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January 25, 2016

Urban Hiking–San Diego’s Tecolote Canyon

I am fortunate to live near the western rim of Tecolote Canyon and Natural Park

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However, easiest way to enter the canyon is via the Nature Center just past the ball fields on Tecolote Road.  The Nature Center is a good place to pick up a map and learn a bit of what to expect on these trails.  There is a small display of how the Kumeyaay lived in this area.  IMG_0185 (640x479)IMG_0188 (640x476)

There are over 6 miles of pet friendly (on leash) hiking and biking trails stretching from the Tecolote Recreation Center at the south end to North Clairemont Recreation Center at the north end.  End-to-end and back makes for a popular mountain bike ride. However the most used would be the lower 2 miles from the Nature Center to the University of San Diego – the lower half southern section of the preserve.
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Living in Bay Park it is easy to enter the canyon from September Street.  Across the canyon from September Street is a gorgeous view of USD’s Immaculata Parish.   It’s a steep hike down to the main trail system from there and then a crossing of Tecolote Creek.  There is also limited parking at this crossing on Cross Street and you can pick up the trail system here.
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The open spaces in this area are home to rattlesnakes, poison oak, mountain lions, and other hazards.  Although I have no idea what this critter is:

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The main trail is well maintained up to the SDG&E gas pumping station, just beyond the entrance to USD.  It’s a bit disconcerting to me that SDG&E surrounds its station with an electrified fence ….
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At this point the students exit back to campus, the day walkers turn around, the east side has a well maintained path back to their parking area, but continue on to the Tecolote Golf Course - albeit over a less well maintained trail and a few hills.
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BUT DO NOT miss this cut in the fence!  It is right behind the club house with an anchored creek crossing provided by the golf course.  The driving range is a short distance beyond, if you find yourself passing the driving range ... you missed it.
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Following the club's driveway (aka Sam Snead Road), cross Mt Acadia Blvd to the center section of Tecolote Canyon, which is just across the street. 

No idea what this tree is.  It’s pretty, but the local birds were not eating the berries, so I did not try one either.
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This section always has kids with their bikes playing on the mounds.  The wide trails only have a few technical spots.  Surprised not to see anybody here today.  But then I see why...  The sewer pipes from the homes on the east side of the canyon were washed out by out little El Nino event we had a couple weeks ago.

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So it’s back to the club house for a bottle of water and return home. 

Although I wanted to do a few of the lesser known urban hikes in the area, I wasn’t going to write up this outing since it could not be completed.  However, Pam (OhthePlacesTheyGo) is a master of finding Crested Cactus.  Check out their blog for other pictures.  Like most people, I’ve seen a crested saguaro but did not know other cactus could also crest.  So here it is my first non-saguaro crested cactus.

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Thanks Pam!

Rose Canyon also makes for a good urban hike, with easy access from Mission Bay.  Maybe next weekend.
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