Lots of trails to explore
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is made up of 12 miles of trails over its 4000 acres of land. These trails are used for hiking, cycling and horseback riding.
The most popular trail is the Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, which runs approximately 7.5 miles. This trail is accessible for all skills levels, and you’ll discover the famous Peñasquitos Creek Waterfall as a reward.
Since this trail is relatively flat, you will get all kinds of visitors on the trail. Runners, hikers, walkers, cyclists and horse riders can be found here.
The Canyon Trail is very well marked and direct. However, you can veer off the main trail for some more adventure. Eventually the trail will lead you back to the main drag.
An offshoot of this trail leads to Lopez Canyon Trail. This full loop is approximately 12 miles and is very popular with mountain bikers because of its rocky terrain. Be aware that there is not much shade on this trail, so load up on sunscreen!
One of the tougher trails as the preserve is the West Trail. This 5.5 mil trail is primarily used for hiking, walking and enjoying the nature around you. If you want to see wildlife, this is the trail for you.
Here you can encounter deer, rabbits and many of the native birds of the area. There is less foot traffic on this trail, so take your time and enjoy the views.
Schedule a guided hike
Friends of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve organize daily hikes through the park. You can even schedule group gatherings (please call in advance). The best thing? These hikes are free!
Classes and activities offered
Friends of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve also conduct activities and classes for visitors to enjoy.
Every quarter they have the Wildlife Volunteer Survey Training. This free half-day class prepares you to be able to monitor wildlife in open areas and preserves. You will also learn about habitats, data collection protocols, and conservation.
Twice a year they hold tracker/naturalist classes. This class cost $50 and is held at the Ranch House. The class covers three levels of wildlife tracking knowledge.
Tour the historic Adobe houses
Every Saturday and Sunday the San Diego County Park docents give a free guided tour of Ranch Santa Maria de Los Peñasquitos. This is the second oldest standing residence in San Diego. The free tour lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Learn about the Mexican era rancho, artifacts of Indians and other settlers and tour the grounds. You can find The Ranch House on Canyonside Drive off Black Mountain Road.
Helping take care of the park
Los Peñasquitos offers many opportunities for volunteer work at the preserve. Restoration projects are some of the most popular. Help clean up the area removing trash and weeds from the preserve.
Wildlife and plant surveys are also another opportunity to help the park. Track animals and plants to collect very important data that helps preserve the canyon.