Enjoy the Trails
Throughout the lagoon, there are seven well-marked trails that are moderately easy for walkers and hikers of all abilities. These trails vary in length from a half mile to just over 2 miles, and there is also a one mile double loop around the Nature Center. All trails are accessible daily from sunrise to sunset.
Visit the Nature Center
Many visitors start their journey at the Nature Center, which is open daily from 9am-5pm. Here you’ll find high quality, interactive exhibits featuring live animals and plant life from the lagoon, as well as information on the ecology and preservation efforts. You can also grab a map and use the restroom and water fountains before setting off to enjoy the trails.
The loops around the Nature Center are really the heart of the lagoon. From this trail, you’ll observe a great variety of the various species of plants, birds and wildlife that claim the lagoon for their home. The trails are wide enough to walk side by side, and smooth enough to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs.
Start with the Nature Center
The nature center provides a unique glimpse for the public to see "green" building concepts in use. Inside are nature and history exhibits that detail the lagoon's plant and animal communities, Native American history, and the various natural and human influences that affect this sensitive ecosystem
While at the Nature Center, you can also inquire about planning private events or meetings. The Nature Center also hosts birthday parties, with a wildlife, ecology or bird watching theme. There is an upstairs room, accessible by elevator, with an outdoor deck area and complete with private restrooms.
Journey to Annie’s Slot Canyon Trail
The most popular attraction at the lagoon is Annie’s Canyon Trail, which is named after a local donor who launched the restoration effort of the sandstone slot canyon. Prior to the restoration, this area was prone to crime and vandalism, which was a shameful act that degraded the natural beauty of the area. Now restored to its original greatness, Annie's Canyon is a top San Diego Point of Interest and welcomes thousands of visitors per year, from young children to serious hikers.
Your canine friends may join you on the trail, but are not permitted in the slot canyon, where it is very steep and strenuous at points. The trail itself is flat, and offers several benches to rest before you enter the canyon, which is about half mile into the trail.
The trail splits, with one path leading to the viewpoint, and the other leading to the canyon. While the canyon starts out wide, it quickly winds and narrows and could be challenging for those with a touch of claustrophobia! You'll also have to climb a metal staircase to exit the canyon and reach the viewpoint.
The viewpoint of Annie's Canyon trail offers an amazing view of the entire lagoon with the Pacific Ocean in the backdrop. Many visitors take their time to savor this reward for conquering the canyon.