The trail passes through a variety of habitats including riparian woodland, marsh, coastal sage scrub, and chaparral, presenting many opportunities for bird watching and observing nature. There are several rare and endangered birds, including the Bell's Vireo and California Gnatcatcher, found here. The threatened Orcutt's bird's-beak plant may also be seen. This is an easy 2 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 200 feet.
(Chula Vista) From I-5, exit east on Main St. and go 0.9 mile. Turn right on Broadway and go 0.3 mile. Continue onto Beyer Blvd. and go 0.3 mile. Turn left on Kaanapali Way and park. Walk back to the ranger station on Beyer Blvd. to meet the Canyoneer host. Facilities. (GPS N32.587030, W117.071296)
Enjoy native plants and birds in a space preserved by the city of Encinitas. Several threatened or endangered species, such as San Diego thornmint and the California Gnatcatcher bird, occur in this protected area. A view of neighboring hills and mountains can be obtained from a high point on the trail. There are steep stairs at entrance and ruts along the trail. This is an easy 4 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Encinitas) From I-5, go east on Manchester Ave. for 1 mile. Continue onto South El Camino Real. Go 0.7 mile. Turn right on Calle Ryan and go 0.3 mile. Park at the end of the road. No facilities. (GPS N33.030441, W117.251621)
The Lower Santa Ysabel Trail, now reserved for hikers and equestrians, takes you beside a lush riparian forest of towering sycamores, willows, cottonwoods, and spreading oaks, draped with native grape vines as it travels beside or above Santa Ysabel Creek, then climbs up into bordering patches of grassland and chaparral. This is an intermediate 5 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 1000 feet.
(Ramona) From CA-67, go north on 7th St. for 0.2 mile. Turn right on Elm St. Go 1.4 miles. Turn right on West Haverford Rd. Go 0.1 mile. Turn left on Pamo Rd. Go 2.4 miles. Trailhead is on the left and is designated Forest Route 12S04/Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail. No facilities. (GPS N33.103395, W116.857321)
Visit a Kumeyaay cultural area where foods were processed leaving deep morteros in the granitic rock. Then visit the home of Marshal South, a homesteader in the 1930s and Ô40s who emulated Kumeyaay ways. This is an intermediate 3 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Shelter Valley) Take CA-78/79 to Julian and turn right on CA-78 E (Main St.) and go 11.5 miles. Turn right on Great Southern Overland Stage Rte. (S-2). Go 6 miles to the signed entrance to Blair Valley on the left side of the road. Meet the Canyoneer host in the parking area by the vault toilets, then caravan to the Morteros and Ghost Mountain. Facilities. (GPS N33.037184, W116.409256)
This 78-acre park is a hidden treasure. This trail is a special treat with beautiful views of the park and surrounding hills and an abundance of unusually large and healthy native plant species. After the walk enjoy watching waterfowl at the pond. This is an easy 1 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 200 feet.
(Ramona) From I-15, exit east on Scripps Poway Pkwy. and go 8.6 miles. Turn left on CA-67 and go 7.4 miles. Turn right onto Mussey Grade Rd. and go 1.1 miles. Turn right on Dos Picos Park Rd. and go 0.6 mile. Turn left into the main park entrance and meet near the picnic tables. Facilities. (GPS N32.999141, W116.939270)
This site offers a wide variety of seasonal wildflowers on a downhill walk to the Warlock Mine. Re-energize with lunch before you begin your return, which is uphill all the way. This is an intermediate 3 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 1000 feet.
(Julian) Drive east 1 mile from Julian on CA-78. Turn right on Whispering Pines Dr., then make an immediate sharp right turn onto Banner Rd. Go 0.1 mile. Turn left on Woodland Rd. Go 0.3 mile (passing Miners Ct.). Park on the street at the end of the road. No facilities. (GPS N33.078505, W116.583982)
This trail has panoramic views of the Three Sisters Waterfalls. On a clear day, the view from the peak can extend to the ocean. This is an intermediate 4 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 1500 feet.
(Descanso) From I-8, take CA-79 north for 1.3 miles. Turn left on Riverside Dr. and go 1 mile.Turn left on Viejas Grade Rd., then make an immediate right past the store onto Oak Grove Dr. Go 1.6 miles. Turn right on Boulder Creek Rd. Go 13 miles (the last 7 miles is on a well-kept dirt road) to a hairpin turn that intersects Cedar Creek Rd. at the trailhead. The trailhead is for both Three Sisters Falls and Eagle Peak with Cedar Creek Fire Rd. slightly to the north. Park near the hairpin turn. No facilities. (GPS N32.984544, W116.677112)
This quiet canyon is home to a variety of wildlife, including several species of birds of prey. Walk past magnificent sycamores and other riparian vegetation along an old creek bed into areas where dense chaparral mixes with coastal sage scrub at the top of the mesa. This is an intermediate 3 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 200 feet.
(Sorrento Valley) From I-5 N, exit on Sorrento Valley Rd. and then turn left on Roselle St. and go 0.1 mile. Turn right on Sorrento Valley Blvd. and go 1.1 miles. Parking lot is on the right. Alternate route: From I-5 S, take the I-5 Local Bypass then go east on Carmel Mountain Rd. for 0.3 mile. Turn right on Vista Sorrento Pkwy. and go 1.4 miles. Turn left on Sorrento Valley Blvd. and go 0.9 mile. Parking lot is on the right. Alternate route: From I-805, exit on Sorrento Valley Rd. and turn left on Vista Sorrento Pkwy. Go 1.1 miles. Turn right on Sorrento Valley Blvd. and go 0.9 mile. Parking lot is on the right. (4280 Sorrento Valley Blvd.). Facilities. (GPS N32.906792, W117.207241)
The historic cattle ranch is part of the property that was once the home of Augustus and Martha Barnett, whose adobe ranch house still stands. We'll find multiple habitats including coast live oak and Engelmann oak woodlands, coastal sage-chaparral scrub, and non-native grasslands. There are also several small ponds that fill up after the rains, adding interest to this hike. A variety of birds can be found here, including White-tailed Kites, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Loggerhead Shrikes, and Golden Eagles. This is an easy 4 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 200 feet.
(Ramona). Take CA-67 N to Ramona. Turn right onto 10th St. In 0.4 mile, the road curves to the right and changes its name to San Vicente Rd. Continue on San Vicente Rd. and go 2.6 miles and then turn right onto Deviney Ln. Park in the staging area to meet the Canyoneer host. Facilities. (GPS N33.001238, W116.863386)
Spectacular geologic formations and desert landscapes show effects of weathering. Examine nolina (beargrass) as well as high-desert vegetation. Note: This hike starts and ends at an Old Highway 80 embankment and involves some boulder scrambling with loose gravel. This is an intermediate 4 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 1000 feet.
(Jacumba Wilderness Area) From 1-8 E, exit on Mountain Springs Rd. (past Jacumba). Turn left under the freeway and park in the open area on the right. We will caravan to the starting point on Old Hwy. 80. High clearance vehicle required. No facilities. (GPS N32.677823, W116.098719)
See a wide variety of plants representing coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Observe many seasonal wildflowers and birds on this hike. This is an easy 4 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Carmel Valley) From I-5, exit east on Del Mar Heights Rd. and go 1.4 miles. Turn left on Lansdale Dr. Go 0.5 mile. Turn left onto Sword Way. Go 0.5 mile. Meet the Canyoneer host at the start of the trail, on left. No facilities. (GPS N32.966296, W117.214247)
This trek starts on a ridgeline with expansive views of backcountry and south toward Mexico and Cameron Valley as it ascends up the gentle-to-moderate slope composed of interesting rock formations that will delight geology enthusiasts. It then drops into a valley lined with chamise, mountain blue curls, and big berry manzanita. The reward on the trip comes at Cibbets Flat where Kitchen Creek tumbles over granitic rock and ponds among the cottonwoods and willows. This is an intermediate 6 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Buckman Springs) Take I-8 E to Buckman Springs Rd. Turn right at the first stop sign (Buckman Springs Rd.) and left at the second stop sign (Old Hwy. 80). Proceed for 2 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail parking area on the right (just before the Forest Service campground). No facilities. (GPS N32.732066, W116.483295)
Hike into the North Pinyon Mountains, the site of many desert mine locations. Visit a large Kumeyaay village site with hundreds of agave-roasting pits. This is an easy 5 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Tamarisk Grove) Take CA-78/79 to Julian and turn right on Main St. Continue on CA-78 (Banner Rd.) and go 21.2 miles. Meet the Canyoneer host at the beginning of Mine Wash Rd. (2.7 miles past Yaqui Pass Rd.) 4WD or high-clearance vehicles are needed to reach the actual trailhead. Facilities. (GPS N33.132884, W116.333960)
This hike is a reminder of the past glory of the Cuyamaca Mountains, as the trees here were not destroyed or heavily damaged by the 2003 Cedar Fire. Additionally, the area is steeped in history. It was in the early 1870s that gold was first discovered in the Julian area, sparking a gold rush that lasted over 20 years. This is an intermediate 6 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Descanso) From I-8 E, exit at CA-79. Turn left and go 2.6 miles. Turn left to stay on CA-79 and go 10.7 miles to the Trout Pond parking area on the right (0.5 mile past Stonewall Mine turnoff). No facilities. (GPS N32.976487, W116.580996)
Encounter windswept vegetation and chaparral scrub forests on cliffs overlooking San Diego Harbor on this 2-mile round-trip hike. Remnants of World War II defense installations are visible. The return walk is all uphill. This is an intermediate 2 mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 500 feet.
(Point Loma) Take I-8 W to the end, then turn left on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and go 0.1 mile. Keep left on Nimitz Blvd. and go 0.6 mile. Exit right on Famosa Blvd./Catalina Blvd. Turn right on Catalina Blvd. and continue 2.7 miles onto Cabrillo Memorial Dr. and follow it 2.5 miles to the monument. Park by the Visitor Center. Meet on the sidewalk to the lighthouse (next to the road). Facilities at the Visitor Center. (GPS N32.673922, W117.240193)