Tecolote Canyon Trail

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, California

Elevation Gain69ft
Trailhead Elevation34ft
Elevation Min/Max34/84ft
Elevation Start/End34/34ft

Tecolote Canyon Trail

Tecolote Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in San Diego, California. It is within Tecolote Park and Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. It is 1.3 miles long and begins at 34 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 69 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. This trail connects with the following: Gardena to Tecolote Trail.

Tecolote Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Located minutes from downtown, Tecolote Canyon Natural Park is a peaceful refuge in an urban jungle. Although the sprawl of the city is never far away, and dominates the mesa tops that ring the park, the canyon bottom mostly has escaped the attention of the bulldozer and the developer. The canyon winds for miles through dense residential communities, but only the first few miles (covered here) are easily accessible to the casual hiker. The rest of the canyon is hidden in the mystery of overgrown, steep, rocky, and muddy trails."

"Pleasant springtime wildflowers and greenery."

"At more than 900 acres, Tecolote is one of our larger urban canyons. It is unusual because it runs north to south, rather than east to west, as most streamside canyons do. Tecolote is a Mexican word for “owl,” and there are definitely owls living here, along with hawks and many kinds of songbirds. Keep your eyes open for poison oak, especially in less traveled areas. There are restrooms, picnic tables and barbecues, ballfields, basketball courts, and a playground at the Tecolote Recreation Center. There are similar facilities at North Clairemont Park. This eTrail contains 3 separate walks in Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and each is covered in detail."

"Rustic signs along some of Clairemont’s major streets call attention to one of the most valuable canyon habitats in San Diego’s urban core: the 900-acre Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. On the park’s patchwork of old roads and trails it’s possible to poke into just about every nook and cranny. By day, you’re sure to spot a hawk soaring on the thermals or perching high on the crown of a dead oak tree. By night, you might hear the yapping of a coyote or the plaintive hoot of an owl, the creature for which this canyon was named. The name “Natural Park” refers in part to the native vegetation. The dominant plant communities are sage scrub (California sagebrush, white sage, black sage, lemonade berry, laurel sumac, monkeyflower) and chaparral (chamise, toyon, scrub oak, hollyleaf cherry, redberry). Live oaks, willows, and sycamores grow along the stream channel in places where water is more plentiful. Since Tecolote Canyon has been completely surrounded by an urbanized environment for nearly half a century, it’s not surprising to find invading nonnative plants here, too. The “offenders” include tumbleweed, wild chrysanthemum, mustard, fennel, pampas grass, and ice plant. For all but the most cursory exploration of this canyon, you should wear hiking boots, or at least a pair of running shoes with off-road traction. Parts of the trail system are rough, but even small kids will like it—though perhaps not if they are forced to go too far. Be aware that winter rains can turn the clay soils into sticky mud. A city street map, used in conjunction with the free trail map available at the nature center, will help with the fine points of navigation. In addition to the primary trailhead on Tecolote Road, the park has eight other “neighborhood” trail-access points."

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Trail Information

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park
Nearby City
Tecolote Park
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level

Activity Feed

Oct 2018