Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail is a 7.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near San Diego, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.4 miles Elevation Gain: 147 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

PLEASE NOTE: Roads and trails in this area might be closed to flooding/wet conditions. Please contact the park before visiting to determine trail conditions. This is a generally flat hike that you can make as long or as short as you like. There are runners, walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders and people of all sorts on this shady and sunny walk. The trails are well maintained and marked. You can stay on the main drag or jog off on the single lane trails that always eventually meet up with the two main trails.

hiking
rocky
3 hours ago

Great trail. Very flat until the falls. Nice walk out. Lots of people and dogs. The actual falls were pretty crowded but you can climb to an open spot. $3 for parking!

hiking
3 days ago

I have lived at the end of Park Village Ave for over 25 years and have hiked every inch of this beautiful area. This is a truly special wilderness preserve in an urban area. It has been overseen and protected by The Friends of Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, a non-profit dedicated to keeping this jewel intact, supported, and viable for the future. We welcome visitors and encourage them to use these limited and dwindling resources. Unfortunately I have to agree with others with recent reports that this valuable recreational area is being used, exploited, for purposes it wasn't originally intended for, and by people who are not respecting both the rights and safety of others as well as the canyon and preserve itself. I hike nearly every day and am sad to report that in over 90% of the encounters I have with other people, or groups, nobody is respecting social distancing (every time it is me who has to stop and step off the trail to let others pass) and only a handful are wearing face coverings (I always have a mask I pull up during every encounter, except for bikers who come up behind me often without warning). The Park Rangers and support staff are stressed and overwhelmed with the influx of people who might find a more enjoyable experience if they were to go to a beach or a boardwalk, instead of what used to be a quiet, serene, immaculate, wilderness experience. PLEASE come and enjoy the canyon, but also PLEASE look up the 7 principals behind Leave No Trace, a framework of minimum impact practices that outdoor enthusiasts have followed for decades if not centuries.

hiking
3 days ago

I used to love this trail before quarantine. I would go on weekdays and see less than a dozen other people. Since it’s been reopened there are more people here than ever before, and barely any of them wear face masks. Groups of people, blasting music, taking up the entire trail and not staying 6 feet away. Litter everywhere. It’s obnoxious and nothing is being done about it. I won’t be returning until quarantine is over and the obnoxious amateurs go back to whatever they were doing before.

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

We picked this trail because we could take our dog. We had no idea that half of the trail would be loose gravel. Do not take your dog unless you put booties on your dog to protect their feet. The waterfall at the end was packed with people and social distancing as well as wearing a face mask were non existent. Trash was along the trail. I would not recommend it. Lots of people carrying their loud music. If you are looking for an escape, this is not it.

Easy trail, lots of people.

hiking
5 days ago

Waterfall area is fun. The rest of it is a bit boring and no real scenery to enjoy.

running
6 days ago

Very easy trail. There are hardly any elevation changes, so this trail is suitable for people who are just getting into exploring trails. There's a lot of nice scenery near the creek. Watch out for the mountain bikers when you're walking on the main trail. The side trails are a little more secluded for hikers/runners. Lots of traffic.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

This is such a beautiful trail. Recommend starting early because much is without shade. However the waterfall bottlenecks large groups and many are not respecting social distancing / PPE guidelines and are lingering in a very small gorge. Unfortunately saw fair amount of litter and trash about, including PPE.

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

Great hike but they put down a bunch of granite rocks on much of the trail so it's difficult walking. There were basically lose, wobbly rocks underfoot for a long while but only on the south loop side so maybe stick to the north trails if you wanna avoid that.

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
8 days ago

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

hiking
fee
over grown
rocky
10 days ago

This is one of my favorite trails in san diego. It’s a 3.8 mile hike to the waterfall and then 3.8 miles back. It’s mostly flat if you’re walking from the parking lot, which there is a $3 (CASH ONLY) fee. A little rocky towards the middle of the hike but nothing to bad. I have 2 small dogs and they did very well on the hike. Be aware of rattle snakes we did see some in the brush and you can hear them as you walk by. Over all a great place to hike !

hiking
13 days ago

super fun!

mountain biking
fee
rocky
17 days ago

Great trail for beginner to moderate. Half way on the trail you can stop by the waterfall area around 3 to 3.5 miles in. Mostly flat and sandy but fun overall! There is a $3 parking fee. If the parking lot is full you can park in a residential area and then bike to the park

18 days ago

Great for hiking and biking!

hiking
22 days ago

Good trail with a rewarding waterfall at the end. Lots of babes at the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

trail running/walking

hiking
2 months ago

Closed due to Covid-19

hiking
2 months ago

Good easy hike!

walking
2 months ago

fun trail to hike

hiking
bugs
flooded
muddy
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

Way too many people. Get there early and and get out!! The waterfall at the turning point was great, however, it was over crowded. There are a few paths to take, very cool. We encountered 2 trails that were completely flooded and had to turn around. Bike paths were somewhat dry, but there was mud everywhere. Side note: watch out for bags of dog poop that irresponsible dog owners leave behind, they are everywhere!!! Overall, easy hike. Beautiful picture opportunities along the creek.

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