Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
LOCATION: Intersection of Camino del Sur & Park Village Road
MAP + INFO: LOS PENASQUITOS CANYON PRESERVE
PARKING: Free lot
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: Easy
APPX. LENGTH OF TIME: 2 hours
My expectations were pretty low for a hike smack in the middle of suburbia. This was one of those times when I happily embraced my wrongness.
The 4,000 acre Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve stretches seven miles—from the Interstate 5/805 merge to just east of Interstate 15—between Rancho Peñasquitos and Sorrento Mesa.
On this particular trail, you’ll just scratch the tip of the canyon…and wander through fields, alongside rolling hills and mountains, through sycamore groves, and around and across a babbling creek. If you follow the trail just 1.75 miles from the parking lot near Peñasquitos Creek Park, you can sit atop one of several boulders listening to a rarity in San Diego’s nature scene—the sound of water cascading down from a waterfall.
This little aquatic treasure will have your heart pumping faster than most of the terrain on this part of the easy trail, so if you’re looking for a cardio workout, bring your running shoes or climb (and re-climb) those boulders near the waterfall. Oh, and there is more than one ideal place for an old-fashioned picnic here—like under those sycamore trees I mentioned.