Los Penasquitos Canyon East Hike
12350 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92129
Distance: 6.4 miles, Level: Moderate
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve has a long looping trail system open year round. This flat 6.4 mile out and back trail will lead you through Oak and Sycamore tree groves as you wrap around to a scenic waterfall, the ultimate snack spot. You will be pleasantly surprised when you're strolling this trail under the tree groves, because when you first pull into the parking area you see suburban development bordering the area. There are parts of this riparian wilderness along the creek that are so lush and dense it will fool your senses into believing you're in a far away land. Something to keep in mind is that typically where there is water and oak trees there is poison ivy. Keep in mind the old saying “Leaves of three, let it be.”
To begin this trail start in the southwest corner of the Canyonside Community Park, where parking is free. You will see well labeled signs signaling the trail head. The trail has a handful of offshoots which are all equally beautiful and will eventually meet back up to the main trail. You will also see a side trail to the historic Rancho Penasquitos Adobe Ranch House, you can tour this location or simple stop by along the trail to visit some of their barnyard animals as you pass by.
A lot of this hike is shaded but there are long parts without shade, so don't forget your sunscreen. When you've reached a little over 3 miles you will see the turn off for the waterfall, strip your socks off and soak your toes for a bit! This flat trail is accessible with a stroller or baby carrier. Wearing your normal workout clothes and running shoes are recommended. There are not many restaurants nearby, it's suggested to pack some food and enjoy it on the trail or at the picnic tables near the parking lot.