Rose Canyon Open Space Park

Enjoy nature and an easy hike or bike ride at Rose Canyon Open Space Park.
Rose Canyon Open Space Park
Discover the Park
History of the Park
Save on Tours
Nature at Rose Canyon
All You Can Do
How to Get There
Planning Ahead
Stay Nearby

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Tips
Parks & Nature
Nature
Parking
Tips

Discover the Rose Canyon Open Space Park

Rose Canyon Open Space Park is located just to the east of La Jolla and makes for a great day trip. While it is not an extensive or tough hike, it offers beautiful scenery, a view of local wildlife and an escape from the everyday grind.

Rose Canyon Open Space Park is excellent getaway for both kids and dogs as well. It is mostly flat and not much rugged terrain. If you are in for more excitement, you can branch off the main trail for a more adventurous hike through the canyon.

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History of Rose Canyon Open Space Park

Rose Canyon was originally inhabited thousands of years ago, by the Kumeyaay Indians - the first people in San Diego. This area was seasonal for the Kumeyaay where they would camp and hunt along the stream. They would also gather acorns from the oak trees and weave baskets from the willow trees.

In 1769, Juan Gaspar Portola traveled to San Diego and reached Rose Canyon. By the 1800s, Mexican ranchers lived in the area and raised cattle.

In 1853, Louis Rose purchased over 650 acres of land in the area. Here he built a ranch, a tannery, and also planted a vineyard. The canyon was later named for Louis Rose.

In the years following Rose’s purchase, the California Southern Railroad completed a train track that actually traveled through the canyon and the Elvira Station stop was born in 1912. Rose Canyon was used commercially up until the 1960s, when the Sawday Ranch was removed.

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Nature at Rose Canyon

Rose Canyon Open Space Park has many interactive habitats for adventure seekers to enjoy. These are very specific to San Diego, as the habitat is unique to the area.

Along the length of Rose Canyon Open Space Park there is a very rare riparian habitat. The park also has an oak woodland along the northern hillside.

The Rose Creek at the bottom of the canyon is home to the wildlife of the area. Here you can find raccoons, skunks, rabbits, snakes, coyotes, foxes and mule deer. Birds are also native to the area.

You can see many types of owls and hawks flying over the canyon.

Check out all you can do at Rose Canyon Open Space Park

Rose Canyon Open Space Park offers city dwellers a great escape from downtown San Diego where they can get away from the city life and enjoy some of the beautiful nature of southern California.

What trails does Rose Canyon have to offer?

Rose Canyon trail is an 8.8-mile trail that has light foot traffic and is a very wide trail that is perfect for family hikes. The trail is great for all skill levels and is ideal for both children and dogs (on a leash of course!).

The trail offers a variety of activities along the way and you can view the beautiful wild flowers of the region.

If you want to get adventurous, you can branch off of the main trail and head down some of the narrow slopes. If you head off the grid, keep an eye out for poison oak and snakes.

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Ready for some Wildlife?
Wildlife includes raccoons, skunks, rabbits, coyotes, foxes and mule deer. The raptors flying above Rose Canyon are some of the most majestic animals anywhere, including many varieties of owls and large hawks.

Biking more your style? Rose Canyon is an excellent spot for you as well. The single track makes way to a double track as you approach the railroad area. There are also some water crossings to add some excitement to the ride.

Enjoy the Rose Creek watershed

The Rose Creek runs at the bottom of Rose Canyon and gets deeper and wider as it extends out into Mission Bay.

The creek is home to much of the canyon wildlife. Here you can find raccoons, skunks, rabbits, coyotes, foxes and mule deer. This is also a great spot for bird watching.

Not only will you see a variety of owls and hawks, but also members of the Osprey family, Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron and Egrets There is also an array of mud feeders like Plovers, Willits, Sandpipers and ducks.

While exploring Rose Creek, you can also enjoy the native plant life to the area. Riparian plants that include willows, toyon, and sycamore trees that provide sporadic shade can be found on your journey along the base of the canyon.

Guided walks are provided along Rose Creek. Enjoy the walk under the hanging Eucalyptus trees as you learn about the native plants and animals of the area. Don’t forget your binoculars!

Preservation

The Rose Creek Watershed Alliance and Friends of Rose Creek are two groups put together to help preserve the area at the bottom of Rose Canyon. If community service is your passion, these groups are a great way to enjoy the park, as well as keeping it beautiful for all visitors.

The second Saturday of each month, Friends of Rose Creek gather for Native Plant Gardening. During this time, the group restores the habitat by maintaining the plant life and cleaning up the area of this urban creek.

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Paradise Point Resort & Spa
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Getting to Rose Canyon Open Space Park

Free Parking
Free Parking
Neighborhood Parking
Neighborhood Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

Rose Canyon Open Space Park is one of seventeen canyons and open space parks in the San Diego area. The park can be found in between I-805 and I-5, and just north of CA-52.

Taking a trip from downtown San Diego up to Rose Canyon Open Space Park? The best route is take the I-5 North for approximately 10 miles until you reach the Regents Rd exit. Take the Regents Rd exit (Exit 1B) off of I-5. Once off the exit, make a left onto Regents Rd and follow that for about one mile until to reach Rose Canyon Open Space Park.

You can also take I-805 N towards Los Angeles for 3 miles. Take Exit 23 and merge onto CA-52 W. Stay on CA-52 W for approximately 3 more miles. Take the Regents Rd exit (Exit 1B) and follow that to Rose Canyon Open Space Park.

As for parking, when school is not in session, you may be able park at University City High School. If there is school, you will need to drive up Genesee Ave and park in the residential area.

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Planning Ahead

Families welcome - dogs too!

Bring your four-legged companion. Dogs are allowed in the park, but please remember to keep them on a leash and clean up after them.

The trails are child-friendly as they are mostly flat and very wide. This makes the trails popular with those pushing strollers and wheelchairs.

What to bring

Make sure to bring your sunscreen. While there are shaded areas along the trail, there are many areas that are not shaded at all and the sun can get very strong. Also bring more water than you think you will need, due to the heat.

Stay alert!

Please remember that you are out in nature. Visitors have encountered coyotes, rattlesnakes and other wildlife. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Please note: The park is close to the Marine Corps Air Station. Trespassing is strictly prohibited.

Facilities

There are no restrooms along the trail in Rose Canyon. Facilities are located at the west end of the parking lot at the Regents Rd entrance.

Biking

Bikes are allowed on the trail, but please keep an eye out for those hiking and running. Trail etiquette is always expected! There is absolutely no bike riding after nightfall.

E-Bikes are never permitted and fat tire bikes are not allowed on the trails during the winter.

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