Los Penasquitos Canyon (from Lopez Canyon)

EASY 381 reviews

Los Penasquitos Canyon (from Lopez Canyon) is a 11.3 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: 11.3 miles Elevation Gain: 528 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips


bird watching





NOTE: Trails sometimes close due to flooding or damage. For real-time updates call the Ranger Office at 858-538-8066.

Don’t ride the bottom section in wet conditions. Otherwise a vary fun trail filled with berms.

$3 parking fee. Nice flat hike. Lots of mountain bikers on the trail but it is wide with plenty of room to pass.

Nice steep up hill after going under the bridge and when coming back

no shade
6 months ago

6 months ago

Nice & fun hike!

7 months ago

It’s really nice to hike after it rains. I did this hike twice. Once during dry season and one time after it rained all week. When it was dry season it was not that fun of a hike. The waterfall was so small and everything seemed dead. After it rained the hike was much better. The waterfall looked amazing and there were flowers all along the way. This is the kind of hike you should only go at a specific time.

This was my first non flat mountain bike ride on dirt terrain. I really enjoyed it, we only went about two miles in this time. The trail is pretty wide in good condition. I will be back to conquer the full loop in the near future. As a beginner, this place felt like a great start.

8 months ago

Great for trail running. Beautiful rolling landscape.

8 months ago

I just moved to San Diego, and this is the second run I've gone on. I missed my trail running from Colorado, and certain parts reminded me of those old routes! I started from the parking lot at Sorento Valley and ran up around the waterfall and back--not the longest run, but there were some good hills along the way and it was gorgeous. It's spring (beginning of April) and everything is still really green and beautiful, there are all sorts of flowers and the waterfall is going. Definitely recommend, it's a wonderful run after work! Do be warned though--there are a lot of gnats. I ended up weeping for about 5 mins because one got in my eye, and I ate at least 7 more while I was running. Protein I guess???

love this trail! so many different ways to go, easy, beautiful waterfall, and just being surrounded by nature!

8 months ago

AMAZING views and vistas of green with all the rain

8 months ago

Ticks!!!! Omg ticks!!! We stuck to the trail didn't go into the tall grass and still my whole family came home with ticks! I'm so creeped out. The trail was beautiful and well maintained but don't go unless you come prepared with tick repellant.

Still my favorite trail.

10 months ago

Wow great hike lots of different trails to go off on. I took my dog and she loved it must be on leash . Lots of horse poop which I had to watch that she wasn’t eating it, but it wasn’t too bad. We had a great time and the trail was well populated, but not too much that we weren’t ever alone on the trail. A very cute creek (large) running which sounded really nice... would definitely recommend ! $3 to park

Great easy hike. Not much people on trails on weekdays. Waterfall was more like a stream. Overall nice serene place for an easy hike.

Sat Dec 15 2018

Went by today and parking lot was closed with sign that all trails closed. Hasn’t rained in a week so not sure why closed.

Sun Nov 25 2018

The waterfall is worth it. Pack for a picnic!

Sun Sep 23 2018

Great hike, pretty easy. Dogs enjoyed it as well.

Fri Aug 31 2018

This is a very nice trail for children. There isn’t any incline, and there’s great scenery and wildlife to entertain kids.

Sat Aug 04 2018

Very hot! Would be best early am hours. However it was a very nice work out.

Fri Jul 27 2018

We started at the Sorrento Valley Rd Parking lot, crossed over to the North Trail at the Wagon Wheel Crossing and stayed on the North Trail until the Carson's Crossing when we returned back on the South Trail. The waterfall wasn't much of a waterfall due to lack of rain recently, but the area was still pretty. There is a lot of wildlife to see - all kinds of birds (even saw some hummingbirds in the trees at Carson's Crossing), lizards, butterflies, dragonflies, and scat from a bunch of different animals that reside in the Preserve. There is some shade, but not much so be sure to bring lots of water, a hat, sunscreen, and clothing to shield you from the sun. It is an easy hike with minimal inclines. The trail is a mix of loose sand, packed sand, hard dirt, loose rocks. There are a lot of unmarked trails connecting to the main trails so make sure to bring a map to keep track of where you are. The bathroom at the parking area is a single portable toilet. Signs at the trailhead indicate the area has ticks, but the paths are quite wide in most places and easy to stay on the trail - doesn't hurt to use bug spray just in case. We went midday on a weekday and only saw a few other people (some on bikes and some walking) - however, I can see how this can be a busy trail during peak times.

Sun Jul 15 2018

Fun and easy hike

Sun May 06 2018

great Trail for running. don't play your music too loud with ear buds you'll get run over by bikers!

Sun Mar 25 2018

I really enjoyed the trail with my husband & 3 yr daughter. Very easy and scenic but was disappointed when I only saw a running stream of water instead of an actual waterfall as signs say. It had just rained a couple of days before so I thought for sure the “waterfall” would be flowing beautifully!

Mon Feb 19 2018

decent trail, easy walk to stream. this hike tends to be crowded around the stream with multiple routes to get there.

Sun Feb 18 2018

Desent flat hike, waterfall was more of a stream but good hike

Sun Jan 21 2018

Not great views. Didn’t make it to the waterfall but will go back to fo to the Canyon side! Watch out for bikers! They go by really fast

Sat Jan 20 2018

It’s a beautiful trail next time I’ll go when it’s not so over cast

Mon Jan 15 2018

Beautiful trail .. the end is worth it

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