Lopez Canyon is a small offshoot of western Los Penasquitos Canyon. The seasonal Lopez Creek runs through it, with an accompanying lush riparian habitat. Lopez Canyon is usually less busy than neighboring Penasquitos, so its a great alternative if you’re seeking a bit of quiet solitude, or you can combine the two trails if you’re looking for some extra mileage.
In several hundred feet, we came to a “T” junction. We turned right, following the signs for Lopez Canyon. (Los Penasquitos Canyon lies to the left.)
The trail ran through an open grassy area for a short stretch before bending to the right and crossing over the dry creek. Thick tangles of willow, mule fat and other riparian vegetation grew along the creek bed.
In the midst of this field we came to a “Y” junction in the trail. The right fork was an old dirt road (Lopez Road) leading up to another trailhead near an office park. If you’re looking for a slightly more challenging route, you can get a bit of climbing in by following this trail up to the canyon rim. We were more interested in scenery today, however, so turned left to continue along the creek.
As we continued, the sound of snapping branches made us look up to the hillside on our left. A small herd of deer was grazing in the brush. Most of them ran off upon noticing us, but one doe hung around for a couple of minutes, staring back at us as we stared at her.
At 1.5 miles, the trail we had been following led to an open, rocky expanse and disappeared. You can follow the rocky creek bed for awhile and pick up the trail again as it leads towards a bridge where Camino Santa Fe Road passes over the canyon. But as the sun was quickly burning off the cooling marine layer and the high humidity was sapping our energy, hiking along the exposed creekbed just to reach a road wasn’t sounding especially appealing to us. So, we decided to make this our turnaround point and headed back the way we had come.
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From 805-N, take exit 27B for Sorrento Valley Road. Turn left onto Vista Sorrento Parkway and continue for approximately 1 mile. Turn right onto Sorrento Valley Blvd. The trailhead will be on your right in just under 1 mile. map
|Total Distance:||3 miles|
|Total Ascent:||110 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
|Facilities:||Port-a-potty at trailhead; no water|
For more information, visit:
View route or download GPX from CalTopo
City of San Diego Parks & Recreation: Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
County of San Diego Parks & Recreation: Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve
Friends of Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve