Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

EASY 600 reviews

Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail is a 7 mile moderately 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
7.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
111 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

birding

canoeing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

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
4 hours ago

mountain biking
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

Never did in one hike. But have hiked all of it over three separate hikes. Beautiful location and lots of things to see

2 days ago

Beautiful trail!!

hiking
2 days ago

9 days ago

9 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

walking
17 days ago

This is one my favorite hikes/walks to do with dogs or kids. It’s very easy with almost completely flat terrain so I hesitate to call it a “hike” but there are several areas with some large stones, gravelly pebbles, and soft sand so tennis/walking shoes or hiking boots are probably best. The main trail on the south side of the creek (I haven’t done the full trail on the north side of the creek yet) is wide enough for people/dogs/bikes/horses to easily pass with plenty of room. The little single-lane trails along the creek are much narrower but there’s more shade and no mountain bikes so if you don’t mind stepping off of the trail to pass others, they’re pretty awesome. The “waterfall” at the end isn’t really a waterfall at all; it’s another creek crossing where the creek flows down some rocks. Although it’s pretty, the two times I’ve been there it was fairly crowded and there’s not a lot of room (there aren’t any little “beaches” to hang out on; it really is just a crossing spot) so it’s not too great to bring dogs. It is, however, a really cool place to climb around on rocks if you’re without dogs and/or small kids. There are often a lot of people biking, walking, running, with kids, with dogs (dogs are supposed to be leashed but there’s a good chance you’ll run into one or two who aren’t), etc., so be considerate and aware of who/what is behind and in front of you. About 0.8 miles from the waterfall, there’s a really beautiful creek-crossing spot that I actually prefer over the waterfall itself, especially if my dogs are with me. From the main south side trail, you’ll see a little sign indicating that you’re 0.8 miles from the waterfall, so if you go right (*not* the sharp U-turn type of right that takes you through a little trail with a wooden fence) about a quarter of mile or less, you’ll come across a bridge over a nice sized part of the creek with quite a bit of open area and lots of tree coverage. Great for a little break. Also, the main parking area where the trail starts on Mercy Road and Black Mountain Road is a pay lot (I believe it’s $3 but I could be wrong). The first almost mile is also the longest part of the trail sans shade so I like to park in the park’s parking lot just north of the main trailhead on Canyonside Park Drive (from Mercy Rd., turn right onto Black Mountain Rd. and then left onto Canyonside Park Dr.). Once you’re on Canyonside Park Dr., go all the down (if there’s parking...it’s a sport park so the lot can get pretty full) until just before it turns into a dirt road leading to the Ranch House. You’ll see a trail entrance just to the south (left) of the main parking lot Road. From that trail entrance, it’s just over 3 miles to the waterfall. This trail is usually pretty busy and very well maintained, so much so that despite our walk back from the waterfall today being at dusk (very dark on the trail, especially in the single-lane trails under all the trees), we still had no trouble navigating without falling or even stumbling and mostly without any flashlights (we took them out once the sun was completely gone for the last 20 minutes or so of our trip). It’s a really cool place to do an evening/night hike if you’re in the sports park parking area since it doesn’t close at dusk. Happy hiking!

20 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

hiking
30 days ago