Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike for our family. Kids are 12, 11 and 8. They had no problem . . . A little candy along the way didn’t hurt. It was 4.7 miles and took 1hr50min. A steep section in the loop was the only difficult portion.

mountain biking
13 days ago

Pretty good trail..

mountain biking
14 days ago

Nice trail

hiking
14 days ago

I will do this hike again. Mostly flat with a couple inclines. One major one as you loop around and head up and back. Lots of big black and red ants. If you take a dog, put shoes on him.

I hiked this Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area trail in the early morning while it was still cool (August).

Trail is well established, but caution as other trails cross or intersect. Moderate use by hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. Some trail sections have lots of rocks. I did use hiking poles because I hike at a fast pace. Lots of oak trees, olive trees, coastal sagebrush and buckwheat. Wildlife is plentiful. I saw three Red Tail hawks, a Downy woodpecker, other birds, rabbits (I posted rabbit photo that wasn’t too shy). The trail is by a creek, but no water in the summer months. I choose to hike the north side of the loop and come back through Hollenbeck Canyon. The sun in my eyes. Next time I would hike the Hollenbeck Canyon side of the loop first before the sun comes over the ridge.

Lots of parking at the trailhead, including a port-a-potty. You now have to hold California Department of Fish and wildlife (CDFW) Land Pass. Sign posted with website (https://wildlife.ca.gov/license/lands-pass), where you can purchase online or you can call (800) 565-1458 pay over the phone and get a temporary authorization number (TAN). Choices are; day use pass ($4.32) or an annual pass ($25.00) Note: Login online as a guest for day pass, but annual pass will require you to sign in as a member. However, if you already have a hunting, fishing or or trapping license, you do not need to pay. Each visitor must have their own pass and keep on their person, not placed in vehicle.

Have done this many times in the past. its an amazing place after it rains and turns green everywhere. dept of f and g started enforcing permits. so now you need a day pass, or valid hunting/fishing license to go walking outdoors, so fyi. lame.

One of my favorites. My favorite in chula vista

Beautiful trail. Ran into a rattlesnake along the trail overlooking the canyon...I stepped towards a big rock with a flat surface with the intention of placing my backpack on it when I heard a loud hiss and looked down to see a rattlesnake, partially covered in shadow, nestled in between the big flat-top rocks and smaller rocks. Stay alert!

hiking
5 months ago

Early in the morning there's alot of wildlife.

trail running
5 months ago

FYI need to purchase day pass. They offer annual passes but you must purchase those in advance.

Nice hike and most of it is fairly easy. It is pretty steep up and down during the loop portion. The hike is mostly sunny and the only shade is near the trail head. There are many trails out there and they are not labeled well, so check the app occasionally if you are recording. This area requires a land pass for usage that you can buy online for about $4. I would hike this again and bring the kids.

Excellent!

What a great trail! I'm a beginner and found this to me beautiful, scenic and doable for children and adults. Good rocks for footing, and hardly any slipping areas. But in drier season could be more risk of slips. But that may be with any trail.

Can't wait to bring my 10 and 16 year old!

This is one of my favorite trails. I love that it’s away from the city, and you actually get to experience some beautiful nature and wildlife. (I come from the Sierra Nevadas, so I need nature.) I have seen many different lizards, frogs, birds, and a few different snakes...even picked up a Rosy Boa. (They are very docile snakes, even in the wild.)
The trail is long enough that it makes you feel accomplished. It’s beautiful the whole way through. The trail changes scenery as you walk. It starts out being open, then you walk through trees and eventually walk along a creek. Then you walk along side a cliff that over looks a canyon. Then you climb a hill and once at the top you have some nice views. A lot of the walk back down is gorgeous with the views. The trail goes in a loop, so you end up walking back in the middle of the trail you came up on.

A real beaut! Nice and flat most of the way. hiked this in the rain, I felt like I was in England, but I've never been to England, so I don't know. Wouldn't have been surprised if I had seen a unicorn calmly lapping from the brook this trail follows for the middle third of the hike, but alas, I did not. Perhaps I didn't believe hard enough. Highly recommend for an easy-moderate hike.

Great hike with incredible scenery.

hiking
7 months ago

The Alltrails map is woefully inadequate. There are dozens of trails here that are not shown on your map. You could hike every day for months and still see new country in this wonderful area. It is also great for mountain bikes. Get into the back country by bike, then hike the steep trails, then fly back on the bike downhill.

Beautiful and not many people.

nice, flat and scenic

Lovely hike. Important to note that this is an area that requires a Land Pass. Nobody checked ours, but it’s safe to get one ahead of time.

Great little hike! Lots of greenery made it not feel like the traditional San Diego desert hike. It was flat almost the whole way and had great views. We didn’t find the trail particularly hard to follow, and our dog had a great time. We’ll probably go back sometime!

This is a wonderful trail with hills and valleys and you are in sunlight most of time. NOTE: the sad thing is the trails are marked poorly. A first timer or even second timer will actually have a hard time navigating as where to turn, etc. this could all be taken care of in a few hours if the folks in charge of this trail would get off their butts and actually do something here. I love the trail. I am visiting out here for a month and it took me a few times to decide which trail to use in order to get back to the trail head. Also, maybe a bench at the trail head would be nice too. Whoops, we wouldn’t want to over do things and and make it too friendly of a place.

walking
10 months ago

We loved the time we spent walking in Hollenbeck, but we were confused by the trail signs. All the maps show a perfectly discernible loop, which we never figured out. There were many unmarked forks. Our total mileage was 6.8 mi, and most of the time we felt lost. Granted, lost in a beautiful place but confused nonetheless. If someone can explain the color codes on the trailmarkers, I'd appreciate it.

hiking
10 months ago

It was a perfect 70 degrees. Everything was very dry with only a few spots of greenery. Tree coverage was nice throughout. Lovely spots with boulders.
Was an easy hike with only a few up hills, only one of them being moderately steep. Some loose gravel on the way down. The view was beautiful at the top. Best part is we encountered a gorgeous rattle snake on the way down.
If you keep right on the trail, it’ll take you on the loop. It was beautiful, but definitely not lush during this season. It’s a good trail if you’re getting away from city life though. Didn’t run into more than 3 people the whole time. It was about 5.5 miles round trip. Took us around 2 1/2 hrs, but we were taking our time exploring.
Jamul area has beautiful trails. I recommend this one.

hiking
10 months ago

I love to come to the trail when I have a free morning to explore a bit. You can go as far as you wish or do the full loop. It is lovely to walk through some healthy open oak woodland for the first mile or so (much appreciated shade!). The dogs love exploring here as well. Well maintained, wide trail. Don't stray too far to the edges off the trail, lots of poison oak like many other places in San Diego.

hiking
11 months ago

Really gorgeous hike! My girlfriend hurt her ankle so we were looking for something simple and not strenuous - this hike was perfect. One big hill up when you get to the loop - the hill down on the other side of the loop had a bit of loose rock but it was manageable. Path on the loop back along got a little narrow but the views were amazing.

I like hiking early soon arrived at 7am, I was enjoying my hike almost an hour in and heard gunshots apparently during this time people like to bird hunt or whatever so be cautious and pay attention when coming out.

birding
Monday, October 09, 2017

Great hike! There isn't much shade except along the river but otherwise nice open views of some surrounding mountains, sage scrub and meadows. We saw only a few people on a Sunday and really had most of the hike to ourselves.

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Have hiked out here several times over the years. Always enjoy it no matter which way you go. We prefer hiking here when it's cooler as we bring our dog. We have encountered hunters at least twice. Oh, and be careful where you drop your pants as there are a few wildlife cameras that we have noticed. :)

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