a little foot traffic

Walk through miles of unspoiled chaparral and uninhabited vistas.

Before the major wildfires of 2003 and 2007 and the installation of the Sunrise Power Link, Barber Mountain Road was a jeep road that connected upper Deerhorn Valley to Honey Springs Road. Since that time, ...

Enjoy lunch at Agua Caliente Creek on the Pacific Crest Trail

Take this hike for Lake Henshaw views and a wilderness experience

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a well-traveled 2,650-mile trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Along this trail are many day-hike or overnight backpacking possibilities. Here in San Diego County, we have ...

Lightning Ridge Trail: find Horse Heaven Group Campground off Laguna Mountain

Despite the name, this is not a horse camp.

Lightning Ridge Trail is accessible and enjoyable during all seasons, but especially beautiful in the spring and summer, when flowers and shrubs are blooming. This is a good time to hike this trail, especially with ...

Visit Santee’s Rattlesnake Mountain... but stay on the trail

This short hike leads to a spectacular view of East County

Rattlesnake Mountain is best known to East County residents as the mountain that has the illuminated star during the holiday season that is visible for miles. It is just east of Gillespie Field. Apart from ...

Dredging large dirt parking lot opened up the tidal flow for San Dieguito Lagoon

Today the lagoon is full of plant and bird life

San Dieguito Lagoon is the largest of San Diego County’s six lagoons and is part of the 92,000-acre San Dieguito River Park. The park contains the Coast to Crest Trail, which will eventually run from ...

Anza-Borrego’s Lycium Wash via Split Mountain Road: a more primitive experience

Hike along an ancient sea bottom with multi-hued hillsides

Located south of Ocotillo Wells, Lycium Wash via Split Mountain Road is about 45 minutes from Anza Borrego Desert State Park’s Visitor Center, making it an ideal hike for those wishing to have a more ...

Walk the Embarcadero along Harbor Drive and the airport

Stop at the Star of India, USS Midway Museum, Tuna Harbor, Marine Park and enjoy great views

San Diego Harbor not only bounds downtown to the west, it also marks the edge of a rich habitat. As you look out to the bay, you can see Coronado/North Island. Technically, the “island” is ...

Spot the California least tern near Fiesta Island’s Stony Point

The isolation of the island surrounded by food sources became a good place for the terns to build their nest

Not far from land, but safe from predators such as snakes, coyotes, raccoons, and domestic animals, the California least terns make their nests on Stony Point on Fiesta Island. This federally-listed endangered species primarily eats ...

Find wild cucumber, mushrooms, and ocean views along the old San Diego Beach Railroad in La Jolla and Birdrock

Also look for the "cowboy cologne" coastal sagebrush for pioneers who wanted to freshen up!

The La Jolla/Bird Rock Bike Path begins at the southern end of Bird Rock at the intersection of La Jolla Hermosa and Camino de la Costa. On the north end, the trail turns around when ...

Daley Ranch: from Kumeyaay harvest ground to Robert Daley’s illegal squatting

Coyote Run and Diamondback are popular trails

The Daley Ranch in Escondido offers a little bit of heaven for all of its visitors. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians can find trails that vary from easy to difficult, dirt to paved, narrow to wide. ...

Hike to the Audubon Nature Center and Buena Vista Lagoon in Carlsbad

This freshwater lagoon is a great place to observe a variety of birds.

In 1969, the Buena Vista Lagoon was set aside as California’s first ecological reserve. It continues to be a refuge for birds and other wildlife and can be a great place to observe migrating waterfowl, ...

Coyote Canyon and Rockhouse Canyon, once home to Coyote people, traveled to the territory of cat people to find marriage partners

Discover a hidden playa filled with landslide alluvium

Coyote Mountain is sandwiched between the Coyote Creek fault and the Coyote Mountain/Clark Lake fault within the San Jacinto Fault Zone. Pressure from these right-lateral faults has caused the uplift creating Coyote Mountain and the ...

The Sentenac Birding Trail: from San Felipe Creek migratory bird wetland to smaller resident bird shelter

Enjoy Sentenac Cienega while birdwatching

The Birding Trail was established at a time when San Felipe Creek discharged into a large wetland, or cienega, with intermittent pools of open water. It was an important stop for migratory birds. The pools ...

Brazilian author Paulo CoeIho’s The Valkyries made Glorietta Canyon internationally known

His “Black Madonna” was once found on a boulder at the mouth of the canyon

This little canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is only a hop, skip, and a short off-road drive southwest of downtown Borrego Springs. It is a popular local canyon for day hikes, and surprisingly, internationally ...

The Painted Gorge: from under the sea to desert region

Ancient seas and minor impurities in granitic and volcanic rocks give rise to the vivid colors

The Painted Gorge near Ocotillo and Plaster City offers the opportunity to explore the brightly colored mud hills of an ancient marine layer and volcanic flows. This particular excursion is of variable length and difficulty, ...

Harper Canyon: home to ironwood trees, dramatic geology and desert bighorn sheep

This remote Anza-Borrego canyon is for the experienced hiker

Harper Canyon is home to hundreds of magnificent ironwood trees (Olneya terota). They can become quite large and, though the pinnately compound leaves don’t provide abundant shade, they are evergreen and attractive year around. Since ...

Hoyt Park Trail: A quiet canyon shaded by eucalyptus trees

Explore a popular hiking trail in Scripps Ranch

The Hoyt Park Trail in Scripps Ranch offers a chance to escape traffic and crowds in a quiet canyon shaded by eucalyptus trees. It is a short distance from the Scripps Ranch Village Shopping Center ...

Urban canyoneering

The lush low places of City Heights

Olivia Canyon. also known as 47th Street Canyon, is the eastern-most canyon of the City Heights Canyons Loop Trail system. There are five trailheads into this canyon. Near the entry at 47th Street, you will ...

Pamo Valley: isolated from the sounds of the city

Explore this newly completed link on the Coast to Crest Trail

Pamo Valley is a beautiful, peaceful little valley that seems very isolated in spite of its closeness to nearby Ramona. Though you are within a few miles of town, you can no longer hear the ...