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Stories by The Canyoneers

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 ...

Get in the Peñasquitos Creek riparian zone

This scenic loop follows a creek and has some great views.

The Trans-County Trail is one of several regional trail systems being developed in San Diego County. The Regional Trails Plan includes a total of nine trails that will eventually provide significant north-south and east-west trail ...

Listen for the “wacka-wacka” in Live Oak Park

Visit one of the oldest parks in the county and discover an Indian kitchen

Live Oak County Park is one of the area’s oldest parks where Fallbrook is said to have begun. It is a sprawling 27-acre tract in the middle of an old-growth grove of coast live oaks, ...

Secret Canyon: Pine Valley Creek Wilderness Trail

Follow the verdant corridor of Pine Valley Creek, cross a gorge, and follow a historic flume.

Pine Valley Creek flows from the Laguna Mountains into Barrett Reservoir, passing through Secret Canyon on its descent. Most of the trail (about 14 miles) traverses the 13,000-acre Pine Creek Wilderness in the Cleveland National ...

A climb up sacred Tecate Peak

Climb a sacred peak for expansive vistas of both the U.S. and Mexico

Tecate Peak is a 3885-foot border sentinel, visible from both Baja California, Mexico, and from Southern California. The actual summit is less than a mile north of the border in California, with a service road ...

Where endangered species thrive

An island in Encinitas

The Manchester Preserve is an island in an urban-suburban setting where endangered species such as the Del Mar manzanita, Orcutt’s hazardia, San Diego thornmint, and California gnatcatcher can thrive. Since the Center for Natural Lands ...

Cuyamaca Rancho’s East Mesa Loop — this trail has it all

This rugged, less-visited, and gorgeous side of the park features mountain views, rolling grasslands, dark forests, and deep canyons.

Most visitors to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park see the reservoir, hike Cuyamaca and Stonewall peaks, and visit Green Valley, but fewer set out for the East Mesa, which is strange because this area contains some ...

Mother offers grape-soda lupine and wine cup clarkia

Spectacular views of distant ridges and grasslands from this rolling plateau

Prior the 2003 Cedar Fire, the Cuyamaca Mountains in general, and this area in particular, had a beautiful forest of mature shady oaks and tall pines, with occasional openings of grassy meadows. The area is ...

Walker Preserve segment opens on the San Diego River Trail

Santee preserve features a 1.3-mile trail along the San Diego River

This trail adds another segment to the San Diego River Trail, which will eventually stretch 52 miles from the river headwaters in the Cuyamaca Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The property that makes up the ...

Take an alternative scenic route to Cuyamaca Peak

Conjeos Trail Loop via Milk Ranch Road

The Conejos Trail in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a beautiful, less-traveled trail with a striking view of Lake Cuyamaca to the northeast, Middle Peak and North Peak to the north, and El Capitan Reservoir ...

The mountain forest as it appeared before the 2003 Cedar Fire

Re-experience Cuyamaca Reservoir and Stonewall Mine

Unlike most of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the trees that enhanced the beauty of this park were not heavily damaged or destroyed on the peninsula in Lake Cuyamaca by the 2003 Cedar Fire. As a ...

Encounter shy mariposa lily and showy penstemon on Desert View Trail

Gaze into the desert from this mountain viewpoint.

For the first-time visitor to the lush green pine and oak forest covering the more than 6000-foot Mount Laguna, it can be astonishing to learn that the desert is only a short distance away. If ...

Among the rarest of pines and heaviest of hummingbirds on Razor Point Trail

This short hike has sandstone badlands, a gorge, a sweeping coastline, and the namesake Torrey Pines.

The Razor Point Trail in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve meanders through high-quality southern maritime chaparral habitat, offering stunning glimpses of the Pacific Ocean before ending at an outlook. The Razor Point Trail offers many ...

Strollers, botanizers, and runners on Broken Hill Trail

Emerge from the chaparral to spectacular ocean views

The Broken Hill Trail is the longest and one of the most scenic trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, winding through a thicket of chaparral until the trail opens up to reveal spectacular ocean ...

Best access to San Luis Rey River’s wild side

Experience a free-flowing river with the possibility of a cool dip.

There are relatively few places where the public has access to the San Luis Rey River in its native wild state. For most of its 55-mile length it has been extensively modified by flood-control projects, ...

Lots to do at Chollas Lake Park, but...biodiversity is not high

Enjoy the many possible activities in this urban getaway

Named for the cholla cactus found in the area, Chollas Lake Reservoir was built in 1901 to serve San Diego’s water supply. The 16-acre lake was turned over to the city’s Department of Park and ...

Los Jilgueros, a small retreat in suburban Fallbrook

Relax in this small preserve with great wooded areas and wetlands

This 46-acre nature preserve was an orchard and farmland before it was acquired by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy (FLC) as their first acquisition. There is still some farm equipment and waterworks visible. For its small ...

Abundance of fire-followers on the trail to Foster Point

Observe post-fire succession on this hike to a scenic overlook.

In 1968, the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club built a small trail east of their Guyman Lodge to an overlook that they named Foster Point in honor of the chapter founders, Loris and ...

Roberts Ranch denied developers and spared from 2003 fires

An easy walk through open grassland meadows and mature oak groves

Roberts Ranch is a hidden jewel nestled on either side of I-8 at the foot of the Cuyamaca Mountains. There is no sign announcing its presence, so this is a hike experienced only by those ...

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