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Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve A Back Yard Blessing

When outdoor enthusiasts think about living in San Diego, the first things that usually come to mind are the ocean and the beaches. Not everyone realizes the extent of the recreational opportunities that are available in San Diego’s inland communities. There are lakes and parks throughout San Diego County which offer scenery, outdoor activities, or just some good old fashion peace and quiet. On a recent September morning I had the pleasure of hiking with my family in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, and the experience was worth writing home about.

Rancho Penasquitos Canyon Stream at Los Penasquitos Preserve
Rancho Penasquitos Canyon Stream at Los Penasquitos Preserve

The Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve is a sprawling canyon park which stretches from the East side of Rancho Penasquitos (just East of I-15, essentially bordering Poway and Scripps Ranch), seven miles to the West side of Mira Mesa (almost to the ocean near homes in La Jolla and Del Mar). The East entrance is at the corner of Black Mountain Road and Mercy Road. Other convenient entrances are at Penasquitos Creek Park in Park Village (Rancho Penasquitos) or at Canyonside Park just South of the 56 on Black Mountain Road.

Encompassing approximately 4,000 acres, Los Penasquitos Canyon is shockingly large for a park that is basically right in the heart of North San Diego County. There are houses in Rancho Penasquitos, Mira Mesa, Sorrento Valley, and Carmel Valley homes that have canyon views, but hikers inside the canyon enjoy complete isolation. California Oaks, Sycamores, and other native plants line the interior of the canyon, and it feels like some far-away mountainside. Penasquitos Canyon Creek runs through the middle of the park, with wooden footbridge crossings in three locations.

A relaxing day in the canyon for one lucky San Diego Realtor and his boys.
A relaxing day in the canyon for one lucky San Diego Realtor and his boys.

Even on the busiest days there are remarkably few people in the canyon. The occasional mountain biker or hiker does pass by, but there are long stretches of complete privacy. Horse enthusiasts frequent the canyon for its long traffic-free trails, so you may pass a rider or two. My kids enjoy the opportunity to meet the horses and talk to the riders. But we most enjoy catching sights of the wildlife in the canyon, including mule deer, coyotes, ducks, great blue herons.

I frequently list homes for sale in Rancho Penasquitos and in Mira Mesa, and know that homes in these neighborhoods offer good value as compared to  other San Diego real estate. It takes only about 15 minutes to drive from Rancho Penasquitos to the beach in Del Mar, and only about 20 minutes to Downtown San Diego. There are ocean breezes that blow through 56 Corridor, keeping the neighborhood cooler than other inland San Diego communities. There is plenty of shopping and restaurants. And anyone who is interested can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and recreation available at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.

3 Responses

  1. The Rancho Penasquitos Canyon Preserve sounds delightful. It looks like the lucky realtor and his boys had a grand outing there. It would be a nice place to see upon another visit. I think it would add value to a home in Rancho Penasquitos. What a valuable resource to have available.

  2. I love the outdoors, and that canyon looks like a beautiful place to enjoy a weekend. 🙂 Great post, I had no idea that San Diego was home to such a beautiful canyon!

    1. Thanks Lisa. San Diego is full of canyons, and canyon homes in San Diego are in very high demand (people like to have the views, despite bad press about fires). Los Penasquitos Canyon is a particularly large one, though there are plenty of others in La Jolla, Del Mar, Point Loma, even right near downtown in Mission Hills and all around Balboa Park. People get plenty confused by the winding San Diego streets, but the streets are just accommodating the canyons! The canyons add a lot to the scenery and charm of the area.

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