Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park & Nature Center is a beautiful nature trail that is located along the coastal valley just north of San Diego.
Tecolote Canyon Natural Park
Come & Discover
History of the Park
Save on Tours
Nature in and Around
A Day in the Park
Getting There
Planning Ahead
Stay Nearby

Highlights

Parks & Nature
Nature
Parking
Tips
Parks & Nature
Nature
Parking
Tips

Come and Discover Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park & Nature Center is a beautiful nature trail that is located along the coastal valley between the communities of Clairemont Mesa and Mission Valley. The park runs north and south along the valley.

This picturesque canyon natural park is home to 6.5 miles of trails. The park contains trails for both the beginner athlete as well as the more experienced adventurer. Visitors can navigate the trails either walking, jogging or even biking!

The Nature Center at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park is the perfect starting point to learn more about the plant life and wildlife of the canyon. The Nature Center is interesting for visits with your family, or it can be used for business purposes, such as holding work meetings or special events.

The Nature Center also has regularly scheduled classes and workshops to share more about Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and all it has to offer.

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Paradise Point Resort & Spa
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History of Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center

Tecolote Canyon was home to the Kumeyaay Indians - the first people in San Diego. They used the area for both food and shelter. It was named Tecolote after one of the canyon’s most popular residents, the owl.

The area was settled by a man named Judge Hyde. He built a home in the canyon and used the area for farming back in 1872. The area was used for farming and ranching all the way up until the end of World War II.

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Nature in and Around the Trails of the Park

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center offers visitors a wonderful experience of the nature southern California has to offer. The canyon is famous for the owls that habitat the area, and what the canyon is named after. Other birds that can be seen in the canyon are cormorants and ravens.

Beautiful flowers, butterflies and plant life can be seen throughout your adventure. Keep an eye out for other critters, like snakes, during your hikes.

How Best to Enjoy a Day in the Park

Take on One of the Park Trails

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center has something for everyone in the family and is the perfect trip for a quick getaway to escape city life. The Tecolote Canyon Trail is 6.5 miles, with fairly heavy foot traffic. It is one of the more popular trails in the area.

While the trail is relatively flat as you stay west, there are plenty of alternate routes that you can take off of it. You are able to head up and out of the canyon and into the nearby neighborhoods.

Bring a Mountain Bike

As you head down the trail, the path shrinks to a single lane path. It is a very popular path for mountain bikers. Be sure to keep an eye out for them as they tend to zoom by.

Local Tips
Did You Know
It has been designated as a cartographic feature on area maps for nearly two centuries and was given the name tecolote, or owl, for the diminutive raptor that lives in this canyon.

Enjoy the Flora and Fauna

If you are taking a hike with the family, you can take the trail from the Nature Center Kumeyaay Village. This is located within the Native Plant Garden. As you go on this hike, you can learn about all the native plants to the area.

Each plant is numbered along the path, and you can learn the names of each in both English and in the native Kumeyaay language.

Activities for the Kids

Tecolote Nature Center holds an Arts & Activities for children every month. These activities are free and change as the seasons change. They focus on themes of the time of year and are hands-on and filled with fun learning about nature.

Park Rangers at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center not only are there to protect you, but are there to provide interpretive walks. These walks lead you through the Tecolote Canyon and focus on the plants and wildlife.

Birdwatching

Are you a bird watcher? The Audubon Society meets every month at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park to go on a bird walk to view the birds of the canyon.

Conservation and restoration

If you are in the mood to help out the park, you can join the Canyon Compadres. This group meets multiple times a month and they help clean up and preserve Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.

The Weed Warriors are another group that meets every month to help restore the area. The group works with the Park Ranger. You’ll get a great workout hiking and pulling out ugly weeds, plus you are helping to keep the park look beautiful.

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Getting to Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center

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

The park and nature center is located 5.5 miles north of San Diego, an easy ride for anyone looking to escape city life. Take I-5 North to exit 21 SeaWorld Dr. / Tecolote Rd. Make a right when you get to Tecolote Rd. and take that for half a mile. The entrance to the park will be on your right.

The mouth of the canyon can be found a mile north of the San Diego River. Interstate 5 crosses over and the northern tip reaches Clairemont Mesa Blvd, near the Claremont Recreation Center.

The eastern side of Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center is bordered by Genesee Ave., and the west is the top of the steep slope at Clairmont Dr. The Tecolote Recreation Center can be found at the mouth of the canyon with easy access and free parking.

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USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
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LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
$127 per person
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Planning Ahead

Do your Part!

It is imperative to protect native vegetation and wildlife of the park and Tecolote Canyon. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please do not dump any garbage in the canyon or surrounding areas. Storm drains empty into the canyon. Please do not dump anything into these drains as it will affect the ecosystem of the area.

Be Alert!

There is always a Park Ranger on the premises. If you encounter any illegal activity in the park, please report it to the Park Ranger immediately. The area is home to rattlesnakes, mountain lions, poison oak and some rugged territory in open spaces. Please always be attentive and on the lookout.

Just Come and Have Fun!

Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. It tends to get very hot during the hikes. Don’t forget to bring your best bud. Dogs are allowed to accompany you on your journey, but please keep them on a leash. Free parking and facilities are available in the park.

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Stay Nearby

Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
from $190 / night
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San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
from $203 / night
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Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
Bayfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
from $179 / night
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The Dana on Mission Bay
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
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from $179 / night
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